Sunday, May 31, 2015

Holy Trinity

On this feast of the Holy Trinity, may I suggest a practical prayer that we can all do every night so that the Holy Trinity may become an important part of our lives. So, as an examination of conscience, every night before you get to bed, take 3 minutes or even one minute divided into 20 seconds. In the first minute, think of a positive event that happened to you during the day, maybe a good news you received, a good deed you accomplished, and thank God the Father for it. In the second minute, think of a negative thing that you experienced, maybe a conflict, an argument or quarrel with someone else, and ask God the Son, Jesus, to forgive you for it. Then during the last minute, think of something you have to do tomorrow, maybe an important decision you have to make, talking to another person on an important issue, and talk to God the Holy Spirit while asking for guidance and inspiration. Simple, yet an effective way to feel connected with the Trinity.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Pope Francis recent Tweets

These are some of the most recent Tweets that Pope Francis sends on his Twitter account:
 - Christians are witnesses not to a theory, but to a Person: Christ risen and alive, the one Savior of all.
 - We can observe the Fourth Commandment by loving visits to our aging grandparents.
 - Let us invoke the Holy Spirit each day: He guides us along the path of discipleship in Christ. 
 - Lord, send forth your Holy Spirit to bring consolation and strength to persecuted Christians.
  - There are times when God is silent, a silence which cannot be understood unless we gaze upon Christ crucified. 
- God is always waiting for us, he always understands us, he always forgives us. 
 - It is better to have a Church that is wounded but out in the streets than a Church that is sick because it is closed in on itself. 
 - Dear parents, have great patience, and forgive from the depths of your heart. 
 - Why is it so difficult to tolerate the faults of others?  Have we forgotten that Jesus bore our sins? 
 - Let us learn to live with kindness, to love everyone, even when they do not love us. 
 - When we cannot earn our own bread, we lose our dignity.  This is a tragedy today, especially for the young.
  - It is good for us to spend time before the Tabernacle, to feel the gaze of Jesus upon us. 
 - The love of Christ fills our hearts and makes us always able to forgive!

Friday, May 29, 2015

A Prayer for Today

Heavenly Father, walk with me today, and grant that I may hear your footsteps and see your footprints, and gladly follow where they may lead me. Talk with me today, and grant that I may hear Your tender voice, and listen to Your advice. 
Help me to feel Your presence in all the projects that I accomplish, in all the words that I say and in all the thoughts that cross my mind. Be my strength when I seem to weaken, and my courage when I start to be afraid. 
Help me to know that it is Your hand holding mine throughout all the minutes of all the hours of this day. And when night falls, grant that I may know that I am gathered to Your Sacred Heart to sleep in love and peace. AMEN.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Flashback from 40 years ago

Occasionally I try to go back in time and see how things have changed for me, and the world around us. 40 years ago I was still in the Major Seminary in Malta, studying for the priesthood with another 13 classmates, to be ordained two years later. These two photos were taken during the ceremony when I received the Orders of Lectorate and Acolyte. This allowed me to distribute communion and help around the altar during Mass, besides reading officially during Mass. 
Presently in our Diocese Acolytes are very popular and they help us very well during every Mass. Obviously you can see that my hair was thinning out, soon to disappear completely, at least from the top of my head.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015


The biggest harbor in Malta is known as the Grand Harbor. It was the scene of a Great Siege the Knights of Malta fought against the Turks and the Ottoman Empire in 1565. It was the scene of many battleships coming into Malta during World War II, the most important among them the SS Ohio, part of the Operation Pedestal, which brought food, relief and salvation to many thousands of people starving on August 15, 1942, including my own parents, still teenagers at that time. Many US aircraft-carriers have berthed in the harbor, but today it is the scene of scores of cruise-liners coming in every day with tourists, arriving in the early morning and leaving in the late evening. 
These photos taken over the past few years during my visits to Malta show various cruise-liners berthing at the shore, while tourists are either basking in the warm sun near the pool on deck, or walking around Valletta, the capital, visiting churches and museums, or simply shopping for the many tempting souvenirs. Three families from my parishioners will be visiting Malta on these cruise-liners, the Sweeneys, on their way soon, and the Gralls and Goffs, heading there in the fall.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Saint Philip Neri

