Thursday, September 29, 2016

ROSARY OF ST. JOHN PAUL THE GREAT: Images and Biblical Passages

In praying the Rosary, St. John Paul II, the greatest Marian Pope, recommended:

(1) use of sacred images as a “great help in focusing the mind on the particular mystery” and
(2) proclamation of a Biblical passage because  “no other words can ever match the efficacy of the inspired word.” Benedict XVI reiterated this, saying  this facilitates memorization of key biblical passages.

To facilitate the practice of these recommendations is a collection of sacred images and biblical passages in one powerpoint presentation, titled Rosary of St. John Paul the Great.

Download this Rosary aid here for your personal use, or for the family or community rosary. Or here in PDF.

To further understand the recommendations of St. John Paul II, read Top Ten Instructions of John Paul the Great on the Rosary

Thursday, September 22, 2016

ROSARY BIBLICAL PASSAGES: Some Values Content of Selected Texts of the Word of God

This is an initial listing of values content of the selected texts of biblical passages found here in a former blog post.


1. Annunciation.
Christianity begins with joy and is about joy.
Mary is properly called full of grace. Virginal Motherhood
Practice of calling Jesus’ name
Mary is Spouse of the Holy Spirit
God is omnipotent. Omnipotence as basis of faith.
Mary’s yes, response of faith, as key to salvation of all.
God is not distant, but near and among us.
2. Visitation.
Mary’s spirit of service.  Greeting. Politeness.
Mary as Mother of God. Importance of presence of Mary. 
With Mary, God visits his people. 
God and Mary spread (cause) joy
Prayer of praise. Joy is based in God. Virtue of rejoicing.
3. Birth of Jesus.
Importance of maternity. Mary’s divine motherhood.
Jesus is first-born “among many brethren” (Rom 8:29): Mary mother of other Christians
God’s announcement through angel of the universal joy of Christmas
Sign of God: Spirit of poverty and detachment from material things, humility and abandonment in God, spiritual childhood.
Constant prayer of meditation and contemplation like Mary
4. Presentation.
Parents offering their children to God
Offering sacrifice (mass) according to law
Jesus as light of revelation and savior of all the nations
Amazement over divine things
Sign of contradiction is sign of the divine.
5. Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple
Priority of doing God’s work over other great things
Diligent search for Jesus
Capacity for dialogue. Asking questions: humility and pedagogy
Amazement at God
Ordinary life of obedience to parents and authority. Effort to study to become wise. Growth in maturity. Positive relationship with God and all men


1. Baptism of Our Lord.
Jesus example of prayer. Sacraments and prayer open us to God’s action
God the Father’s love for God the Son.
Being another Christ, Christ himself through baptism
The greatness of God’s loving gift of our divine filiation
2. Self-manifestation of Jesus at the Wedding of Cana.
Importance of marriage and family.
Service without being noticed
Mary’s most powerful intercession
Mary’s advice to follow Jesus
Generosity up to the brim as step to the great miracle. Miracles as aid to belief.
Jesus is the unnamed bridgegroom. Best wine is the symbol of his saving blood that is excessively poured out for all. 
3. Christ’s Proclamation of the Kingdom of God, and his Call to Conversion.
Repentance as key message
Presence of the kingdom of God
Faith in the Gospel.
Greatest commandment of love
Obeying and teaching commandments  (sanctity and apostolate) as goal of life
4. Transfiguration.
Jesus’ example of prayer
Prayer is glorifying and divine.
Dialogue with others as heavenly
Jesus’ Divine filiation. The Father’s love for the Son.
Listening to Jesus as God commanded (as Mary, sister of Martha did) as one thing necessary.
Christian life is seeking Jesus’ face.
5. Institution of the Holy Eucharist.
Eucharist as summit of Jesus’ loving and saving action
Jesus models serving like a slave
Love for the Mass as God’s sacrifice for us.
Charity towards others is inseparable from the Mass.  Jesus as standard and model of charity.


