A Prayer for the Victims of Hurricane Irma

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Hurricane Irma Information

Office of the Bishop 

All of you are in my prayers during this time of recovery in Southwest Florida.

The storm has passed and now we find comfort in knowing that we are people of hope, and that our faith will guide us in restoring our everyday way of life.

This may appear to some to be a time of darkness. But, as Catholics we are called to reflect the light of Christ. Let us be compassionate to our neighbor, our brothers and sisters in need who may be suffering at this time. Let us be united in prayer and with the Lord. Let us be beacons of hope to those around us. Let us magnify the light that is Christ. 

May God bless you all. 

Sincerely yours in Christ,

+ Frank J.Dewane

Bishop of the Diocese of Venice of

Venice in Florida

 

Hurricane Irma Relief Efforts

Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc. has opened 11 Disaster Response Centers to assist with relief and recovery efforts from the devastation of Hurricane Irma in Southwest Florida.  All centers are in need of water, non-perishable food, home cleaning supplies, and volunteers.  Anyone interested in providing support or items should contact the center nearest you. The locations of the Disaster Response Centers are listed below.


HURRICANE IRMA DISASTER RESPONSE CENTERS
ARCADIA
Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc. in 
DeSoto County
1210 East Oak Street, Arcadia, FL 34266
Office Phone: 
863-494-1068
Contact Persons:  Sister Ann DeNicolo and Andy Herigodt

BONITA SPRINGS
Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc. In Bonita Springs
St. Leo the Great Parish
28290 Beaumont Road, Bonita Springs, FL 34134
Office Phone: 
239-390-2928    
Contact Person: Chuck Anderson

CLEWISTON
Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc. in Clewiston
St. Margaret Parish
208 North Deane Duff Avenue, Clewiston, FL 33440-3135  
Office Phone:  863-983-8585
Contact Person:  Rev. Jiobani Batista

FORT MYERS
Jesus the Worker Parish
881 Nuna Avenue, Fort Myers, FL 33905
Office Phone: 
239-693-5333 (alt) 239-693-0640
Contact Person: Rev. Patrick T. O'Connor

Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc. in Fort Myers
4235 Michigan Ave. Link, Fort Myers, FL  33916
Office Phone: 
239-337-4193
Contact Person: Charles Anderson

IMMOKALEE
Guadalupe Social Services of Catholic Charities
211 S. 9th Street, Immokalee, FL  34142
Office Phone: 
239- 657-6242
Contact: Peggy Rodriguez

MOORE HAVEN
St. Joseph the Worker Parish
24065 U.S. Hwy 27, Moore Haven, FL 33471
Office Phone: 
863-946-0696
Contact Person: Rev. Marcial Garcia

NAPLES
Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc. in 
Collier County
2210 Santa Barbara Blvd., Naples, FL 34116
Office Phone: 
239-455-2655
Contact Person: Mary Shaughnessy

WAUCHULA
St. Michael Parish
408 Heard Bridge Road, Wauchula, FL 33873
Office Phone: 
863-773-4089
Contact Person:  Sister Gema Ruiz

SEBRING
Holy Family Youth Center
900 US Highway 27, N., Sebring, FL  33870
Office Phone: 
863-385-0049
Contact Person:  Rev. Jose Gonzalez

LAKE PLACID
Campo San Jose
170 Sun n' Lake Blvd., Lake Placid, FL  33852
Office Phone: 
863-385-0049
Contact Person:  Rev. Jose Gonzalez

 

MASS SCHEDULE SEPTEMBER 10 and 11

Dear Parishioner,

We are monitoring Hurricane Irma closely.  As Hurricane Irma continues to move towards Florida, it is important to take care of you and your loved ones.

Therefore, the schedule for Mass and Confession for the next few days is below.  Please spread the word to your parishioner’s friends and neighbors.

 
Saturday, September 9th
9:00 AM Morning Mass
9:30 AM Confessions
3:00 PM Confessions
4:00 PM Vigil Mass
 
Please do not attempt to attend Mass on Saturday if conditions are dangerous.  
 
During this time of emergency, the Sunday obligation to attend Mass and receive the Eucharist is dispensed per Canon Law 87.
 
