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Pope Francis declares Mission San Buenaventura a Basilica

The Mission’s website reads:

“With all praise and glory to God, Pope Francis has elevated Mission San Buenaventura to the status of a Minor Basilica, the first basilica in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Archbishop Jose Gomez was notified of this status by a communication from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. Our parish, now titled Mission Basilica San Buenaventura, is the sevneth minor basilica in Alta California and numbers 88th in the United States.”

“We are most grateful to His Holiness, Pope Francis for this honor and to Archbishop Jose Gomez for his unwavering support for this petition. Bishop Robert Barron who also supported this petition, was installed as Episcopal Vicar for the Santa Barbara Pastoral Region in 2015 at our Mission. The formal date for the celebration of this milestone for the people of God in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and all people of good will in the City of San Buenaventura and the County of Ventura is pending.”

Here is the official website for the Mission San Buenventura Basilica

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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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Youth Festival in Medjugorje is NOT CANCELLED

The International Prayer Encounter of the Youth -(Youth Festival) is an annual event held in Medjugorje  each year that attracts upwards of 100,000 young people.  Scheduled for August 1-6, it was cancelled and now is back on.

The theme of this year’s prayer encounter is “Come, and you will see“ (John 1, 39).

It will be much different from the Youth Festivals of the past due, of course, to the Covid-19 epidemic.  ….Many programs of the international spiritual retreats have been cancelled

Most of the program from Medjugorje is being now sent to the world via electronic media so that people can tune in from wherever they might be.  This year’s Youth Festival will be live streamed online. Depending on the development of virus, all gatherings would be according to the instructions of the institutions in charge.

Let us continue to be united in the same spirit in the school of Our Lady and let us rejoice that we would be connected together in Medjugorje, both in our hearts and in our spirit.

There will be challenges, especially regarding visitors from the U.S.A.  Certain restrictions by the European Union are limiting…and almost forbidding…entrance to the E.U.  See our blog post here.

There are some loopholes, so if you are traveling with a group check to see what arrangements have been made.

You can visit the official website for the Youth Festival here.

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European Travel Ban hits U.S. travelers hard

Effective July 1, all non-essential travel from the U.S.A. to the European Union’s 27 member states has been banned.  There are only a few exceptions, and these will probably not apply to you.

Note that the ban is based on residency……not citizenship. Someone arriving from the U.S., who is a citizen or resident in the EU–or in one of the countries listed below, can enter.

Also banned are residents of Brazil, Russia and India.

 

 

The following 27 countries are members of the European Union:

Austria
Belgium
Bulgaria
Croatia
Cyprus
Czechia
Denmark
Estonia
Finland
France
Germany
Greece
Hungary
Ireland
Italy
Latvia
Lithuania
Luxembourg
Malta
Netherlands
Poland
Portugal
Romania
Slovakia
Slovenia
Spain
Sweden

 

Residents of the following countries that are not members of the E.U. are allowed entry:

Algeria
Australia
Canada
Georgia
Japan
Montenegro
Morocco
New Zealand
Rwanda
Serbia
South Korea
Thailand
Tunisia
Uruguay
China (subject to confirmation of reciprocity)

Just to add to the confusion, each country will determine its own specific way of enforcing the ban.  It is not known how long this ban will be in effect, but obviously it will spoil most travel plans for the summer and probably in to the fall.

And, as usual, everything keeps changing, so we will do our best to keep you updated.

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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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Miracle Approved….Carlo Acutis one step closer to Sainthood

According to the Vatican News Service, on February 21, 2020, Pope Francis received His Most Reverend Eminence Cardinal Angelo Becciu, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

During the audience, the Supreme Pontiff authorized the same Congregation to promulgate the Decrees concerning a miracle attributed to the intercession of the Venerable Carlo Acutis.  This young man, who died at age 15 had an amazing devotion to the Eucharist and detailed Eucharistic Miracles throughout the world.  He is buried in Assisi.

The miracle involved the healing of a Brazilian child suffering from a rare congenital anatomic anomaly of the pancreas in 2013. The Medical Council of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes gave a positive opinion of the miracle in November 2019.

With Pope Francis’ approval of the miracle, Carlo Acutis can now be beatified (declared Blessed)…one step closer to Sainthood.

The Beatification took place  on October 10, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. in Assisi where his tomb is located.

You can read more about him here.

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Ever Hear of a “Tenner Rosary” ?

