Sunday, October 13, 2019

New Catholic Fiction - Our Lady of the Roses

Looking for some Catholic romance? Check out Our Lady of the Roses by Janice Lane Palko. 

Janetta Orlando’s life has been bouncing along the gutter like a Brunswick bowling ball after a series of disastrous relationships and bad breakups. When her girl’s getaway with her best friend, Anne, to the wine country is abruptly cancelled, she is left with nothing to look forward to. No vacation. No wine. No men. 

Bob White is headed to Rome from Pittsburgh with his girlfriend, Connie, who is fluent in Italian, to sell his invention to an Italian businessman. Days before their departure, Connie dumps him leaving him without a translator or a clue as to how to conduct business in Rome. 

When Bob reluctantly arrives at Janetta’s salon, Bella Figura, for the complete makeover Connie had scheduled for them prior to their breakup, Janetta concludes that Bob is a hopeless loser who desperately needs her makeover magic if he's ever going to have any chance of selling his invention. When Bob tells her that Connie is no longer accompanying him to Rome, Janetta lies and says that Connie must be crazy. Why any girl would love to go to Rome with him. Janetta muses that she loves the Eternal City so much that she’d go to Rome with Satan if he asked her. 

After Bob learns that Janetta has two weeks off and speaks Italian, he presents her with a deal: He will pay her to accompany him to Rome to serve as his translator. At first hesitant, she agrees but soon learns that the devil is in the details as she and Bob clash over nearly everything from fashion to food to faith. 

When they finally arrive in Rome, Janetta learns that Bob plans to drag her along on his pilgrimage of visiting the four major Roman basilicas. A lapsed Catholic, Janetta wants no part of this, but she acquiesces when she learns that Bob has a dual purpose for his trip to Rome: selling his invention and praying for a miracle for his infant niece, Anastasia, who was born with a congenital heart defect. 

Reluctantly, Janetta accompanies Bob on his tour of the Roman churches, and her conscience and past begins to plague her, but no so much so that she doesn’t fall for Bob’s Italian counterpart, the Italian businessman, handsome Giuliano Legato. When her reckless ways ignite a catastrophe that jeopardizes everything Bob has worked for and dreamed of accomplishing, she learns that there is more depth to Bob than she’d assumed, and that she is the one who is desperate need of a makeover—of her life. 

Laughter, tears, and love flow like the Trevi Fountain as Janetta, with the help an unlikely aide, St. Joseph, finds her true herself, her true faith, and her true love in Rome.

About the Author

Janice Lane Palko has been a writer for more than 20 years working as an editor, columnist, freelance writer, teacher, lecturer, and novelist.

She is currently the executive editor for both Northern Connection and Pittsburgh Fifty-Five Plus magazines and the lead writer for the website She has had numerous articles published in publications such as The Reader’s Digest, Guideposts for Teens, Woman’s World, The Christian Science Monitor, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and St. Anthony Messenger. Her work has also been featured in the books A Cup of Comfort for Inspiration, A Cup of Comfort for Expectant Mothers, and Chicken Soup for the Single’s Soul.

Our Lady of the Roses is a spinoff from her first novel, St. Anne's Day, a romantic comedy. She has also written the Christmas novel, A Shepherd's Song, and the romantic suspense novels, Cape Cursed and the award-winning Most Highly Favored Daughter. Currently, she is working on another romantic suspense called Mother of Sorrows.


Monday, September 23, 2019

Great Quotes to Reflect On

Robert Cardinal Sarah said that “the real questions of life are posed in silence.” Michael Seagriff offers 100 challenging quotations to reflect on in the silence in Pondering Tidbits of Truth, Volume 5. 

Seagriff was a lawyer for 30 years (now retired). He is also a Lay Dominican, has led a prison ministry program, and spent many years promoting Perpetual Eucharistic Devotion. 

In this short book, he includes quotations from such notables as St. Catherine of Siena, St. John of the Cross, St. Alphonsus Liguori, St. Francis de Sales, St. John Paul II, St. John Vianney, Dr. Peter Kreft, and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. 

This is a preview of some of the quotes you will have the opportunity to ponder:

It should be our principal business to conquer ourselves, and, from day to day, to go on increasing in strength and perfection. Above all, however, it is necessary for us to strive to conquer our little temptations, such as fits of anger, suspicions, jealousies, envy, deceitfulness, vanity, attachment and evil thoughts. For in this way we shall acquire strength to subdue greater ones. – St. Francis de Sales

He will provide the way and the means, such as you could never have imagined. Leave it all to Him, let go of yourself, lose yourself on the Cross, and you will find yourself entirely. – St. Catherine of Siena

When once we have placed ourselves totally in the hands of God, we have no cause to fear misfortune, for if any should come to us, He will know how to make it turn to our good by ways which we do not know now, but which, one day, we shall know. – St. Vincent de Paul

Pondering Tidbits of Truth is great for picking out one quote at a time to reflect on and pray about.