1. Agony in the Garden.  
Need for vigilance and prayer to fight temptation
Jesus’ example of extremely fervent prayer
Endearing relationship with God the Father. Abba = Daddy
God the Father is omnipotent. Trust in him.
Priority of God’s will over our own
Becoming children as fundamental condition for the Christian life
2. Scourging at the Pillar.  
Sin as choice of creatures over God
Jesus sacrifice and reparation for sin
Sin makes Jesus suffer
Chastity, chastisement over our desires, give us peace
Paschal mystery in the sacraments heals us
3. Crowning with Thorns.
Man’s mockery of God in sin
No human respect: not to think of what others say
God’s infinite love and mercy in the face of our sin
Trust in God’s mercy (key attitude according to Jesus to Faustina)
God invites us to drawing close to him
4. Carrying of the Cross.
Jesus willingness to sacrifice and make reparation
He carries our weakness and sufferings.
His self-offering expiates for sins and saves us.
God’s call: invitation to discipleship
Jesus requirement for discipleship on self-denial and mortification
God is rest in difficulties and sacrifice. Response to calling, vocation to holiness leads to peace.
5. Crucifixion and Death of our Lord.  
Greatest evil, killing God, leads to greatest good, salvation
Attitude of forgiveness
Mary as God’s gift of love. Devotion to Mary as will of Christ
Jesus repeatedly calls on God as Father. Jesus prays on the cross
Jesus’ sacrifice as ultimate love.
Jesus’ infinite love is addressed to each one, individually
Entire Christian life is centered on paschal mystery


1. Resurrection.
Resurrection based on Jesus’ own power
Jesus brings peace. Forgets and forgives offenses.
Perpetuity of his paschal mystery: wounds are part of resurrected life
Mission of Christians. Sacrament of Confession. Entrusted with key message of reconciliation
Resurrection is the new creation.
2. Ascension of our Lord.
Great Commission of all Christians to evangelize. Last command.  
Ascension to Right Hand of God (rule of Christ)
Joy as basic Christian attitude after Christ’s move to heaven
Christ’s exaltation is based on his humility, obedience and total self-giving sacrifice
God's providence draws good from evil. All for the good. 
3. Descent of the Holy Spirit.
Perseverance and unity in prayer, with devotion to Mary, prepares Pentecost
Holy Spirit dwells in all aspects of the soul and in the Church.
Apostolic boldness is based on presence of Holy Spirit
4. Assumption.
God’s love for Mary. Beauty of Mary. God calls us to him.
Entry into heaven depends on our loving Jesus in works of mercy towards the least. Intimate family relationship with God is based on meeting Jesus in scripture and acting on its inspirations. We meet Jesus in the poor.
Entry to heaven is based on meeting Jesus in others. Works of mercy.  
Humility attracts God’s great power and mercy , allows man to be used by God to accomplish great things
Veneration to Mary is for all times. 
5. Coronation of the Blessed Virgin
Mary is glorious Queen of the Universe. Mary is the likeness of the entire Church sanctified and glorified by God at the end.
Blessedness based more on her faith than her motherhood (CCC 506)
Faith and fidelity in little things as key to greatness.
Virginity and celibacy have greatly multiplied rewards
Total detachment for God is basis of abundant happiness on earth now and eternal glorification

Download this in a one-page leaflet here

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Accompanying persons with same-sex attraction in schools

The group on schools of the CBCP-ECFL Conference on how to accompany persons with same-sex attractions (Sept. 2-3) came up with the following three steps to be done in schools. In the service of these goals, here are some ideas on how we can support them.

Raise awareness. First, there has to be an effort to spread awareness about the need to accompany persons with same-sex attraction with “respect, compassion, sensitivity and non-discrimination” as the Church teaches, and about studies that help everyone to understand them. 

Raising awareness includes, according to one expert, (1) hosting an educational event, (2) hosting a social event, (3) organizing a social project, (4) distributing leaflets and inserts, during these events and also outside of these events. For this, a useful tool is a one-page leaflet, Key Facts on Homosexuality.  

Train pastoral workers. Everyone who has care over people such as parents, teachers, counsellors, guidance personnel, community leaders, religious ministers, should know more about the Catholic teachings about homosexuality and chastity in CCC  2357 to 2359, and about the right pastoral approaches to use. 

For this, some readings are: (1) the Canadian Bishops Conference’s  Pastoral Ministry to Young People with Same-sex Attraction, (2) the Catholic Medical Association’s Homosexuality and Hope.

Make sure parents are helped to become better parents and know how to teach chastity and human sexuality to their children. Since an important cause of same-sex attraction is connected with the attitudes of father and the mother, it is crucial for parents to learn how to love their children, and teach them chastity. 