History of the Tenner Rosary:

It is a long and tragic story, but during the period from about 1537 to 1714, persecution of Catholics in Ireland (and elsewhere in Great Britain) became government policy.  Catholic clergy in Ireland were expelled, and those who did not leave were forced into hiding.  If found, they were subject to instant execution. As a result, the priests had to be hidden in private homes (sometimes in a “priest hole”) and Mass had to be held in secret…sometimes in the countryside on “Mass Rocks” as well as privately in homes.

All Catholic items were forbidden including statues, stained glass windows and even possession of a rosary was illegal.

There were many martyrs during this period: 17 of whom were beatified in 1992, including Thomas Beckett.

 

The Tenner Rosary:

Tenner Rosaries
Find Tenner Rosaries in our store

The faith was kept alive, of course, and many were able to practice private devotions without any penalties.  For those wishing to have a rosary, a “tenner rosary” was the perfect choice:  it was easy to hide so that if someone unknown to you were to approach, it could be quickly tucked away.  Tenner rosaries have a crucifix, the Our Father and 10 rosary beads.

Of course, those times are in the past, but sometimes it is convenient to carry a small rosary rather than one with all five decades, especially when traveling.  And in the time of the Corona Virus, the more rosaries you say the better, in our opinion.

You can find a great selection of Tenner Rosaries here in our store.

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Depression, Suicide & Saint Dymphna in the age of Coronavirus

The Suicide of actor Robin Williams in 2014 made headlines around the world. Perhaps it is because, as a comedian, he always seemed to be “up” and ready to laugh.  Plus, he seemed to have all that the modern world tells us we should want:  Fame, Wealth, Acclaim.

So it is surprising to those who did not know about his inner conflict, that he suffered from depression and ended up taking his own life.

But Robin Williams was not alone:  countless people suffer silently from depression.  Although some might wish to call it a character flaw, it is actually a disease that afflicts many regardless of class or wealth.

Now that we are dealing with the coronavirus pandemic with its isolation and fear, suicide is becoming a concern among many and there are reports of people becoming so depressed that they take their own lives.

As we know, good can often come out of the bad that happens. In this case, due to the enormous amount of publicity  surrounding the suicide of Robin Williams; it will hopefully create more awareness of depression, its signs and treatment.  Often times those with depression feel sadness, shame, and helplessness. As a result they are reluctant to move forward and ask for help. And those around them may not be looking for the signs of depression that could help avert tragedy.

Did you know that Saint Dymphna is a little-known  saint who is invoked in cases of mental health issues?  Her name is  not familiar to many, yet countless miracles have been attributed to her intercession.

Her shrine is in Belgium and there is also a National Shrine of Saint Dymphna in the U.S. in Massillon, Ohio (check this page for more information on Saint Dymphna).

The Feast Day of Saint Dymphna is celebrated on May 15.

You find a great assortment of Saint Dymphna prayer cards and more here.

 

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Rome is gradually opening up

Slowly, Rome is opening back up!!

It has been a surreal experience for those living in Rome these past few months:  no throngs of tourists, no lines to get in to Saint Peter’s or the Vatican Museums, no public Masses….something most of us never thought we would see.  Fortunately, the city has begun to relax its restrictions, which is good news for those who live there….but also for those who wish to visit “The Eternal City”.

Public Masses:  The Italian government had banned attendance at Masses in early March, part of its prohibition on gatherings as it sought to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Most of Italy’s churches have remained open during the pandemic, but only for individual prayer.  Public Masses can resume on May 18, but under strict conditions outlined in a protocol signed by Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti, president of the Italian Bishops Conference.

Each pastor will determine the maximum number of people who can fit in a church while staying at least a 3 feet apart.

If necessary, additional Masses can be held, rather than allowing more people into the church for one service, the protocol says.

The faithful will have to wear masks in church. Priests can celebrate most of the Mass without masks but they will have to wear one, as well as gloves, when they distribute Holy Communion.

For now, choirs are not allowed and holy water fonts will remain dry.

 

The Vatican Museums:  The Vatican Museums, which have been closed since March 9,  will soon be reopened to the public, while following the safety guidelines prescribed by Italian and Vatican health officials. They will be accessible only by reservation, and no large groups will be admitted at this time..

The museum is installing thermoscanners for temperature readings of all visitors, so obviously your temperature will have to be normal.

It’s not ideal, but at least it is a step in the right direction, and it is welcome news to those who plan to travel to Rome this summer and fall……and welcome news for the tour companies that will take them there.