The Litany of St. Joseph

Lord, have mercy on us Christ, have mercy on us.

Lord, have mercy on us.

Jesus, hear us, Jesus, graciously hear us.

God the Father of heaven, have mercy on us.

God the Son, Redeemer of the World, have mercy on us.

God the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.

Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.

Holy Mary, pray for us.

St. Joseph, pray for us.

Renowned offspring of David, pray for us.

Light of Patriarchs, pray for us.

Spouse of the Mother of God, pray for us.

Chaste guardian of the Virgin, pray for us.

Foster father of the Son of God, pray for us.

Diligent protector of Christ, pray for us.

Head of the Holy Family, pray for us.

Joseph most just, pray for us.

Joseph most chaste, pray for us.

Joseph most prudent, pray for us.

Joseph most strong, pray for us.

Joseph most obedient, pray for us.

Joseph most faithful, pray for us.

Mirror of patience, pray for us.

Lover of poverty, pray for us.

Model of artisans, pray for us.

Glory of home life, pray for us.

Guardian of virgins, pray for us.

Pillar of families, pray for us.

Solace of the wretched, pray for us.

Hope of the sick, pray for us.

Patron of the dying, pray for us.

Terror of demons, pray for us.

Protector of Holy Church, pray for us.

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, spare us, O Jesus.

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Jesus.

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us, O Jesus.

He made him the lord of his household And prince over all his possessions.

Let us pray: O God, in your ineffable providence you were pleased to choose Blessed Joseph to be the spouse of your most holy Mother; grant, we beg you, that we may be worthy to have him for our intercessor in heaven whom on earth we venerate as our Protector: You who live and reign forever and ever.

Saint Joseph, pray for us.

2021, Year of St. Joseph

On December 8, 2020 Pope Francis declared this liturgical to be the year of St. Joseph.  It is an inspiration of the Holy Spirit to do so.  As we muddle through social and political struggles that carry over from Covid-2020, we are very aware of the workings of the demons.  Who is the ‘Terror of Demons’?  It is one of the titles of St. Joseph.  Joseph: the silent, poor, humble carpenter that Our Lord chose to be His foster-father and virginal spouse of Our Lady.  This strong man was the protector of the Holy Family.  He was given the title Protector of the Church by Pope Pius IX in 1870 as secular forces sought to kill the pope in Rome. 

Perhaps, every one of us can make a new year’s resolution to become more devoted to St. Joseph in 2021.  There are many prayers that invoke his powerful intercession – his litany is particularly beautiful.  St. Teresa of Avila, the great Carmelite mystic, said Joseph never failed her.  Mother (St.) Teresa of Calcutta often went to Joseph for various needs.

To get to know St. Joseph in a deeper way this year, not only are prayers important, but reading the insights of the saints can be helpful.  One book that has summarized prayers and insights of St. Joseph is by Fr. Don Calloway.  The book is entitled, Consecration To St. Joseph.  It is designed to be used within a thirty day preparation for consecration to St. Joseph.

The one human person who loved Jesus and Mary more than any other is St. Joseph.  As he protected the God-man and His Mother, Joseph will do the same for us this year.  We just need to do as he did and love Jesus and Mary daily!

God bless

FRVW

Epiphany

There is a conflict between Faith and Science!  Really?  Not from the angle of Faith, namely the Catholic Faith.  The Catholic Faith has no fear of science.  Why are people of science fearful of the Faith?  Ah, some will say they are not afraid of Faith.  Why not present the whole truth, history between Faith and Science then?!  Perhaps, it would be good for us to consider just a few points.

God is the creator of the spiritual and physical world.  As people of faith, there is no worry that science will discredit and/or contradict God’s existence and all His tenets.  Why should there be any conflict between the spiritual and physical world if they have the same Author?