Some resources are: (1) The Pope’s Most Important Advice to Your Family, (2) Strategies for a Great Family, (3) Giving Real Love to Your Child: an outline on how parents can teach their children human sexuality. Aside from the other ways schools communicate and instruct parents, pastoral workers and teachers can send parenting resources to parents via email.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Resources for praying with the Scripture of the day

Benedict XVI presaged a new springtime of Christianity if Catholics rediscover praying with the Scripture.

The correct approach to Scripture, according to this biblical scholar turned Pope, is to "savor the deep meaning of the Word of God" in the scriptural readings that the Church has chosen for her worship for the specific day.

With this practice, we encounter Jesus together with his whole Church, his Body, and God speaks to us personally --speaks to me, today!-- with words that have greater effectiveness than any other word.

To help families and individual Catholics reflect on and pray with the Word of God of the day, and even discuss it, here are some useful resources:

Readings of the Day

Reflections and Homilies on the Readings

The first three have apps that can be downloaded in smartphones.

If interested in learning more about praying with the Scripture, a useful article is Meditating on the Bible.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

MEETING POINT: New Vatican website with free educational materials on affective and sexual formation

Meeting Point: Project for Affective and Sexual Formation is the name of a new website set up by no less than the Pontifical Council of the Family.

It offers free materials which complement or aid the task of parents in chastity education. The materials are for educators who are educating 12-16-year-olds. 

The program has received a mixed response.  Cardinal Newman Society and Lifesitenews praised it for positive aspects including its use of John Paul II's Theology of the body,  but have also pointed out that the project is flawed.

In the end, the main basis of chastity education should be the Catechism of the Catholic Church on the Sixth Commandment and Ninth Commandment. Also, the classic work of the same Pontifical Council on the Family, The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality: Guidelines for Education in the Family, which I have tried to summarize in the one-pager, GIVING REAL LOVE TO YOUR CHILD: an outline on how parents can educate their children in human sexuality.

Meeting Point quotes Amoris Laetitia to explain the project: "It is not easy to approach the issue of sex education in an age when sexuality tends to be trivialized and impoverished. It can only be seen within the broader framework of an education for love, for mutual self-giving.

It has six units:

Unit 1: I. Person. First step is to learn to look at themselves and define themselves as person. Accept their own body and see it as an expression of themselves as a person. 

Unit 2: You. Sexuality and personality. The meeting with another, with "YOU", helps the youth to know themselves better. They see that sexuality speaks of a difference: man and woman. Our affective dimension is also determined by sexuality. They will learn to recognize their affections and direct them to the order of love. 
Unit 3: I put my freedom at stake. The ME and YOU who enter into a relationship can relate in different ways thanks to the gift of freedom. The story of each person still remains to be written. Learn how to make our lives and the lives of others more beautiful, since it is in love that we learn true freedom. 

Unit 4: The misuse of freedom: sin. Important for the youth to see the transcendence of good choices. We help them delve into the difficulty of choosing what is best for them, and discuss how sin wounds the heart. Jesus is the doctor who heals our wounds with the best medicine: love. 

Unit 5: Proper support: morality. Morality is a help along the way, rather than a burden. The moral dimension is a constitutive part of themselves.

Unit 6: A true love. The last step is to discover love as a personal vocation, as an answer to a call. To recognize love as a path with different stages. Mutual donation of oneself in marriage; priesthood and the consecrated life are also a personal response to love.

The materials are a translation from an original Spanish text, since the main protagonist in producing the materials is the Subcommittee for the Family and Defense of Life of the Spanish Conference of Bishops.

The critique of Cardinal New Society can be found through this article here, while the review of LifesiteNews is found here.
Article in Crux:

Monday, August 22, 2016

Top Ten Instructions of St. John Paul the Great on the Rosary, "the Most Effective Means of Fostering a Christian Prayer Life"

Download the one-page leaflet for mass distribution here.

One of the greatest Popes of all time, whose towering sanctity and influence is based on his Marian devotion, gave specific instructions on how we can profit the most from this powerful devotion.

At the end of his life, St. Pope John Paul II strongly encouraged praying the Rosary, and the topmost reason for doing so, he said, was that the Rosary is “the most effective means of fostering…a Christian life distinguished above all in the art of prayer.”

Even when his life was waning, John Paul the Great felt that God wanted him to be the Pope who will lead the Church at the beginning of the new millennium. And moved by God, he gave the Church a master plan, in a document titled At the Beginning of the new Millennium, containing his vision on how the Church can bring about a new springtime of Christianity in this new age.  

