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“Too many Catholics there”

Watching Cardinal Dolan give the homily at Mass today at the National Eucharistic Conference, I want to paraphrase a joke he told:

A couple of guys, knowing he was a priest, decided to bait him.  They loudly exclaimed:

“I wouldn’t want to go to Italy…too many Catholics there”.

“I wouldn’t want to go to Ireland…too many Catholics there”

The Cardinal replied:

“Then go to hell…….there are no Catholics there!”


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Book Review: “The Stigmatists” by Paul Kengor

'The Stigmatists' by Paul Kengor, phdStigmatists, visionaries, the three days of darkness:  terms you may be familiar with; and yet, like us, you probably have friends and relatives who think you are delusional or some kind of religious fanatic to believe such things (perhaps a subject to avoid at those family get-togethers). Oh, they might believe miracles from the Bible, and maybe some prophetic announcements, but that is as far as it goes.  People with with stigmata (the wounds of Christ) in the modern era….well, that is just too hard to swallow for many living in our “rational age”.

This book may not be for those described above….although I liked the page just before the preface “praise for Stigmatists” by Al Kresta, himself a former skeptic of such manifestations.  He echoed some of our feelings, saying  “When I returned to the Catholic Church, I shied away from purported private revelations, apparitions, relics, stigmatists, and other supernatural and/or preternatural phenomena.    I couldn’t shake the sense that there was a whole lot of gullibility passing as faith.  But to raise questions was to risk being regarded as an unbeliever and a skeptic“.

Note: we think a healthy dose of skepticism is warranted, but also realize the reality of such signs.

This book shows us that these stigmatists were normal, emotionally well-balanced people and not part of some sort of strange fanatical sect. Many, if not most, of them would probably not wish to have the burden of these physical signs.

Many of the stories in this book are well-known stigmatists. We like the fact that is laid out in Chronological order….beginning with Saint Francis of Assisi (1181/1182-1226), Anne Catherine Emmerich (1774-1824) up to the 20th century….. Saint Faustina (1905-1938), Saint Padre Pio (1887-1968) and many others)

The author then takes up to the 20th and 21st centuries in the chapter “STIGMATISTS AMONG US” such as  Alexindra da Costa (1904-1955),  Marthe Robin (1902-1981) and a few who were new to us, such as Blessed ….so we especially enjoyed learning about them.

The book points out that these stigmatists were also visionaries, having experienced visits from saints and even Jesus Christ Himself.  The final chapter summarizes some of the prophetic warnings given to these stigmatists, many of whom were given visions of Hell and told of the coming ‘Three Days of Darkness‘.

This book is well-researched, as you can tell by the credits.  Since this is really a series of short stories, it is great for reading in front of the tabernacle at Adoration, perhaps in bed, or whenever you have a chance for some quiet time in what, for most of us, has become a very busy life.

About the author:Paul G. Kengor is an author and professor of political science at Grove City College and the executive director of Institute for Faith and Freedom, a Grove City College conservative think tank/policy center. He is also a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace.

The book has yet to be released, the release date is September 24, 2024.  You can pre-order it now through the TAN Books website. Once released, you can find it at most major bookstores.

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Vatican approves apparitions of “Rosa Mystica”

According to Vatican News:

Based on new regulations, the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith (DDF) has expressed its positive opinion regarding the devotion to Our Lady of Montichiari (Rosa Mystica) in northern Italy. This approval is conveyed through a letter to Bishop Pierantonio Tremolada, with the endorsement of Pope Francis

Praying at the statue of Rosa Mystica in Montichiari, Italy
Praying at the site of the apparitions of Our Lady of Rosa Mystica

The Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith has stated that it found no elements in the messages disseminated by Pierina Gilli that contradict the teachings of the Catholic Church on faith and morals. This declaration is included in a letter published on July 8, signed by the Prefect of the DDF, Victor Manuel Fernandez, and approved by the Pope. The letter addresses the devotion to Maria Rosa Mystica (‘Mary Mystical Rose’) and the messages that Pierina Gilli claims to have received from the Virgin Mary in 1947 and 1966. The letter highlights the positive aspects of these messages, while also noting some elements that require clarification to prevent misunderstandings.”

For the full report, click here.

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Sister Blessed Marie-Leonie Paradis, founder of the Institute of the Little Sisters of the Holy Family of Sherbrooke, will be declared a saint

Sister Blessed Marie-Leonie Paradis, founder of the Institute of the Little Sisters of the Holy Family of Sherbrooke, will be declared a saint on Oct. 20.

Born Virginie Alodie on May 12, 1840, in L’Acadie, Quebec, Blessed Marie-Leonie founded her institute to collaborate with and support the religious of Holy Cross in educational work, in 1880 in New Brunswick.

Today her sisters work in over 200 institutions of education and evangelization in Canada, the United States, Italy, Brazil, Haiti, Chile, Honduras, and Guatemala.

“She always felt a call to support priests in their ministry”, said Bishop Poitras, and “events led her to found a new community which was recognized in 1896 by the Bishop of Sherbrooke: the Little Sisters of the Holy Family.”