If one does not admit God’s existence, how did matter that breaks down and vanishes exist?  The ‘pure’ evolutionist will say it was some sort of release of energy – call it a ‘Big Bang’ – that brought matter into existence and started evolution.  Hmmm.  There’s a problem rooted in the faith of the evolutionist.  Yes, I said ‘faith of the evolutionist.’  What caused the Big Bang if not a Being that exists outside of it and is not dependent any other power for existence?  What caused that release of energy?  Where did the initial matter come from that blew up?  It did not get there on its own!  Again, something outside of the material world had to have created it.  In both cases the evolutionist has faith, belief without seeing, because he believes in these things without proof!  Every evolutionist has faith, just a blind faith.  (We should not forget that the author of the Big Bang Theory was a Catholic priest, Fr. Georges Lemaitre.   He attempted to show that God could have created the universe using a Big Bang!)

But, the Catholic Church has been anti-science!  It silenced Galileo when he taught the truth of the solar system revolving around the sun rather than the earth.  Yes, there were some clerics who overreached their bounds with Galileo.  But, was it because of the subject of his teaching?  Let’s not forget who Galileo followed in his thought of a heliocentric solar system.  Copernicus taught the same roughly a century before Galileo.   He was not disciplined by the Catholic Church.  Actually, do you Copernicus’ full name?  Nicholas Copernicus.  Father Nicholas Copernicus was a Catholic priest!

For those of you who are Star Trek devotees, what is the name of the captain in the ‘Next Generation’ Star Trek?  Jean Picard?  Fictional?  He is not a fictional character totally.  He was a Catholic priest in the 1600s who developed the standard method for measuring the right ascension of a celestial object.  The ‘Picard’ mission, an orbiting solar observatory, was named after him.  Coincidence?

There have been thousands of faithful Catholics who have contributed to and been involved in science throughout the centuries.  It is dishonest and ignorant to claim otherwise.  Today, as we remember the Three Wise Men whose study of the stars led them to Jesus, God, may we be led to Jesus by our study of science.

God bless FRVW

Feast of the Holy Family

On behalf of all the priests we hope that everyone is having a holy and joyful Christmas! Recall, Christmas is not just the celebration of the Birth of Jesus Christ for one day. It is eight day celebration of Jesus’ Birth and the God-man’s presence in the world!

What is God’s definition of a successful family? It would be the family of which the Son of God was a part, The Holy Family. The key to a successful family is holiness – godliness. The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph was poor and unnoticed by the ‘powerful’ of their time. Yet, they were the most influential family in all of history! Why? The Holy Family was rooted in God and doing His Will.

How important are truly successful – holy – families to the world? The Son of God chose to be a part of a family. God’s example always teaches us what is best. He chose to have a mother and father on earth. He did not come as an individual, but as a part of a community of persons –similar to the Community of Persons in the Blessed Trinity. The family is the MOST important entity to society according to the example of Jesus Christ! Future husbands/fathers and wives/mothers are raised in a family. Future consecrated men and women learn to give of themselves first in the family before they give themselves to God. Single men and women learn to give of themselves selflessly first in the family. Does Our Lord provide when tragic events separate families? Yes. However, the family is the root for love and society.

On today’s Feast of the Holy Family it is good for us to ponder the home, the life of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. We see the focus on Jesus, God. We see sacrificial love between Mary and Joseph. We see respect and obedience in the Christ Child. We see a family that lived and interacted much each day – the holy house of Nazareth is only ONE ROOM. We see joy and humility. There is so much for us to ponder and learn from Jesus, Mary and Joseph!

May our families resemble the Holy Family. May they truly be holy families that we may truly be successful!

God bless

FRVW

Hope from the 1500’s

Every few years I have the opportunity to teach high schoolers about one of the most critical centuries in human history, the 16th century. If you were alive in 1500 in Europe, you could go to any country in Europe and find Mass. ALL of Christian Europe was Catholic. It must have been a unique landscape in which to live.

1517 saw Martin Luther, a disgruntled Augustinian monk, begin his break with the Church and lead thousands upon thousands out of the Church. One of the key dates in the 1500s is 1521. When faced with German princes and the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, Luther refused to recant. He was protected by a few German princes which led to the separation in Christendom which we still experience.

To be a regular Catholic, it must have seemed as one’s world was being upended and torn apart. Perhaps, people asked where God was. How many in leadership, including leadership in the Church, seemed to have failed to protect the spiritual, moral and physical well-being of the human person.

