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One Solitary Life

Here is a man who was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in another obscure village, where He worked in a carpenter shop until He was thirty, and then for three years He was an itinerant preacher.

He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never owned a home. He never had a family. He never went to college. He never put his foot inside a big city. He never traveled two hundred miles from the place where He was born. He never did one of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but Himself. He had nothing to do with this world except the naked power of His divine manhood.

While still a young man, the tide of public opinion turned against Him. His friends ran away. One of them denied Him. He was turned over to His enemies. He went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed to a cross between two thieves. His executioners gambled for the only piece of property He had on earth while He was dying—and that was his coat. When he was dead He was taken down and laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend.

Nineteen wide centuries have come and gone and today He is the centerpiece of the human race and the leader of the column of progress. I am far within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, and all the navies that ever were built, and all the parliaments that ever sat, all the kings that ever reigned, put together have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as has that One Solitary Life.

JAMES ALLAN FRANCIS, One Solitary Life, pp. 1–7 (1963).
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2021 proclaimed a Holy Year in Santiago de Compostela

The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, site of the tomb of Saint James (often referred to as Saint Jacob in Spain). has proclaimed the year 2021 a Holy Year at the shrine.   The last time the Holy Year was celebrated here was in 2010……it will not occur here again  until 2027.

A Holy Year is proclaimed when the 25th of July (Commemoration of the Martyrdom of Saint James) falls on a Sunday, which happens to occur in 2021.  This originated in 1122 with Pope Callixtus II, and was later confirmed by Pope Alexander III through the Bull “Regis aeterni” from 1179, granting it perpetuity.

On December 31, 2020, according to the rite…after the reading of the pope’s message… Archbishop Julián Barrio knocked on the door three times with a hammer and the door was opened.

According to tradition, pilgrims who walk to Santiago de Compostela during a Holy Year and Pass through the Holy Door of the Santiago Cathedral are granted a plenary indulgence.  To gain this indulgence you must not only walk through the Holy Door in Santiago de Compostela’s cathedral to the Apostle’s tomb, but also confess your sins, pray for the Pope, attend Mass, and take communion.

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Free Eye-Opening conference Sunday to support Christians in the Holy Land

You know how passionate we are about supporting Christian families in the Holy Land, who suffer persecution and are, sad to say, a minority in the land of Jesus’ birth.

Please join a FREE 90-minute online conference called Renew Hope for the Holy Land on Sunday, November 15, 2020, at 7 PM EST to learn about our Christian brothers and sister living in the Holy Land.

Registration for this event is FREE and during it, you will hear from Christians who are living in the Holy Land right now as well as Jeff Cavins, Gus Lloyd, Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosio and many other prominent speakers, evangelists, and authors.

This will be an eye-opening introduction to the situation our brothers and sisters in the Holy Land face every day and will end with a time to ask questions. Learn more at https://selecttogive.org/hope/

Again, registration is free, visit https://selecttogive.org/hope/ to learn more and register for FREE.

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Hopeless? Turn to Saint Philomena

One of the most popular saints among Catholics is Saint Philomena, patroness of impossible causes.  As Saint John Vianney said: “To Saint Philomena God refuses nothing.”   Or as Pope Gregory XVI said:  “Whatever you ask from her, she will obtain for you”.

Her shrine in Italy at Mugnano de Cardinale, Avellino, is a short distance from Naples.  Churches around the world will honor her on her Feast Day August 11th.

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Ban on cruising in U.S. waters extended

The Centers for Disease Control had banned cruising in U.S. waters through July 24, 2020. For those cruise ports that are in U.S.waters, that meant no cruises departing from the U.S. whatsoever.  That would also apply, of course, to Transatlantic crossings docking in the U.S.

Under the new extension, cruising will not resume until October 1 at the earliest.  We suspect that even this date is highly likely to change.

The Canadian government has also come down hard:  it is banning all large cruise ships that carry more than 100 people until Oct 31, 2020.  Again we suspect that will not be the last we hear.

The Miami Herald reports that since June 23, some 1,000 cruise ship crew members have developed either confirmed or suspected cases of the coronavirus while living aboard mostly empty ships waiting off the U.S. coast.  Click here for the video from the Miami Herald  (external link).

Although this is a disappointment for passengers, it is an absolute tragedy for many crew members.  These men and women are often from impoverished countries and rely on earnings to help support their families back home.  While quarantined  in port, they are not receiving any pay…and in many cases they are not able to return to their home countries.  It is a nightmare scenario.

We would hope there might be some way to help these crew members….and we would like to hear from you if you have any information or are aware of any organized efforts to help them financially.  We’d be happy to post it on our site.  Of course, your prayers should come first.

Find out about cruises for Catholics on our cruise page.

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A virtual pilgrimage on the Way of St. James (Santiago de Compostela)

Walking The Way of Saint James is a wonderful experience for those who are able to make it.  It has been closed during the Coronavirus pandemic, but is now back open.

But for those who cannot make it, The Camino de Santiago Virtual Challenge is the next best thing.