The highest priority he specified for the Church is a training in holiness, and this in turn, he said, calls for “a Christian life distinguished above all in the art of prayer.” And the most effective way is the Rosary.

Years before, St. Josemaria, a saint who John Paul II described as the apostle of the laity for modern times, taught that the Rosary is the secret to becoming great.  In his book, the Holy Rosary, St. Josemaria explained the logical connection between praying the Rosary and great sanctity:
·         to become great, become little
·         to become little, love as children love, give yourself as children give themselves, pray as children pray
·         to love as children love, love our Lady
·         to love our Lady, get to know her
·         to get to know her, pray her Rosary well.

Drawing from the wisest Church teachings on learning prayer and knowing the challenges of today,  John Paul the Great gave specific instructions and recommendations on how we can pray the Rosary well, in the most beneficial way:  

1. Do not just recite the Rosary. Contemplate the life of Jesus with the heart of Mary while praying.  Without contemplation, the Pope stressed, the Rosary would lose its meaning, like a body without a soul.  The Rosary is above all a meditation on the mystery of Jesus Christ, a contemplation of how he lived God’s life of love. 

2. Aim at becoming friends with Christ, learning his life, and becoming one with him. John Paul II says that the “Rosary mystically transports us to Mary’s side.” It is by interacting with Jesus and  Mary, listening to them, serving them, admiring them, that we learn their deepest attitudes and virtues, their way of responding to challenges and joys. 

3. Meditate on each of the mysteries. All the mysteries help us to connect with the memories of Mary, who pondered these events, and to "contemplate the beauty on the face of Christ and experience the depths of his love."

4. Announce each mystery and use an icon to portray it. This, he said, is “a great help in concentrating the mind on the particular mystery.”  God became man precisely so we can go to the invisible God through what is visible. That is why Benedict XVI said that sacred images are “extremely effective in communicating the Gospel.” With the internet, one can easily find these icons. My personal collection is found here. The best I found are here.

5. After the announcement, read a related Biblical passage.  This, he taught, allows God to speak, to speak to me, and there is no word that matches the efficacy of God’s word. Benedict XVI, who emphasized the power of  meditating on Scripture to bring about a new springtime in the Church, repeated this recommendation. He said that this practice would “encourage the memorization of brief biblical passages relevant to the mysteries of Christ’s life.” Download a list of passages in one page here.  A collection of best images and biblical passages in one powerpoint is here.

6. Pause for a few seconds after the announcement and reading to focus attention on the mystery. Silence has great power to help us to pray and meditate. St. Josemaria recommended a three to four second pause. 

7. Lift your heart to God the Father during the Our Father. This is an important moment to remember what Pope Francis repeatedly calls “our deepest identity”, our being children of God, little ones who are totally in need of God. 

8. Remember that in the Hail Marys the center of the prayer is Jesus. The whole Rosary, and especially its most repeated prayer, the Hail Mary, is a Christ-centered prayer.  In the Rosary, our main purpose is to look at Jesus’ face, together with Mary whose whole heart was centered on Jesus. 

9.  Give importance to the Glory Be, because giving glory to the Trinity is the goal and high point of contemplation.  Jesus leads us to the Father in the Holy Spirit. The Trinity is “the central mystery of Christian life”, and our whole life and eternity is a sharing in the life of the Trinity. (CCC 261; 265) 

10.  Ask that our prayer improves our daily life.  Thus we pray at the end that “by meditating on mysteries of the Rosary, we may imitate what they contain and obtain what they promise.”

When we pray the Rosary as the Pope wanted, we fulfill the authentic meaning of prayer seen by the Catechism: "Christian prayer tries above all to meditate on the mysteries of Christ." (CCC 2708) At  the end of John Paul II's document on the Rosary, Rosarium Virginis Mariae, he wrote: A prayer so easy and yet so rich truly deserves to be rediscovered. Confidently take up the Rosary once again in the light of Scripture … and in the context of your daily lives. May this appeal of mine not go unheard!  

Download the one-page leaflet for mass distribution here.

 These one-page leaflets have started going viral around the world. One leaflet was posted in the website of the Archdiocese of Westminster in London ("The Mother Church of England"), in the Corpus Christi Parish in Canada,  in Kenya and in Macau. To get the full collection, please see this: One Page Leaflets for New Evangelization Going Viral!