Sunday, September 10th
All Masses are cancelled.  
 
Monday, September 11th
The Church and Parish Office will be closed.
 
Tuesday, September 12th
Weather permitting, we hope to resume the weekday Mass at 9:00 AM and re-open the Parish Office at 8:30 AM.
 
Please stay safe and we ask that you continue to pray for those affected by Hurricane Irma.  Be assured of our prayerful support for each of you.
 
If you need the services of a priest due to death or serious illness ONLY please call our emergency line 239-836-6488.  Someone will respond to your call as soon as possible. 
 
God bless you. 
 

For Information about Public Safety in Lee County, please visit the Lee County site:  http://www.leegov.com/publicsafety/emergencymanagement

Welcome to St. Therese Parish


Wwelcome you to join with the Faith Community at St. Therese Parish as we gather together to celebrate the Eucharist, the Sacraments or a time of prayer. We welcome back members of St. Therese Parish who have been away for a summer time visit to family and friends in the North! Our special welcome is extended to all who are visiting from the area and also to those who are vacationing in southwest Florida. To those who will be traveling this week – travel safely.

Our parish is a vibrant, welcoming and prayerful parish.  Our parish has lived of and proclaimed the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the North Fort Myers area. Our diverse community is indeed a microcosm of the universal Church. Here we seek to live the Gospel through the active celebration of the Sacraments, lifelong faith formation, and a continuing commitment to our brother and sisters. We look forward to praying with you, praising Jesus Christ with you, celebrating with you, and spreading the good news of God’s love for all with you!

Make a commitment to pray with and to join in the spiritual journey of those who gather at St. Therese Church by taking time to register.  If you have recently moved into our area or have been here for a long time, but have not registered in the parish, please do.   Making oneself known also makes it possible for others to minister to us when the need arises.  Join with St. Therese Parish by returning a completed registration form (found at the main entrance of the church) or by coming to the parish office.

Ordinary Time: Growing in Faith Throughout the Year

Ordinary Time is the season of the Church year when Catholics are encouraged to grow and mature in daily expression of their faith outside the great seasons of celebration of Christmas and Easter and the great periods of penance of Advent and Lent.

Ordinary Time is a time to deepen one's prayer life, read the Scriptures, unite more deeply with the Lord in the Eucharist and become a more holy and whole person.

Ordinary Time is a period when average people like you and me strive to become the extraordinary messengers of the Gospel that we have been commissioned to be through our Baptism.

Ordinary Time is this day, this moment.  Now.

What is "Ordinary Time"?

The season of Ordinary Time begins on Monday (or Tuesday if the feast of the Baptism of the Lord is celebrated on that Monday) after the Sunday following Jan. 6 and continues until the day before Ash Wednesday, inclusive. It begins again on the Monday after Pentecost and ends on the Saturday before the first Sunday of Advent. It consists of 33 or 34 weeks. The last Sunday is celebrated as the Solemnity of Christ the King. The overall purpose of the season is to elaborate the themes of salvation history.

The various liturgical seasons are characterized in part by the scriptural readings and Mass prayers assigned to each of them. During Advent, for example, the readings are messianic; during the Easter season, from the Acts of the Apostles, chronicling the Resurrection and the original proclamation of Christ by the Apostles, and from the Gospel of John; during Lent, baptismal and penitential passages. Mass prayers reflect the meaning and purpose of the various seasons.


Six exceptional ways to live the Church's "Ordinary Time"

By Woodeene Koenig-Bricker

Until Advent or Lent begins, we're in a liturgical transition phase. How to make the most of it.

Advent has its wreath, its candles, its hymns -- all of which culminate in Christmas. Lent has ashes, fasting, Stations of the Cross -- and the Resurrection. It's easy to be energized and excited about the faith during the High Holy Days. But Ordinary Time? It's just so, well, ordinary.

How do you stay involved and engaged when Sundays seem to run together and the next liturgical high point is weeks or months away?

There are, of course, the standard suggestions: attend daily Mass, say the Rosary, make more frequent confessions. They are good ideas and can certainly help with a lagging faith, but many of us either already do these things or have done so in the past. What we long for is an infusion of ideas that are both a little different and yet still deeply rooted in our traditions.