Friday, September 20, 2019

After Suicide - A New Book on God's Mercy

Suicide has become an epidemic in our society. According to the recent issue of Marian Helper Magazine, "there are more deaths by suicide every year in the world than deaths by all the wars and homicides combined."

Do those who take their own lives automatically lose their salvation? How can we help those who have lost a loved one to suicide? Addressing the hard issue of suicide simply and pastorally, Fr. Chris Alar, MIC, draws from the teaching of the Church, the message of Divine Mercy, and his own experience of losing his grandmother to suicide in order to offer readers two key forms of hope. 

With co-author Jason Lewis, MIC, Fr. Chris reveals that there’s hope for the salvation of those who’ve died by their own hand, and there’s hope for the healing of those whom they’ve left
behind. This book is a must-read for all those trying to make sense out of such a difficult subject. Remarkably, the spiritual principles of healing and redemption apply not only to a loss from suicide, but by any means of death.

Alar and Lewis offer a fresh and compelling take on how to view prayer. Based on the fact that God is all-knowing (omniscient) and all-powerful (omnipotent), they explain how God’s eternal being “outside of time” enables one’s prayers to be effective to any point in time, including the past. This gives hope to all who have lost a loved one — that we can make a difference in the salvation of someone we love with our prayers and offerings, even years later, to assist them at the moment of their death. Supported by saints, theologians, and the liturgical prayers of the Church, these teachings, when applied, can result in amazing grace and the salvation of millions of souls who may have otherwise been lost.

Alar and Lewis have dared to deal with such a sensitive subject in a way few others have: from the perspective of Church teaching and from the aspect of spirituality, which many abandon in the midst of such a tragedy.
—Cardinal Soane Mafi, Bishop of Tonga

Here is the official trailer for the book:

Father Chris Alar, MIC, is a priest with the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy. An international speaker
and regular host and guest on EWTN, he draws from his experience of being a suicide survivor and counsels many in this difficult ministry. He currently serves as “Fr. Joseph, MIC,” the director of the Association of Marian Helpers, and serves as the head of Marian Press in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

Jason Lewis, MIC, is a member of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception and directs the Association’s Special Projects department. He has delivered theological reflections on EWTN’s 13-part series “The Cenacle of Divine Mercy II” and “EWTN Live.” He has made numerous radio appearances and delivered talks around the country on the Blessed Virgin Mary and the message of the Divine Mercy.

After Suicide is available through the Marian Helpers Website

Prayer for One Who Has Died by Suicide

God, lover of souls, you hold dear what you have made and spare all things, for they are yours.
Look gently on your servant [name],
and by the blood of the cross forgive his/her sins and failings.

Remember the faith of those who mourn and satisfy their longing for that day when all will be made new again in Christ, our Risen Lord who lives and reigns with you forever and ever.

(Order of Christian Funerals) 

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Saturday, September 07, 2019

Our Lady of La Salette Chapter Five The Blessed Mother's Message and its Importance for Today.

Our Lady of La Salette: A Mother Weeps for her Children is available on Amazon.