And, yet, 1521 was an incredible year for the Catholic Church! 1521 saw the victory of Cortes over the human-sacrifice-centered Aztec empire in the New World. His victory paved the way for Our Lady to visit a humble convert in 1531 in Mexico City. December 12, 1531 the Mother of God left her image on the tilma of St. Juan Diego. Our Lady of Guadalupe would be the instrument of NINE MILLION conversions to Catholicism in the next ten years!

1521 also saw the conversion of a non-practicing Catholic soldier, Inigo Lopez. After an injury in a battle, he read the lives of Jesus Christ and the saints. He asked himself, ‘What if I were to do the same as Dominic and Francis?’ He consecrated his life to Our Lord. With six other men, two of which he was instrumental in their conversions, he founded the Society of Jesus, or the Jesuits. We know him as St. Ignatius of Loyola. Within one century Jesuits were converting and re-converting all over the globe! Consider that Jesuits went to the Far East; offered the sacraments in England when illegal to do so; were in Florida, Maryland, New York and other colonies in the New World; were in South America; etc.

May we always have a hope and trust in Our Lord that He is working in ways that we cannot see – in ourselves and in others! How He was active in Our Lady before His Birth!

God bless

FRVW

Poor Souls Month

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The month of November is dedicated to the ‘Poor Souls’.  Sometimes people see Purgatory as something negative, but it is far from it.  It is a place of God’s mercy and justice that is alluded to in the Scriptures.  November is the month when, in a particular way, we remember and pray for the souls in Purgatory.  November 1st is All Saints’ Day wherein we honor those in heaven.  November 2nd is All Souls’ Day when we remember and pray for those in Purgatory.  Nov. 2 begins a month-long prayer for the souls in Purgatory.

Purgatory is a place to which souls go after death to be purified of venial sins and atone for repented mortal/serious sins. (Not to be confused with marriage as one little boy did!) (We should recall that those in hell are not sorry for mortal sins.)  Those in Purgatory will go to heaven one day.  Purgatory will cease to exist at the end of this world.  A good priest I know of often says that he will turn out the lights in Purgatory!

2 Maccabees 12 recounts the story of Judas Maccabeus praying for his fallen comrades in arms.  The book, which is the Word of God, goes on to say that it was a holy and pious thought to pray for the dead.  Now, if there is only heaven and hell, how can it be a holy and pious thought to pray for the dead?  If there is no Purgatory, it is useless to pray for anyone after they die.  It is not holy and pious, but foolish.  Why?  Those in heaven are already in heaven, no prayers add to their heavenly glory.  Those in hell have chosen hell no prayers can change their condemnation.  Therefore, there must be a place where people can go wherein prayers can help them get to heaven.  This place the Church has called Purgatory.  It should not upset us that the word itself is not in the Scriptures; the teaching is clearly there.  The understanding is similar to that of  the Trinity which is clearly taught by Jesus without mentioning the word, ‘Trinity’.  The Church created the word, ‘Trinity,’ for the truth of the Triune God.

Our Lord Himself alludes to Purgatory in Matthew 12: 32 when He speaks of sins that can be forgiven in the next life, “And whoever says a word against the Son of man will be forgiven; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.”  There is no sin in heaven and sins are not forgiven in hell.  Therefore, there must be a place where sins can be forgiven.

Our prayers can help those in Purgatory to be purified so they can attain heaven sooner than if no prayers were offered.  This is why we have Masses offered for the dead throughout the year.  It is also good to keep in mind the deepest soul in Purgatory and the one who has no one to pray for him.

God bless

FRVW

Voting 2020

In just a few weeks, Americans will again have the opportunity to elect various government officials.  Our Founding Fathers were not perfect.  That said, when they founded this Democratic Republic, they established an incredible system wherein every person would have an equal vote to elect representatives to govern the country.

As Catholics, our Faith, established by Almighty God in Jesus Christ, is our guide as how to apply moral principles so as to cast a vote which is a good action rather than a bad action.  Voting is a moral action: it is either virtuous or sinful.  Some would say the Church should stay out of politics.  True and false.  When priests in various countries have tried to run for politics, the Church has told them to choose the priesthood or politics.  That said, the Church as the Moral Teacher in the world, must address and judge policies that various candidates may espouse.  What of a society that ceases to incorporate principles of Natural Law and Christian charity?  If no one has a right to life; a right to religious liberty; a right to private property?  How long can it endure?