So here are six suggestions to help make Ordinary Time a little less ordinary.

1. Create your own novena

A novena, nine days of private or public prayer intended to obtain a special grace, favor or blessing has long been a part of the Church's devotions. You can find novenas for everything from world peace to healing, most of which are directed to end on a particular feast day of Mary, Jesus or a prominent saint. But you can create your own novena, choosing your own ending day and devotional activity. For instance, create a birthday novena. Do something special for the nine days before your birthday or the birthday of someone you love; you can certainly say a prayer like the Hail Mary or Our Father, but you might also light a candle, read a poem, work on a piece of art or plant a flower. Whatever you do, place yourself in the presence of God and offer your activity with your whole heart, mind and soul.

2. Keep a gratitude journal

Some scientific studies have shown that people who regularly "count their blessings" are happier than those who don't. Often we are so focused on the negatives in our lives we overlook the positives. So, during Ordinary Time, take a small notebook and, once a day, write at least five things you are thankful for. They don't have to be earth-shattering; "a cup of coffee" will suffice. Then, on Sunday, read aloud your list, saying before each item: "God, I thank you for..." It seems like a simple activity, but it can literally be life-changing as a concrete, permanent record of the blessings of your life that is hard to overlook even when you are feeling down.

3. Focus on God's abundance

Last year a person decided that since so many things seemed to be going wrong in her life, she would concentrate on the ways God showed his providence in a tangible, practical manner. Every day she e-mailed a friend to relate what "abundance" God had provided. Sometimes it was a small thing -- like finding a quarter on the sidewalk. Other times it was larger -- like being given a washing machine when hers broke. At times it was nonmaterial, like having a neighbor blow the leaves from her yard. But as the days went by, it became obvious that God was continually showering abundance on her. It became a daily joy to see what new gift God had for her that day.

4. Act out

One of the reasons our faith can become stale is because it becomes too cerebral. Instead of "doing," we spend most of our time "thinking." So put your faith in action. No, that doesn't mean you have to start vigils at abortion centers or volunteering at soup kitchens -- although those things are good and may be just what some people need. You can act out your faith in smaller, more homey ways as well. For instance, Jesus told us if we had two coats, we should share with those who had none. Most of us probably have at least two coats in our closets, so paring down our clothes could be a great place to begin. During Ordinary Time, simplifying, eliminating and giving away those things that we no longer use can become a great act of faith... and a great faith-builder.

5. Read something with moral value

Have you ever read "The Confessions," by St. Augustine? "Introduction to the Devout Life," by St. Francis de Sales? "The Brothers Karamazov," by Fyodor Dostoevsky? Or for more modern tastes "Mr. Blue," by Myles Connolly, "In This House of Brede," by Rumer Goden or even the current best-seller "The Shack," by William P. Young? In the weeks when the Church is not preparing for something special, we have the time to read what others have written about God, faith and the meaning of life. We don't have to agree with everything we read, but reading morally engaging literature is one of the best ways to keep our faith vital and vibrant.

6. Keep the Sabbath

The weeks of Ordinary Time are ideally suited to creating family rituals that keep the Sabbath as a special day. Without the pressure of holidays and holy days, we can design our own personal practices that make Sunday a day to anticipate. As with most things, these don't have to be elaborate. Perhaps stopping at the doughnut shop on the way home from Mass and letting everyone pick their favorite could become a "tradition." Or reinstitute a sit-down family dinner Sunday evening, even if you are sitting down to eat take-out. Or read aloud or listen to a book on tape. Just find something you and your family can enjoy and save that activity for the Sabbath.

Ordinary Time is only ordinary if we think of it that way. If we consider these weeks, not as the long boring stretches between the good stuff, but as a time to try new things and refocus our energies on our spiritual growth, Ordinary Time can become one of our favorite -- and most rewarding -- times of year

There's Always Something to Celebrate

Even though Ordinary Time doesn't build to a single great feast like Advent or Lent, it's not without its high points. Trinity Sunday (June 7), Corpus Christi (June 11 or 14), the Assumption of Mary (Aug. 15), All Saints (Nov. 1) and Christ the King (Nov. 22) are just a few of the important celebrations that fall during these weeks.