Mother Mary Leonia died on May 3, 1912, in Sherbrooke, Quebec, at the age of 72. She was beatified in Montreal on Sept. 11, 1984, by Saint John Paul II, during his visit to Canada.

Her body lies in Basilica-Cathedral of Saint Michael Cathedral in Sherbrooke, Quebec.

Source: Catholic News Agency

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Book Review: “Eucharistic Saints…Twenty Stories of Devotion to Jesus”

Our book review


Twenty Stories of Devotion to Jesus by Meredith Hinds (illlustrated by Adalee Hude)”

Eucharistic SaintsDirected at young people, this is certainly a book for our time.  Surveys reveal that many Catholic adults no longer believe in the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist, even though that is perhaps one of the most important beliefs of the Catholic faith and what separates us from our protestant brothers and sister (also perhaps, to a somewhat lesser degree, with the Anglicans).  So we are happy to see this book that tell us about the some saints that were devoted to the Eucharist.

These 20 stories help bring the stories of the Eucharist to life…..and, although it aimed at young people, we felt it was just as relevant for adults.  They are hypothetical versions of what might have happened during a Eucharistic Miracle or Miraculous event….and they are believable and the conversations are quite real and enjoyable to read.

As printed, each story stands by itself and if you want to read the background of the event they are listed in the rear of the book.  Our only suggestion for the layout of this book would have been to put each of these factual description in the beginning of each Eucharistic event rather than at the end of the book…..but that is only our opinion and others may prefer the book the way it is laid out.

We noticed that Carlo Acutis was included in the book.  He is Blessed Carlo Acutis today, but it looks like he will soon be Saint Carlo Acutis….the first Saint of the new millenium…. great role model for young people,

There are several saints of which we were not familiar….so it added to our knowledge, which is always a good thing!

We found the illustrations to be beautifully done, and add much to the book  (after all, we live in a visual world).

You can find it at Tan Books.

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Blessed Carlo Acutis one step closer to Sainthood

In a decree released on May 22, 2024, Pope Francis announced he will convene a Consistory of Cardinals to deliberate the canonization of Blessed Carlo Acutis as a result of a miracle recognized on that date.

Pope Francis beatified the millenial in 2020 in Assisi, where Blessed Carlo had made multiple pilgrimages and where his mortal remains rest.

Beatification, when someone is declared “Blessed”, usually requires that the Vatican confirm that a miracle took place as the result of that person interceding with God. To be clear, God performs the miracle, not the intercessor.  Two miracles are required before a “Blessed” can be declared a saint

First Miracle attributed to the intercession of Carlo Acutis:

In 2020, the Vatican recognized Acutis’ first miracle: the curing of a 4-year-old Brazilian boy named Mattheus in 2013. The boy was healed from a serious birth defect called an annular pancreas after he and his mother asked Acutis to intercede asking the Lord to grant a miracle of healing

Second Miracle attributed to the intercession of Carlo Acutis:

The miracle recognized on May 22, 2024 is related to a woman from Costa Rica.

On July 8, 2022,  a woman named Liliana prayed at the tomb of Blessed Carlo Acutis in Assisi asking his intercession for her daughter, Varleria.  Valeria was attending university in Florence, and had fallen from her bicycle,  suffering severe head trauma.  She was going to require craniotomy surgery, and the removal of the right occipital bone to reduce pressure on her brain, with what her doctors said was a very low chance of survival.

Liliana left a letter at the tomb of Blessed Carlo Acutis describing her plea.  That same day, the hospital informed her that Valeria had begun to breath spontaneously. The next day, she began to move and partially regain her speech.

On July 18, a CAT scan proved that her hemorrhaging had disappeared, and on August 11 Valeria was moved to rehabilitation therapy. She made quick progress, and on September 2 Valeria and Liliana made another pilgrimage to Assisi to thank Blessed Carlo for his intercession.

In the decree released on May 23, 2024, Pope Francis announced he will convene a Consistory of Cardinals to deliberate the canonization of Blessed Carlo Acutis.

We look forward to the future Canonization of what many call a “Saint of the New Millenium”

Source: Vatican News Service

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Do you know about foreign transaction fees?

When you travel abroad and use your credit or debit cards, you are probably going to be charged a “Foreign Transaction Fee”.  These can quickly add up if you are not careful.  Here are some interesting statistics.

With summer travel on the horizon, WalletHub today released the results of a nationally representative International Credit Card Survey gauging people’s opinions on various aspects of spending money abroad, along with editors’ picks for the Best International Credit Cards of 2024 and a new Currency Exchange Study that highlights easy ways to save.

Key Findings:

  • Waste of Money: More than 4 in 5 Americans say foreign transaction fees are a rip-off.
  • Foreign Fee Awareness: Nearly 1 in 3 Americans don’t know whether their credit card has a foreign transaction fee.
  • Foreign Fees Lurking Domestically: Nearly 2 in 3 Americans don’t realize foreign transaction fees can apply without foreign travel.
  • International Travel Concerns: 52% of baby boomers say they worry about card loss/theft the most when using their credit cards internationally, while 34% of Millennials are most concerned about foreign transaction fees.
  • Exchange Rate Stunner: 82% of Americans don’t know that using a credit card gets them the best exchange rate when traveling abroad.
  • Savvy Traveler Savings: A no foreign transaction fee credit card saves travelers around 6.5% relative to airport currency exchange services and banks.
  • Best International Credit Cards: Based on a comparison of 1,500+ credit cards, the WalletHub Awards for 2024’s Best International Credit Cards go to the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve®. Both have $0 foreign fees and great travel rewards.