St  Philip Neri (1515-1595)
If one had to choose one saint who showed the humorous side of holiness that would be St. Philip Neri. Born in 1515 in Florence, he showed the impulsiveness and spontaneity of his character from the time he was a boy. His father was not successful financially and at eighteen Philip was sent to work with an older cousin who was a successful businessman. During this time, Philip found a favorite place to pray up in cave on a mountain that had been turned into a chapel. He then went to Rome in 1533 where he studied  philosophy and theology until he thought his studies were interfering with his prayer life. He then stopped his studies, threw away his books, and lived as a kind of hermit.
Night was his special time of prayer. After dark he would go out in the streets, sometimes to churches, but most often into the catacombs of St. Sebastiano to pray. He felt so filled with energy to serve God that he went out to work at the hospital of the incurables and starting speaking to others about God, everyone from beggars to bankers.
In 1548 Philip formed a confraternity with other laymen to minister to pilgrims who came to Rome without food or shelter. The spiritual director of the confraternity convinced Philip that he could do even more work as a priest. After receiving instruction from this priest, Philip was ordained in 1551.
At his new home, the church of San Girolamo, he learned to love to hear confessions. Young men especially found in him the wisdom and direction they needed to grow spiritually. But Philip began to realize that these young men needed something more than absolution; they needed guidance during their daily lives. So Philip began to ask the young men to come by in the early afternoon when they would discuss spiritual readings and then stay for prayer in the evening. The numbers of the men who attended these meetings grew rapidly. In order to handle the growth, Philip and a fellow priest built a room called the Oratory to hold them in.
Philip understood that it wasn't enough to tell young people not to do something -- you had to give them something to do in its place. So at Carnival time, when the worst excesses were encouraged, Philip organized a pilgrimage to the Seven Churches with a picnic accompanied by instrumental music for the mid-day break. After walking twelve miles in one day everyone was too tired to be tempted!

The altar where the body of St Philip Neri is preserved, with a painting by Guido Reni
In 1555, the Pope's Vicar accused Philip of "introducing novelties" and ordered him to stop the meetings of the Oratory. Philip was brokenhearted but obeyed immediately. The Pope only let him start up the Oratory again after the sudden death of his accuser. Eventually Philip decided it would be best for the group to have their own church. They became officially known as the Congregation of the Oratory, made up of secular priests and clerics. Philip was known to be spontaneous and unpredictable, charming and humorous. One of his men was Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina who wrote beautiful harmonic choral music and Masses.
Humility was the most important virtue he tried to teach others and to learn himself. Philip died in 1595 after a long illness at the age of eighty years. This prayer is a fitting conclusion to this brief biography of this happy joy-filled saint: Saint Philip Neri, we take ourselves far too seriously most of the time. Help us to add humor to our perspective - remembering always that humor is a gift from God.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day

Memorial Day marks the informal start of summer—pools open, the barbecue season kicks off, and it’s OK to wear white shoes or sandals. But it has a more solemn aspect, implied in the name itself. Memorial Day is a day when we remember the nation's war dead. Not to be confused with Veterans Day—which honors living veterans—Memorial Day remembers those who gave their life for the country. How did this day begin? In 1868, Memorial Day was observed for the first time in the United States, at the request of Gen. John A. Logan, the national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic. It was called Decoration Day because the general had seen women decorating graves of Civil War heroes. In the earlier part of the century, Memorial Day was essentially a Northern and Western holiday. The South had its own Confederate Memorial Day, usually held in April. But World Wars I and II brought an added gravity to the day, as did the later Korean and Vietnam conflicts. In 1959, Congress proclaimed that a day be set aside in recognition of those who died in service to their country. Memorial Day was observed on May 30 until 1971, when Congress decreed that it be observed annually on the last Monday in May.
Most importantly, let us remember those widows and orphans who lost their spouses, parents and loved ones who have only memories of their heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice. In their name I offer this prayer:

Eternal God, Creator of years, of centuries, Lord of whatever is beyond time,
Maker of all species and master of all history --
How shall we speak to you from our smallness and inconsequence?
Except that you have called us to worship you in spirit and in truth;
You have lifted us up with your loving kindnesses.
Therefore we are bold to come before you without fear (thought we are often anxious).
We sing with spirit and pray with courage because you have dignified us;
You have redeemed us from the aimlessness of things' going meaninglessly well.
God, lift the hearts of those for whom this holiday is not just diversion,
but painful memory and continued deprivation.
Bless those whose dear ones have died needlessly, wastefully in accident or misadventure.
We remember with compassion those who have died serving their countries in the futility of combat.
We believe that you will provide for us as others have been provided with the fulfillment of
"Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted."

Sunday, May 24, 2015


1958 stained-glass window at the Baker City Cathedral
Holy Spirit, fill our leisure time with newness.
Fill the long watches of days off and weekends 

with a new way of life for which there is no pay.
Fill up these weekends with
- new things not yet thought,
- new sights not yet seen,
- new people not yet met or visited,
- new deeds not yet accomplished,
- new sounds not yet heard,
- and new places not yet walked.
Fill the long nights with a new style of living, a new kind of caring.

Fill our emptiness with new people whom we have not yet touched or visited,
- roads we have not yet driven,
- hopes we have not yet had,
- news we have not known,
- help we have not yet given,
Make our hours full - and our life long.
Come Holy Spirit, come, and change our world,
so that we can change the world and others too.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Blessed Oscar Romero

Blessed Oscar Romero (15 August 1917 – 24 March 1980)
Something is happening in El Salvador today, May 23, 2015. Not just the usual rampant violence in this nation which has one of the world’s highest murder rates. But a celebration for this majority Christian nation: the beatification ceremony of one of its sons, Archbishop Oscar Romero. The ceremony was arranged following a decree approved by Pope Francis on the 3rd of February in which he declared the Salvadoran Archbishop  a martyr. Like many of his fellow countrymen Romero was a victim of violence and was shot at while celebrating Mass on the 24th of March 1980. So during the civil war that lasted from 1979 until 1992 and left over 70, 000 people dead. 
On 23 February 1977, Romero was appointed Archbishop of San Salvador. El Salvador which in Spanish means ‘the Saviour’ may be a tiny country on the mainland of the Americas but Oscar Romero’s saintly reputation as the martyr who loved the poor has spread well beyond its borders. And he's viewed by many as a giant figure for whom the Gospel message always came first. The beatification for Romero will be held in San Salvador on May 23, 2015. It will be celebrated in Plaza Salvador del Mundo under the Monumento al Divino Salvador del Mundo. Cardinal Angelo Amato shall preside over the beatification on behalf of Pope Francis.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Saint Rita

Saint Rita of Cascia (1381-1457)
Are you faced with a difficult problem? Does it seem insurmountable? The prayer to St. Rita of Cascia (1381-1457) shown below might help. After all, St. Rita is known as the “Saint of the Impossible,” and we honor her today, her liturgical feast day.
Early in life, she had a strong desire to be a nun, but got married instead, following her parents’ wishes. By all accounts, her husband was Mr. Wrong, an abusive man with whom she bore two sons of similar temperament. Apparently she had the patience of a saint because she prayed for them all and tried to be a dutiful wife and mother! After 18 years of marriage, her husband was murdered and her sons died of natural causes the following year, after pledging to take revenge over their father's murder. After that, St. Rita finally got her wish and was admitted to the convent of Augustinian nuns at Cascia. Tradition has it that the nuns there initially refused to let St. Rita join because she was a widow. One night Saint John the Baptist, St. Augustine and St. Nicholas of Tolentino opened gates that had been bolted shut and left her in the chapel of the convent. When the nuns found St. Rita there the next morning they understood God’s designs for her and accepted her unanimously. Talk about prayer opening doors! Many other miracles were attributed to St. Rita, both during her life and after her death. As an example, her devotion to Jesus in His Passion was such that a thorn from the crucifix in her room pierced her forehead one day while she was praying! 