No First Sunday of Ordinary Time?

If you go to Mass on the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, which is celebrated on the Sunday after Epiphany, you may be startled to see the next Sunday is "The Second Sunday of Ordinary Time." What happened to the First Sunday? It's a little confusing. The Sunday Masses for the Baptism of the Lord are the very last celebrations of the Christmas season. However, Evening Prayer that night is the first liturgical marker for Ordinary Time. Therefore, the first part of that Sunday is Christmas and the second part is Ordinary Time. The next day, Monday, is the "First Monday of Ordinary Time." Therefore, the next Sunday has to be "The Second Sunday in Ordinary Time," because it is the Sunday of the second week in Ordinary Time.

It Wasn't Always Ordinary

The early Church didn't seem to have any special terms for the non-Advent and non-Easter seasons, even though they were clearly recognized. During much of the Church's history, the two blocks of time were called the "Season after Epiphany" and the "Season after Pentecost." It wasn't until the new Catholic calendar took effect in 1969 after the Second Vatican Council that the term "Ordinary Time" came into common use in the liturgical calendar.

The Cardinal Difference

It's tempting to think that Ordinary Time got its name because it is "ordinary" or non-exceptional, but that's not really the case. Ordinary Time means ordered or numbered time and is derived from "ordinal numbers" (first, second, third, etc.) as opposed to "cardinal numbers" (one, two, three). It begins on the Monday after the Baptism of Our Lord and is counted sequentially until Lent. The count then resumes where it left off on the Monday after Pentecost and continues until Advent.

Because the beginning of Lent is a movable feast, Ordinary Time can last 33 or 34 weeks.


A Special Time of Year Summer Spiritual Growth

Summer Spiritual Growth

Lorene Hanley Duquin

Summer is that special time of year when you have the time to do things that you might not ordinarily do. When you think of this special time from a spiritual perspective, all sorts of possibilities arise. Here are some things you could do to deepen your spirituality this summer:

§  Get up early to watch the sunrise and let the Lord to speak to you in the beauty of nature.

§  Wade in some water. Whether it’s a creek, a pond, a lake or an ocean, reflect on how you came to Christ through the waters of Baptism.

§  Sit by a campfire and allow the light and heat from the dancing flames to become a reminder of the healing light and warmth of Christ’s love.

§  Find a shady place where you can relax and read the Gospels. Allow the words of Scripture to penetrate your soul.

§  Lie on the lawn and watch the cloud formations. Marvel at the beauty of God’s creation.

§  Go for a walk in the woods and imagine that the trees are angels sent by God to shelter and protect you.

§  Listen to the chirping of birds and join them in praising God.

§  Allow yourself to sweat in the heat of the day and imagine that God is letting any impurities inside of you to be released.

§  Quench your thirst with a cool glass of water and reflect on how the Lord thirsts for souls.

§  Feel the summer breeze and think about how the Holy Spirit moves like a gentle wind through your life.

§  Gaze upon the stars in the nighttime sky and allow yourself to feel small in the largeness of the universe.

§  Take the time to thank God for all the wonderful gifts that he has bestowed upon you.


Difficulties We Encounter in Prayer


Our hang-ups can keep us from fully inviting God into our midst to transform our lives Celia Wolf-Devine OSV Newsweekly

Regular prayer has always been regarded as an essential part of Christian life. In the psalms the believer is compared to a tree planted by a stream that still bears fruit, even in times of drought, remaining full of sap and green, even in old age.

Jesus is the one who can give us living water, as he tells the Samaritan woman (Jn 4:10), and prayer is an important way in which we can open ourselves to receive this so that we, too, can remain full of sap and green amid the trials of life. “O God, you are my God — / it is you I seek! / For you my body yearns; / for you my soul thirsts, / In a land parched, lifeless, / and without water” (Ps 63:2)

Our desire for God indicates that God is already at work in us, calling us to him. Realizing this puts prayer in a new light. It is not just something we do; it also involves inviting God to work in us — to transform us and conform us more to Christ. God is, in fact, present when we pray. As the 17th-century Carmelite Brother Lawrence put it: “You need not cry very loud; he is nearer to us than we are aware of.” Whether we are speaking words or singing or simply being silent, this sense of our longing for God and the reality of his presence should be a kind of constant background to our prayer.