In 2012 Pope Benedict XVI wrote a document entitled, ‘Sacramentum Caritatis’ wherein he explained there are Three Non-Negotiables that a Catholic may never compromise:

Sanctity of Life
Sanctity of Marriage
Religious Liberty

At times people wish to confuse issues related to life as all equal.  Some may say immigration, the death penalty, abortion and euthanasia are equal.  They are not.  Abortion and euthanasia are inherently evil; they can NEVER be good or allowed.  They are the deliberate killing of an innocent human being.  As a Catholic, one may never support abortion

Marriage between a man and a woman is an absolute, objective good as God established it.  So called ‘same-sex marriage’ is inherently wrong; no child can come forth from it.  You will notice that not too long ago we were told to ‘tolerate’ others’ choices.  Do they tolerate ours now?  Will they?

Religious Liberty is an absolute that may never be compromised.  Whether to live out one’s beliefs without harassment in business or in attendance at Mass, religious liberty is innate to the human person.  There are those running for public office who would require Catholic institutions to pay for abortifacient drugs for employees.

The pre-eminent issue, of course, is abortion and the right to life upon which all other rights are built.  What is a candidate’s voting record on abortion?  Even if a candidate says he/she cares about the sanctity of human life, what has been his/her actions?  One may even say he/she is a faithful Catholic.  Has he/she supported abortion?  Facts are facts.  One can easily find the answers from faithful Catholic entities – for example, National Catholic Register.  One can also just read each party’s platform.

May we vote as Catholics this year who are faithful to Jesus Christ in all elements of our lives.

God bless

FRVW

Welcome to Holy Trinity Fr. Bork!

Welcome to Holy Trinity Father Vincent Bork!

Fr. Bork is coming to us from St. Rita Church in Alexandria. Fr. Bork was born in Evansville, Indiana, graduated from Notre Dame University and then earned a doctorate in physics from Washington University in St. Louis. He taught at Christendom College in Front Royal before entering Mount St. Mary Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland.

 After his ordination to the priesthood in 1995, he served as parochial vicar of St. Michael Church in Annandale as his first assignment as a priest. He has spent the last twenty-five years at many parishes all around the diocese and we are excited to welcome him to Holy Trinity as parochial vicar.

                 Please be sure to say hello and give him a warm welcome!

Revolution and Our Lady of Fatima

1917 saw one of the bloodiest revolutions in history: the Communist Revolution in Russia. That said, communism has never limited itself to Russia. When Pope Pius XI condemned communism in the 1930s, he wrote the encyclical in Latin – for the whole world (as opposed to the two encyclicals condemning Fascism in Italy and Nazism in Germany were written in Italian and German respectively).

1917 also witnessed the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary to three poor shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal. On July 13, 1917 Our Lady showed the children Hell. She also spoke to them of the sins and offenses against her Son that had caused World War I and would possibly lead to another war if mankind did not repent of its offenses against Jesus. To avoid impending suffering, Our Lady asked the children to spread the following message (which is relevant today):

Mary said, “To prevent this I come to ask the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart and the Communion of reparation on the First Saturdays. If they listen to my requests, Russia will be converted and there will be peace. If not she will scatter her errors through the world, provoking wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyrized, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated. In the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and it will be converted and a certain period of peace will be granted to the world.” (The First Saturday Communion of reparation is to receive Holy Communion on the first Saturday of each month in reparation for sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.)

In other apparitions Blessed Mother asked the children to pray the Rosary for the conversion of poor sinners.

Our Lady’s promise has come true as in 1984 St. John Paul II consecrated Russia to Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart. It was soon thereafter that communism in Eastern Europe fell, beginning in Poland. The Catholic Faith is free in most of the former ‘Eastern Bloc’. Communism also fell as a political party in Russia, though there are many ‘former communists’ in power. The Catholic Faith is ‘mostly free’ to operate in Russia today.