A procession of St Rita in Valletta, Malta last year
The prayer to St. Rita also touches on that miracle:

Oh glorious St. Rita, who did miraculously participate in the sorrowful Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, obtain for us the grace to suffer with resignation the troubles of this life, and protect us in all our needs. St. Rita, model wife and widow, you yourself suffered in a long illness showing patience out of love for God. Teach us to pray as you did. Many invoke you for help, full of confidence in your intercession. Come now to our aid for the relief and cure of (mention your request). To God all things are possible; may this healing give glory to the Lord. Through the prayers of St. Rita, may we learn to bear our crosses in life in the same spirit in which she bore hers. Amen.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

A Nurse's Prayer

Dear Lord, may Your great strength and power flow through me, and lend skills to my hands and vision, judgement to my mind and compassion to my heart. 
Grant me the strength to minister to my patients in their hour of suffering and anxiety. Make me worthy, O Lord, of this saintly task, and may I faithfully discharge my duties in deep humility, worthy of the trust and faith placed in me.
Give to my heart compassion and understanding,
- give to my hands skill and tenderness,
- give to my mind knowledge and wisdom,
especially dear Lord, help me always to remember the true purpose of my vocation, that of selfless service and dedication to the weak and despairing in body and spirit. AMEN.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

God knows.....

When you are tired and discouraged from fruitless efforts…….God knows how hard you have tried.
When you’ve cried so long and your heart is in anguish…….God has counted your tears.
If you feel that your life is on hold and time has passed you by…….God is waiting for you.
When you’re lonely and your friends are too busy even for a phone call…..God is by your side.
When you think you’ve tried everything and don’t know where to turn…..God has a solution.
When nothing makes sense and you are confused and frustrated………God has the answer.
If suddenly your outlook is brighter and you find traces of hope……God has whispered to you.
When things are going well and you have much to be thankful for…….God has blessed you.
When something joyful happens and you are filled with awe…….God has smiled upon you.
When you have a purpose to fulfill and a dream to follow…..God has opened your eyes and called you by name.
Remember that wherever you are and whatever you are facing………GOD KNOWS !
Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.(Matthew 6:8)

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Prayer for the Holy Year of Mercy

Pope Francis personally wrote a prayer to be used during the upcoming Holy Year of Mercy which starts later this year:

Lord Jesus Christ,
you have taught us to be merciful like the heavenly Father,
and have told us that whoever sees you sees Him.
Show us your face and we will be saved.
Your loving gaze freed Zacchaeus and Matthew from being enslaved by money;
the adulteress and Magdalene from seeking happiness only in created things;
made Peter weep after his betrayal,
and assured Paradise to the repentant thief.
Let us hear, as if addressed to each one of us, the words that you spoke to the Samaritan woman:
“If you knew the gift of God!”

You are the visible face of the invisible Father,

of the God who manifests his power above all by forgiveness and mercy:
let the Church be your visible face in the world, its Lord risen and glorified.
You willed that your ministers would also be clothed in weakness
in order that they may feel compassion for those in ignorance and error:
let everyone who approaches them feel sought after, loved, and forgiven by God.

Send your Spirit and consecrate every one of us with its anointing,

so that the Jubilee of Mercy may be a year of grace from the Lord,
and your Church, with renewed enthusiasm, may bring good news to the poor,
proclaim liberty to captives and the oppressed,
and restore sight to the blind. 

We ask this through the intercession of Mary, Mother of Mercy,

you who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever.

Monday, May 18, 2015


A lace with the Maltese cross crafted by my mother
One of the crafts that is still very popular in my home country of Malta is lace-making. It is an intricate craft that some elderly women still master with a lot of patience. I share today a few photos I took of my mother when she was still alive working on lace. It is sometimes called tatting, and is creating by moving small bobbins while placing needles in strategic points to keep the finished lace in place. 
My mother Mary working on a lace project
For those interested in phonetics, lace is bizzilla in Maltese, the base on which the lace is formed is called trajbu and the bobbins are called combini.  These photos show some close-ups of some of the lace my mother did a few years ago, in my opinion true masterpieces of Maltese craftsmanship.