What holds us back

If you know you need to pray more, but keep finding yourself getting to the end of the day and finding you have not prayed, you should think about what is holding you back.

“I’m too busy.” Don’t think of prayer as another thing you have to do, but as an opportunity to disengage yourself from the rush of practical activities and experience some of the leisureliness and eternity of God. Even a short period of this sort of prayer is like finding an oasis in the desert.

Pope Francis on Prayer

“That is why Jesus urges us to pray and ‘not to lose heart.’ We all go through times of tiredness and discouragement, especially when our prayers seem ineffective. But Jesus assures us: ... God promptly answers his children, even though this doesn’t mean he will necessarily do it when and how we would like. Prayer does not work like a magic wand! It helps us keep faith in God, and to entrust ourselves to him even when we do not understand his will. In this, Jesus himself — who prayed constantly! — is our model.”  Pope Francis, general audience, May 25, 2016

We also feel embarrassment. We may be afraid to invite God in because we want everything to be clean and orderly, but we know that much is chaotic, conflicted, misshapen, even ugly. The answer is twofold. First, just as you would visit someone out of friendship regardless of her messy house, so Jesus wants to visit us. Second, if we wait until everything is orderly and beautiful, we will wait forever, because it is only the action of the Holy Spirit that can purify our hearts.

Our sinfulness in general can overwhelm us sometimes, as when St. Peter cries, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man” (Lk 5:8). But Jesus came to call sinners and shared meals with tax collectors and prostitutes.

We also fear that God will take us over or ask us to give up things to which we are attached. God always leaves us free. He may, in fact, ask us to give up something we are attached to, but if so, he will gradually lead us to see it differently and be less attracted to it. If, like most of us, you have already tried to do everything your own way and made a mess of things, the idea that God really does know what is good for us better than we do begins to look pretty plausible.

Prayer of presence

We all want to experience God’s presence and not just believe that he is present. But don’t assume you are not experiencing it because you are not having experiences like Saul on the Damascus Road or Teresa of Ávila. Dramatic experiences can and do happen. But more ordinarily, the sense of God’s presence is subtle and intermittent: a feeling that you are not alone, a moment of heightened life and peace, a sense of being held and stilled or comforted in times of sorrow or anguish, or perhaps a sudden clarity that reveals something deep about yourself and your situation.

Imagination in prayer

The background image we have of God is very important for prayer. If you envision him as a harsh judge, this will get in the way of openness and trust. You might experiment with some images that are common in mystical literature. Imagine yourself as clay in the hands of the potter or as a house you invite him to come dwell in, or perhaps as the bridegroom of your soul.

Mystics have employed maternal imagery as well — for example, nursing at the breast of God; God as a powerful deliverer, coming to drive out all darkness and evil, is an image that may feel appropriate sometimes. I sometimes think of myself as a drowning swimmer and Jesus as the lifeguard coming to save me, so I feel moved to stop thrashing around, relax and let him lift and carry me. Or I think of sunbathing in his light, letting it warm me, being a flower that turns toward the light and opens its petals, or following his lead as I would follow the lead of a dancing partner.

A good analogy in Scripture is the garden. We are dry, bramble-infested ground which God weeds and waters and softens so we can bring forth fruit. We want to be like the good soil in the parable of the sower (Lk 8:15) — like those who “hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bring forth fruit with patience.”


Structuring prayer time

Lock prayer into your daily routine. A short period of prayer first thing in the morning before you turn on your computer, cellphone or TV is an especially valuable practice. We need to bring Christ to the world, so spend some time with him first before you get entangled in your daily activities. Pray before you make your list and let God give you his perspective on what is important. It is OK to sip your morning tea or coffee as you start. One way to structure it is the following:

Read a little Scripture and see what stands out for you. The daily Mass readings are a good choice.