Was there bloodshed in this Revolution of Our Lady? The Fall of Communism in Eastern Europe was, for the most part, a bloodless revolution led by Our Lady

Herself through Pope St. John Paul II. It was this pope who consecrated himself to Our Lady as a 20 year old. He loved to pray the Rosary daily. He was miraculously spared by an assassin’s bullet on May 13, 1981 – the anniversary of the first apparition of Fatima. It was this saint who was ordained a priest in secret during the communist rule of Poland. He consecrated his papacy to Our Lady. He it was who led this revolution through the Rosary, his courageous teaching and courageous action.

In the midst of an attempt to a social revolution in our country to socialism and a removal of a government ‘by the people’, may we follow Our Lady’s words to pray the Rosary daily and make sacrifices for the conversion of sinners and peace! May we learn from St. John Paul II to use the weapon of Truth in action to shine on the errors of darkness that seek acceptance of immorality as well as limit our freedoms, especially our religious liberty!

God bless

FRVW

Revolution and Education

How does a revolution occur?  What is a revolution?!  Deus Vult was the rallying cry of Catholic crusaders in the 1200s.  It means God Wills It!  Re-volt then is a turning away from someone, some power, etc.

Most of us have studied in our basic high school history classes about the bloody, violent revolutions in France from 1789-1794 – 1000s and 1000s lost their lives, many of whom were priests and nuns; Or, the communists in Russia in 1917 (and following years) – millions lost their lives; Or, the communists in China in 1948 (and following years) – tens of millions lost their lives.

There are other ways to bring about revolution.  One effective way is through education – either for the truth or against the truth.  I will come back to the Truth.  Indoctrination through education is essential to any revolution.  (Hence, the need in every revolution against Truth to stop all Catholic education.)  The above revolutions would not have amounted to much, particularly the communists, if they had not indoctrinated their youth.  How?  There are a few basic agenda items:

~ Remove God and any objective moral authority (as well as those who would teach such)

~ Remove/rewrite history and the errors of history

~ Remove parents from teaching their children

~ Teach the youth a new (and false) ‘religion/way,’ ‘truth,’ and ‘life’

Can we see similar actions in our country?

~ Has God been removed from our school systems?  Is there any objective moral authority – i.e. Natural Law – taught as a basis for moral decisions?  Locally, it is the state department of education.  Fairfax County’s gender confusion education is permitted within the Va. Dept. of Education.

~ Is there a slant in teaching subjects, particularly history, against Christianity – i.e. oversight of persecutions in Mexico (1920s), Russia (1920s-1980s), Eastern Europe (1940s-1980s), China (1950s-present), care for European Jews in World War II by the Catholic Church, etc?

~ How many of our parents are given textbooks to peruse – especially regarding family life education?  In the social engineering education in Virginia, do parents have the right to opt their kids out of gender indoctrination classes?  How many parents are seen as the primary, original and irreplaceable teachers of their children – as St. John Paul II taught so clearly?

~ What are our youth being taught?  There are no absolute truths, except perhaps in math – forget science if you can now define whether you are male or female!  God is irrelevant – if He even exists.  You can decide what is the ‘truth’ for you.  You can decide how to live your life based on your definition of truth.  EXCEPT, if your Truth – Christian morality – is deemed ‘unloving’ and ‘bigoted’ by the established rulers – could be political, educational, entertainment, etc. – you are not allowed to hold these or live according to them!

If we do not recognize these shifts, we are behind the curve by about 40 years.  The non-Christian movers in education (and entertainment) have been at work for well over 40 years to bring about a social revolution.  We could add the political.  But, the political will only last if people’s beliefs and morals have been effectively changed.

Are there good Christian people in education? Yes.  But, presently their voices – if raised – are not being heard.  How crucial it is for every family to re-commit to learning, teaching and living the Truths of Jesus Christ!  He it is Who is the Way, the Truth and the Life!  He it is Who reveals to man what it is to be man!  He it is Who has promised ‘the Truth will set you free’!

More on how the Truth, Jesus Christ, has brought about true, peaceful revolutions in recent memory – and will in the future.

God bless

FRVW