Another intricate lace crafted by my mother

Sunday, May 17, 2015

The Cocoon and the Butterfly

A healthy monarch butterfly
A man found a cocoon of a butterfly.  One day a small opening appeared, he sat and watched  the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its  body through that little hole. Then it seemed to stop making  any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it  could and it could go no farther. Then the man decided to help the butterfly, so he took a pair of scissors and snipped  off the remaining bit of the cocoon.  The butterfly then emerged easily.   But it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. The  man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected  that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand  to be able to support the body, which would contract in time.  Neither happened! In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its  life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings.   It never was able to fly.   

What the man in his kindness and haste did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening were God's way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from  the cocoon.  Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our life.  If God allowed us to go through our life without any obstacles, it  would cripple us. We would not be as strong as what we could  have been.  And we could never fly.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

More drone photos

Taj Mahal, India
Sharing today a few more spectacular photos taken by drones, a new invention of aerial photography that is becoming more popular, giving us the opportunity to see scenes which we could not see before, except from a helicopter or a small plane.
Barcelona, Spain
Ukraina Hotel, Ukraine
Palace at Petergof, Russia

Danube River

Friday, May 15, 2015


Some families are big, some families are small.
But no matter what size, it's the same for them all.
Families are fathers that frown and say
"we didn't do things like that in my day.
That shirt's rather bright. That shirt's far too tight.
Now tell me again where you're going tonight."

Families are mothers who fret and fuss.
"Hurry up now or you'll miss your school bus.
Straighten your tie, tidy your hair.
Are you sure those big earrings are what you can wear ?"

Families are brothers that joke and tease,
and when you're not looking they give you a squeeze.
They think they're much bigger and better than you,
and far more important in all that they do.

Families are sisters who share all your things,
your bedroom, your records, your bracelets and rings.
They use all your perfume and wear out your tights,
and keep you awake playing music at night.

But God's family is a unit where we all belong
to support us in trouble when things have gone wrong
God shares in our gladness, our sadness and fears
He loves us and cares for us through all of the years.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Saint Matthias

One hundred and twenty people were gathered for prayer and reflection in the upper room, when Peter stood up to propose the way to make the choice for a replacement for Judas, who had betrayed Jesus and hung himself. Peter had one criterion, that, like Andrew, James, John, and himself, the new apostle be someone who had been a disciple from the very beginning, from his baptism by John until the Ascension.
Two men fit this description -- Matthias and Joseph called Barsabbas. They knew that both these men had been with them and with Jesus through his whole ministry. But which one had the heart to become a witness to his resurrection? The apostles knew that only the Lord could know what was in the heart of each. They cast lots in order to discover God's will and Matthias was chosen. He was the twelfth apostle and the group was whole again as they waited for the coming of the Holy Spirit. Unlike the other 12 who were hand-picked by Jesus, warts and all, Matthias was chosen from among 120 others. So there must have been something special about him - his credentials must have been quite impressive, even though we know so little about him.
That's the first we hear of Matthias in Scripture, and the last. Legends like the Acts of Andrew and Matthias testify to Matthias' enthusiastic embrace of all that being an apostle meant including evangelization, persecution, and death in the service of the Lord.
Clement of Alexandria says that Matthias, like all the other apostles, was not chosen by Jesus for what he already was, but for what Jesus foresaw he would become. He was elected not because he was worthy but because he would become worthy. Jesus chooses all of us in the same way.
Have you ever felt like an afterthought, a latecomer? Or have you ever resented someone new who was added to your group? It is not our prerogative to decide who belongs and who doesn’t belong within our church. God chooses people He deems fit to serve him. The same goes with vocations. We are all called for specific roles, sometimes unknown to us, until we realize our gifts and talents. So let us welcome any newcomers to your parish, work, or family community as someone chosen by God, as the apostles welcomed St Matthias.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015