Bring to God whatever is on your mind: things left over from yesterday, your emotions, your worries and fears, difficult situations you expect to encounter today, and try to let go of them. Offer him thanks for bringing you to the start of another day.

A good opening prayer is from the Anglican prayer book: “Almighty God unto whom all hearts are open, all desires known, from whom no secrets are hid, cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of thy Holy Spirit that we may perfectly love thee and worthily magnify thy holy name.”

Say or sing some sort of Holy Spirit invocation.

Ask God to help you surrender to him, to let him dwell in you more deeply and live in him and for him more today than yesterday. Be sure to leave some quiet time.

Do some sort of invocation of the Sacred Heart. I use the Litany of the Sacred Heart.

Say a prayer of thanksgiving and ask for his guidance and protection throughout the day.

If you are bothered by distractions, just return gently to the prayers and don’t get upset at yourself for your poor concentration. Turn your worries into prayers for that situation. Keep a writing pad next to you for insights or things you need to do. Don’t pick at yourself or worry about whether you are doing it right. And don’t get discouraged if you don’t see quick results — either in the feelings you experience or in overcoming your faults. God can work in us at all sorts of levels that we are not aware of. Just be faithful to prayer, ask him to transform your heart, putting your desires in the right order so the compass needle of your soul points to him, the true north, and trust he will complete the good work he has begun in you.

Celia Wolf-Devine writes from Rhode Island.

Saints Offer Spiritual Support to Elderly


St. Anthony of Padua, Blessed John Paul II and others are models for those suffering from physical and spiritual ailments. Matthew Bunson OSV Newsweekly

In his “Letter to the Elderly” in 1999, Pope Blessed John Paul II wrote, “It is natural that, as the years pass, we should increasingly consider our ‘twilight.’ If nothing else, we are reminded of it by the very fact that the ranks of our family members, friends and acquaintances grow ever thinner.” 

The letter from the late pontiff was intended for those who are in the “autumn” of their lives, and the pope noted that the challenges of old age are considerable. They are both physical as well as spiritual, and those of the spirit can be even greater than the ailments and conditions that plague an aging body. 

One of the ways that the Church can offer spiritual support for the elderly is through the saints. Catholic tradition honors one saint in particular as the patron of the elderly: the beloved St. Anthony of Padua (d. 1226).  

There are, however, other saints and blessed who can serve as ideal patrons and models for seniors, including Sts. Jeanne Jugan and Teresa of Jesus Jornet e Ibars, St. Monica and Pope Blessed John Paul II, and even St. Peter.  

Saints for the aged

St. Anthony of Padua (1195-1231), one of the great Franciscan saints, seems at first look an unlikely candidate to be patron of the elderly. He died at the age of 36, was a brilliant preacher and doctor of the Church and a defender of the faith against heresy.  

He is also a famous patron for helping people to find lost objects. His status as a patron of the elderly stems from his abiding compassion for the suffering and the aged, especially in Padua, as well as his own many physical afflictions, enough to last many lifetimes. His feast day is June 30. 

Sts. Jeanne Jugan (1792-1879) and Teresa Jesus Jornet e Ibars (1843-1897) were both founders of religious congregations called the Little Sisters of the Poor, and both took as their special concern the care of the elderly, especially the forgotten and the abandoned. They are thus the special friends of the elderly, in particular those suffering from abandonment or loneliness. 

St. Jeanne was born in France and started what became the Little Sisters of the Poor in 1837 when she called together a small community of friends to care for abandoned elderly women. It was said that she gave up her own bed for the first of the elderly women who came under her charge.  

The members initially went door-to-door asking for food and funds to support the women whom they aided, but by the time of St. Jeanne’s death, there were several thousand Little Sisters and houses all over Europe and North and South America.

She was beatified in Rome by Pope John Paul II on Oct. 3, 1982, and canonized on Oct. 11, 2009, by Pope Benedict XVI. Her famous motto was a simple one: “Making the elderly happy, that’s what counts.” Her feast day is Aug. 30. 

St. Teresa Jesus was born in Spain and founded the Little Sisters of the Abandoned Aged (also commonly called the Little Sisters of the Poor) in 1873 with the specific charge of caring for the many isolated and forgotten elderly in the region around Barbastro, in northeastern Spain. By the time of her death from exhaustion, there were 50 houses for the elderly. Pope Pius XII beatified her in 1958, and she was canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1974. Her feast day is Aug. 26. 