“Most people agree that foreign transaction fees are a rip-off, according to a new WalletHub survey, and that’s without even realizing that foreign fees can apply to orders from the U.S. placed with a foreign merchant. More than 2 in 5 people say they’ve been charged a foreign fee on an online purchase, for example. Despite how common and unpopular foreign fees are, around one-third of us still have no idea whether our credit cards charge foreign fees. Figuring that out before your next trip abroad or major purchase from an international merchant is a must. A credit card with no foreign fee can save you 3% in fees and more than 6% on currency conversion, according to WalletHub’s research.”


The above is brought to you by Wallethub.

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FRANCE (Paris) Annual Paris to Chartres Pilgrimage

The Paris-Chartres Pilgrimage occurs every year on the Saturday before the Feast of Pentecost in early summer, and is a multi-generational, multi-national gathering of Catholics who draw closer to God through the centuries-old act of pilgrimage.

The walk is roughly 62 miles over 3 days—beginning at daybreak on the Saturday before Pentecost, and ending with an afternoon mass on the Monday after Pentecost.

The trek takes 8,000-10,000 pilgrims from the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris (not re-opened yet) through the French countryside to the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Chartres.

Participants brave the weather, blisters, and humble food and accommodations as an act of faith and an act of reparation in these modern times.


Click here for the official Chartres Pilgrimage  website in English.

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Check those gun laws when you travel

A warning for Americans who own guns…or ammunition…. traveling to other countries:

Many countries have much stricter gun control laws than the U.S.  We encourage those of you who own guns…especially hunters..to double check, and triple check your baggage before leaving the country.  Even one overlooked bullet or shotgun shell can cause a great deal of trouble.  And (hopefully) it goes without saying….leave any weapons you own at home.

A warning for Americans traveling to the Turks & Caicos:

The territory of Turks and Caicos has enacted strict new laws, with a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 12 years for carrying guns or ammunition.  Here is an example of how a simple mistake can land someone in prison for a very long time:

Article courtesy of Fox News:

Ryan Watson from Oklahoma is behind bars there and has a bail hearing on April 25. The Oklahoma man was arrested when airport security found bullets in his luggage, which he says he brought by mistake.  He is now facing up to 12 years in prison for having ammunition in his carry-on bag at a Turks and Caicos airport, according to a GoFundMe page for his family.

Ryan and Valerie Watson, the parents of two young children, were flying home from their island vacation, where they were celebrating a friend’s 40th birthday, on April 12 when they were arrested at the airport.

“They had their lives turned upside down when they tried to return home, as local airport security found four rounds of ammunition unknowingly left in a duff[le]bag from a deer hunting trip,” a description on the family’s GoFundMe page states. “It was not noticed by TSA when leaving America. Now, they are facing a legal system that is unfamiliar, daunting, and expensive that operates differently than the American Justice System.”

The U.S. Embassy in the Bahamas issued a travel alert in September 2023 telling Americans not to bring ammunition to the islands.

One tip for U.S. gun owners traveling abroad that we like:

For hunters and shooters in general….have a separate bag for guns and ammunition….and be sure to leave that bag at home! That way you are unlikely to end up in the situation described above.





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The Benedict Trail

Shrine of Our Lady Altotting, GermanyAbout “The Benedict Trail” in Germany:

The Shrine of Altötting (the Black Madonna) in Germany is often called “the Lourdes of Germany” in recognition of the many healings reported there.

The region around Altötting has a pilgrimage riding…or walking…path dubbed “The Benedict Trail”, connecting the places where the late Pope Benedict XVI spent his youth.

It is a circular bicycle path about 150 miles (245 Km) long.

The Benedict Trail begins in Altötting at a small tree outside the Church of Saint Conrad, now known as “the Pope’s Linden Tree”. The tree was planted by Pope John Paul II on his visit to Altötting in 1980.


The Benedict Trail is about 150 miles (240 km) long and starts and ends in Altötting.

It is broken up in to five stages:

Stage 1: Altötting – Neuötting – Marktl – Emmerting – Burghausen
24.1 miles (38.8 km)

Stage 2: Burghausen – Tittmoning- Waging am See
28 miles (45.9 km)

Stage 3: Waging am See – Traunstein – Seebruck
22.3 miles (35.9 km)

Stage 4: Seebruck – Seeon – Gstadt am Chiemsee – Eggstätt – Amerang – Wasserburg am Inn
36.4 miles (58.6 km)

Stage 5: Wasserburg am Inn – Gars am Inn – Aschau am Inn – Mühldorf am Inn – Altötting
41 miles (66.1 km)


Click here for our page describing the shrine at Altötting, Germany.