Along with Lourdes and Guadalupe, Fatima is the most visited country as far as religious pilgrimages are concerned. And as if to further accentuate its importance in history, May 13, 1917 was replicated in 1981 for a moment of importance, although in a negative way. On that day Pope John Paul II was shot inside the Vatican Square and almost died. But he recovered enough to make a pilgrimage a year later on May 13, 1982, to thank the Blessed Mother for her intervention in saving his life.
But very much like Lourdes and Guadalupe, the quietness of these small little villages was turned upside down when the Blessed Mother appeared to 3 young children, Francisco and his sister Jacinta Marto, and Lucia dos Santos. Nobody would believe them at first, and they were almost imprisoned for fabricating lies. But eventually, religious leaders, priests and bishops in Fatima, Portugal investigated the whole story and found it to be true, with the Vatican officially proclaiming that the apparitions were believable. Francisco and Jacinta died shortly afterwards, but Lucia became a nun and lived into the third millennium in a monastery in Portugal, being visited by 2 Popes. 

Jacinta, Francisco and Lucia in 1917
A huge basilica was built on the spot where the Blessed Mother appeared to the children, encouraging them to pray the Rosary, and pray for the conversion of souls. She even gave the children some well-kept secrets, which were only shown to the reigning Popes, but we know now that they spoke about the conversion of Russia and other tragic events that took place over the years, and other historic events which were predicted, like the end of World War I. Thousands of pilgrims visit Fatima every year, and the devotion to the Blessed Mother and the Rosary spread far and wide. The prayer that is said between each decade of the Rosary was devised after the Fatima apparition: O my Jesus forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to heaven, especially those who have most need of thy mercy.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Prodigal Son (in the key of F)

Esteban Bartolome Murillo - The return of the prodigal son
We all heard the beautiful story of the prodigal son, especially during the Lenten season. It is also known, probably more appropriately, as the parable of the Forgiving Father. Well, here is the same parable with a little twist, written in the key of F......

Feeling footloose and frisky a feather-brained fellow forced his fond father to fork over the family finances. He flew far to foreign fields and frittered his fortune feasting fabulously with faithless friends. Finally facing famine and fleeced by his fellows in folly, he found himself a feed-flinger in a filthy farmyard.

Fairly famished he fain would have filled his frame with the foraged foods of the fodder fragments left by the filthy farmyard creatures.

'Fooey', he said, 'My father's flunkies fare far fancier,' the frazzled fugitive found feverishly, frankly facing facts. Frustrated by failure and filled with foreboding he forthwith fled to his family. Falling at his father's feet, he floundered forlornly. 'Father, I have flunked and fruitlessly forfeited family favor.'

But the faithful father, forestalling further flinching frantically flagged the flunkies. 'Fetch forth the finest fatling and fix a feast.' But the fugitive's fault-finding frater frowned on the fickle forgiveness of the former folderol. His fury flashed. But fussing was futile, for the far-sighted father figured, such filial fidelity is fine, but what forbids fervent festivity.

The fugitive is found. 'Unfurl the flags, with fanfares flaring, let fun and frolic freely flow.' Former failure is forgotten, folly forsaken, forgiveness forms the foundation for future fortitude."

Monday, May 11, 2015

Origin of the Luminous Mysteries

St George Preca (1880-1962)
On 16th October of 2002, His Holiness John Paul II began the 25th Anniversary of his Pontificate by publishing an Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae in which he inaugurated the Year of the Rosary, to last from October 2002 till October 2003. In this Letter the Pope also introduced five new mysteries of the rosary to be included with the traditional ones. These new mysteries, which he called The Mysteries of Light, or Luminous Mysteries, refer to the public life of Our Lord.

This addition to the decades of the rosary - which had been left untouched for over 400 years - has aroused a great deal of interest. The idea of the Pope could have come from the writings of a Maltese priest whom the Pope declared Blessed in 2001, Blessed George Preca, and eventually canonized by Pope Benedict XVI on June 3, 2007, the first Maltese Saint.