Here is how it works:

♦ You set up your own deadline (up to 78 weeks) and you can do it solo or as a team. Cross the finish line and you will receive a “finishers” medal (if you walk the physical Way, you normally have a passport stamped at various places along the way and get “finished” when you reach Santiago de Compostela.

♦  Each time you complete a distance based exercise activity such as running, walking, cycling etc you advance along the map from France to Spain.

It is a great way to stay fit during these strange times of partial shut-downs.

The catch is, it’s not free.  It costs to participate (includes the medal)  You can find out more and sign up here.

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Are there really Catholic Masses on Holland America cruises?

We know that many of you cruisers appreciate the fact that you are able to attend daily Mass when sailing on Holland America Cruise Lines.We recently received the following email from a prospective Holland America passenger:

” Hi there,

I’m looking at cruise options and would like to make sure a priest is available for Sunday mass. A number of reviews I have seen say that the Holland America Line offer mass on all cruises however when I phoned them they said it’s not always the case. Can anyone confirm for sure?

Many thanks,
Elise “

Since Holland America does claim to have a Catholic priest on board all of its cruises (to our knowledge, they are the only U.S.-based cruise line to do so), we wrote to Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America to verify this infomation…..not really sure if or when we would get a response.  To our pleasant surprise, we received a reply within a few hours, and here it is:

” Thank you for your recent correspondence with Holland America Line regarding the clergy onboard our ships. I am reaching out to you on behalf of Mr. Ashford.  

We sincerely apologize about any confusion regarding the religious services held onboard our ships. We are pleased to inform you that a Catholic priest is on board each ship at all times and a Catholic mass is held daily. The only reason we would not have a Catholic priest onboard is due to an illness or possible travel delay. The Daily Program provided onboard will list the times and locations.

We thank you for giving us this opportunity to review your concerns, and assisting us in our efforts to meet our goal of consistent excellence. ”  

For more information on how to find a cruise with a Catholic priest on board click here.

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Do you know the tradition of the “Christmas Nail”?

One of the best things about Advent and Christmas is discovering the many varied traditions that families have passed down through the generations.  When you travel….whether locally or abroad….you will often find traditions that have endured for centuries.

SAtory of the Christmas NailOne of these traditions is the “Christmas nail”.   Supposedly resembling the nails used to attach Jesus to the cross, it is a reminder of the true meaning of Christmas….that the birth of Christ was subsequently followed by His crucifixion and then His resurrection.

It is fitting that the nail is placed on a tree….since He was crucified by hanging Him on a tree.

Many families put the Christmas nail near the center of the tree, to remind them that Christ should be at the center of their lives.  It is a great way to bring Christ back in to Christmas.

Get one for your family and start a new tradition.

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Did you watch “The Chaperone” on PBS?

Shown primarily in the U.S., this P.B.S. show deals with a young girl..and her adult chaperone…traveling from Wichita, Kansas to New York City.  It has a dual plot….it turns out that the chaperone was an orphan raised in a Catholic orphanage in New York, and wants to find out who her birth mother was.  Reverend Mother dissuaded her…..but we won’t spoil the rest of the story for you.

The fact that the chaperone was an orphan in a Catholic orphanage immediately caught our interest….but we often fear the worst, as the media these days does not always reflect Catholic institutions in a positive light.  This was not the case here, though.

The show briefly touched on the fact that the chaperone was sent off by train to live with a family across the country at a young age….but few details were given.  That is understandable, since that was not central to the plot.

But you might be interested to know about the “Orphan Trains” and their connection with the New York Foundling Hospital, run by the Sisters of Charity.  These sisters helped re-locate thousands of orphans and abandoned children to Catholic families throughout the U.S. in the late 1800’s.

You can read more about the “Orphan Trains” here.

 

Spoiler alert!  Reverend Mother was right in the advice that she gave to the chaperone!

 

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New movie about Saint Faustina: Love and Mercy

In 1931, Jesus appeared to Faustina Kowalska as the King of Mercy. Clothed in a white robe and emanating two large rays from his side, one white and one red, He asked Faustina to paint this image of Himself along with the phrase, “Jesus, I trust in You” and to spread the message of mercy around the world. He promised that anyone who venerated this image would not perish. The gripping new docudrama LOVE AND MERCY presents unknown facts and recently disclosed documents that shed new light on the vision of Faustina.

Aided by scientific analysis, the film reveals how the Divine Mercy image and the Shroud of Turin were compared to one another to stunning conclusions. Dramatically recreated scenes between Saint Faustina and her confessor Father Michał Sopoćko traces the story of the origins of the image and how the devotion to Divine Mercy was born and spread throughout the world despite a ban of the devotion by the Catholic Church.

Shot in the U.S., Poland and Lithuania, the film is a compelling hybrid of dramatization and documentary-style storytelling that will leave viewers in awe of this spectacular account of divine friendship.

This great movie will appear in theaters in the U.S. beginning October 28, 2019.

You can find tickets and showtimes here at Fathom Events.