Saints for the brokenhearted

Where St. Anthony and Sts. Jeanne and Teresa are honored as patrons of the elderly, St. Monica (d. 387) is a great model for seniors who struggle in their relationships with their children. The mother of St. Augustine, St. Monica was a widow who spent many tear-filled years praying that her tortured relationship with her son might end with the reform of his dissolute life and their attaining some happiness together.  

A bishop consoled her, “It is not possible that the son of so many tears should perish.”  

Her fortitude and ceaseless prayers ended after 17 years with St. Augustine’s baptism by St. Ambrose of Milan only months before her death. St. Monica is the saint to ask for help if you are hoping for reconciliation with your grown children. Her feast day is Aug. 27. 

St. Monica is also a patron for widows and widowers. She is joined by Sts. Paula (347-404) and Frances of Rome (1384-1440).  

A Roman noblewoman, St. Paula was widowed at the age of 36 and devoted most of her remaining years to assisting St. Jerome in his work and building up the Church in the Holy Land. St. Frances was a Roman noblewoman, mother, mystic and source of many charitable initiatives in Rome. She had always wanted to enter the religious life, but she was wed at the age of 13 to a noble and was widowed at the age of 52.  

Both Paula and Frances spent their times as widows dedicating their lives to God, and they are beautiful examples for those who have lost spouses and face loneliness or need direction for their later years. St. Paula’s feast day is Jan. 26, and St. Frances’ is March 9. 

Saints for the suffering

The 25-year pontificate of Blessed John Paul II provided a vivid example of how to grow old with dignity and conform our sufferings to Christ’s cross. The entire world watched him age, deal with his many infirmities and finally go to the Lord’s house. His “Letter to the Elderly” was written from the deep personal experience of aging, and with his beatification in 2011 by Pope Benedict XVI, the late pontiff is now a great role model for seniors.  

As the pope wrote, “Sadly, struggles and tribulations are very much a part of everyone’s life. Sometimes it is a matter of problems and sufferings which can sorely test our mental and physical resistance, and perhaps even shake our faith. But experience teaches that daily difficulties, by God’s grace, often contribute to people’s growth and to the forging of their character.” His feast day is Oct. 22. 

Finally, for those seeking the blessings of a long life, the traditional patron is St. Peter, who gave his last years to proclaiming the Gospel and leading the Christian community, especially in Rome where he was bishop. It is worth remembering that he suffered persecution and ultimately martyrdom.  

A long life will thus bring its share of loss, but faith and hope will always prepare us for the final time of our lives.  

As the psalms teach us: “God, you have taught me from my youth; to this day I proclaim your wondrous deeds. Now that I am old and gray, do not forsake me, God, that I may proclaim your might to all generations to come” (Ps 71:17-18).

Matthew Bunson is the editor of The Catholic Answer and the 2012 Catholic Almanac.

Patron Saints for the challenges that can come with Old Age

- Angina: Swithbert 

- Arthritis: Coloman, James the Greater, Killian, Servatus

- Bodily ills: Our Lady of Lourdes

- Stomach problems: Bonaventure

- Cancer: Peregrine

- Coughs: Blase, Quentin, Walburga

- Hearing loss: Francis de Sales

- Dizziness: Dymphna

- Disappointing children: Clotilde, Louise de Marillac, Matilda, Monica

- Foot problems: Peter the Apostle, Servatus

- Hemorrhoid sufferers: Fiacre

- Heart problems: John of God

- Knee problems: Roch

- Loneliness: Rita of Cascia

- Lung problems: Bernardine of Siena

- Strokes: Andrew Avellino

- Vision Loss: Raphael, Lucy, Cosmas and Damian, Thomas the Apostle

- Widows: Paula, Frances of Rome

Faith, Hope & Love 50/50 Raffle Winners

 

Raffle Winners ~ August 2017

Ticket # 763962

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Winning Tickets must be claimed no later than September 30, 2017.

Thank you to all who participated.