Chapter Five
The Blessed Mother’s Message and its Importance for Today

Our Blessed Mother’s apparition at La Salette was over 170 years ago. Does her message still matter for today? The answer is an unequivocal yes.
In examining the message of Our Lady of La Salette in more detail, let us first look at the message itself and its relevance in the context of the time in which it was given.
Our Lady of La Salette spoke in the name of God. In that respect, she followed the tradition of the Old Testament prophets. The Blessed Virgin is the “Queen of Prophets”.[i] She is calling the people to return to God and repent of their sins. In this particular case, she was speaking out against Sunday work and blasphemy, violations of the second and third commandments: keep holy the Sabbath and do not take the Lord’s name in vain. Indirectly, these are also violations of the first commandment because those who work on Sunday or take God’s name in vain are not putting God before everything else as the first commandment directs us to do. These sins are the reason for her tears.
Our Lady of La Salette indicated that during the previous year (1845), there had been a poor potato crop. According to her, this had been a warning from God that the people should change their ways, but they did not heed the warning. Instead they blasphemed even more. Our Lady indicated that by the coming Christmas (of 1846) there would be almost no potatoes to be found. This proved to be the case. Not only France, but also Germany, England, and most especially Ireland suffered from a terrible potato famine.
The people of Corps did heed Our Lady’s warnings and experienced a great conversion. After the years of 1846 and 1847, they had good harvests and only a minimal number of potatoes were affected by disease.[ii] 
Our Lady also foretold that the wheat crops would fail. “For several years after the Apparition, it was observed in certain localities that the wheat did almost literally fall into dust at threshing, or, at least, so little grain did it yield, that it seemed to melt under the flail. The ears of corn, which at first appeared fair and full, produced but few grains of wheat.”[iii]
She predicted that many children would be seized by trembling and that a great famine would follow. “During the years immediately following the Apparition of La Salette, a great number of children died from the effects of a strange epidemic.”[iv] “In 1847 there was a very unusual mortality among the children of Corps and nearby villages, and in 1854 great numbers were carried off by cholera, complicated by miliary fever (probably tuberculosis). These little victims were suddenly seized with a violent chill, began trembling all over and died after two or three hours of agony.”[v]
As for the famine, many in Europe died due to food shortages in the years following the apparition. In 1855, “nearly one hundred thousand people had died of starvation in France alone! And according to conservative estimates, from 1854 to 1856 inclusively, as many as one million persons throughout Europe died victims of the same ‘high price of food.’”[vi]
In all of Our Lady’s apparitions, her warnings are conditional. Like the prophets of old, she states that if the people do not repent, evils will befall them. The future is not set in stone. We do have the power to change the dire predictions for the future if we repent, pray for the conversion of sinners, and turn back to God.
Our Lady of La Salette commanded the children to what seemed like an impossible task. They were to make her message known to all the world. That mission continues today.
Back in 1953, Fr. James O’Reilly wrote:
Never more than now have men so much needed the salutary teachings of La Salette. We look out on a world today that seems to be in complete revolt against all authority, human and divine. . . . The Christian principles that once ruled our lives and fostered obedience, modesty, and respect, have been repudiated as old-fashioned. In every department of human activity, in the home, in business, in our national life, our educational system, all forms of entertainment, in music, literature and art, the seeds of revolt, irreverence, indecency and unbridles license have been cultivated, and now we are reaping the whirlwind in a national crime wave, in gross immorality, in an alarming breakdown of the marriage bond and of home life that seems unparalleled in nearly two thousand years of Christianity. . . [Our Lady’s] tears still flow, her work of merciful intercession still goes on for a heedless world. What then, does she ask of each one of us? She pleads for our conversion, and in her gentle maternal way urges us all to lead lives of prayer, penance and reparation.[vii]
How is it possible that those words were written in the 1950s, an era we now look back on as so conservative compared to our own? How much more in need is our world today when so many have turned their backs on God and religious practice?
Our Lady wants all of us to be reconciled to her Son. She wants this so much that she weeps for her children who have fallen away.
These tears are La Salette’s most powerful unspoken message. The beautiful Lady weeps but she never refers to her tears, never so much as alludes to them. They are meant to speak for themselves and they do. They are an unspoken message but they add a crucial dimension to her words . . . [The tears] are liquid sorrow, molten streams of pain running down the Lady’s face and a very obvious show of love. . . [They] highlight the words and give urgency and crucial importance to the entire message. If someone from heaven, and the Blessed Virgin at that, is provoked to tears over disrespect for the Day of the Lord and the Name of Jesus, then the word is out that these offenses are more evil than people think they are and should be carefully avoided.[viii]
How true that last statement is. How many people think nothing of skipping Mass (or never attend at all)? How often do we hear the name of the Lord used in vain? Truly, these acts matter to God.
Not honoring God in his Name and on his day, not worshiping, not praying are the root causes, the deep-seated sins against God that bring on those ‘sins against the neighbor.’ The Lady says, without actually pronouncing the words, that serving God and serving the neighbor are not two acts, but one.
On the face of it, the La Salette message is limited in its demands: Mass, prayer, penance, and respect for Christ’s name appear to be the bare bones of religion . . . On the other hand, when these elements are observed well, they launch an intimate and powerful Christian life, for all of Christian life is based on those demands.[ix]
Our Blessed Mother took the people to task for not paying attention to the sorrow that they were causing her and her Son. “She also reproached her people for not seeing the signs of the times when the potatoes rotten. ‘You paid no least heed,’ she said.”[x]
Do we pay heed to the world around us? Our world, our environment, is in such pain. Our physical world is connected to the spiritual realm. Yes, we need to take practical, concrete actions to help our physical world. But the role of the spiritual should not be neglected. What would our world look like if everyone returned to God, loved God and neighbor, respected God’s name, and kept the Lord’s Day holy? It isn’t too late.
Our Blessed Mother still weeps for us. She wants us to return to her Son. Will we answer her plea?

Prayers to Our Lady of La Salette

Our Lady of La Salette, reconciler of sinners,
pray without ceasing for us who have recourse to thee.

The Memorare to Our Lady of La Salette

Remember, Our Lady of La Salette, true Mother of Sorrows, the tears which thou didst shed for me on Calvary; be mindful also of the unceasing care which thou dost exercise to shield me from the justice of God; and consider whether thou canst now abandon thy child, for whom thou hast done so much. Inspired by this consoling thought, I came to cast myself at thy feet, in spite of my infidelity and ingratitude. Reject not my prayer, O Virgin of reconciliation, convert me, obtain for me the grace to love Jesus Christ above all things and to console thee too by living a holy life, in order that one day I may be able to see thee in Heaven. Amen.

[i] Ladouceur, 42.
[ii] Ladouceur, 45.
[iii] Ladouceur, 52.
[iv] Ladouceur, 52.
[v] O’Reilly, 52.
[vi] O’Reilly, 51.
[vii] O’Reilly, 163-164.
[viii] Fr. Normand Theroux, M.S., Our La Salette Mission: To Reconcile Her People With Her Son (Attleboro, MA: La Salette Communications Center Publications, 2017).
[ix] Theroux.

Amazon Ad