The five Luminous Mysteries are identical to those proposed by Fr Preca. Interesting as well is the fact that the Pope has called these mysteries from Christ's public life “the Mysteries of Light”, the same title given originally by Fr Preca when he first proposed them in 1957. How did the Pope get to know about them? It all started way back in 1957. Saint George Preca (1880-1962) founded a society of lay people to study the Christian doctrine and teach it to children and adults. He called it the Society of Christian Doctrine. In 1957 the Society celebrated the 50th anniversary of its birth, and Fr Preca was against any external celebrations. Instead, he wanted that year to be an occasion of a deeper intimacy with God, and so he published his well-known “Colloquies with God” - sixty short but penetrating invocations which give us a good insight into Fr Preca's interior life. During that same year he came up with the idea of these additional mysteries to the Rosary, taken from the public life of Our Lord. Originally Fr Preca had them published in a small leaflet for the private use of the Members of his Society.
The Mysteries of Light became “public property” in Malta after two publications in 1973 and 1987. They were later also put on the internet on websites regarding the Rosary. The Mysteries of Light according to Saint Preca and the Pope were designated as follows:
1. Jesus' Baptism in the river Jordan; 2.  His self-manifsestation at the wedding at Cana; 3. His proclamation of the Kingdom of God, with his call to conversion; 4.  His transfiguration before the Apostles on Mount Tabor; 5.  His institution of the Eucharist, at the Last Supper.

Besides the new Mysteries of Light, in the Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae there are other points which remind us of Fr Preca's teaching on the rosary. For instance, the Pope suggests a moment of silent reflection after the mystery is mentioned. Fr Preca not only practiced this himself, but he recommended it to others as well. Fr Preca used to call the rosary “A school of learning”, especially because of the meditation on the mysteries of the life of our Lord. The liturgical feast day of St George Preca is celebrated in Malta on May 9th.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Jesus talks to your heart

If you never felt pain, then how would you know that I am a Healer?
If you never had to pray, how would you know that I am a Deliverer?
If you never had a trial, how could you call yourself an overcomer?
If you never felt sadness, how would you know that I am a Comforter?
If you never made a mistake, how would you know that I am a forgiver?
If you knew all, how would you know that I will answer your questions?
If you never were in trouble, how would you know that I will come to your rescue?
If you never were broken, then how would you know that I can make you whole?
If you never had a problem, how would you know that I can solve them?
If you never had any suffering, then how would you know what I went through?
If you never went through the fire, then how would you become pure?
If I gave you all things, how would you appreciate them?
If I never corrected you, how would you know that I love you?
If you had all power, then how would you learn to depend on me?
If your life was perfect, then what would you need me for?

Love, Jesus

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Dubai drone photos

A few more drone photos today, coming from Dubai, one the countries in United Arab Emirates. Dubai has exploded in buildings over the past 50 years, as well as in  population. In 1968, the population was a mere 58,000. In 1985, it had climbed to 370,000 , while it almost doubled in 10 years, to 674,000 in 1995. Today the population stands at a staggering 2,107,000. The topography looks very much like New York City, while over 50 years ago it was more or less like a desert. 
These stunning photos show some of the buildings, including the famous Palm Jumeirah, which were man-made islands and peninsulas in the shape of a Palm Tree. Another similar project is underway, called the World Islands.

Friday, May 8, 2015

De Sales blog

Roses used during Pope Benedict's Mass in Malta, April 2010
A dear friend of mine, a former parishioner from Baker City has sent me a link to a blog she and her friends started at De Sales University in Pennsylvania. It is a blog with reflections from and on the writings of St Francis De Sales. They update them frequently, although during exams time, which is probably now for many of them, the post are less frequent. Please check it out at

Thursday, May 7, 2015

May Crowning

The traditional May Crowning ceremony was held yesterday in our new church, as children brought flowers to be placed in front of the statue of the Blessed Mother, Our Lady of Guadalupe. Mary was crowned by one of the First Communion children as I played the Ave Maria on the flute, and then we recited the Rosary together.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Fascinating drone photos

Moscow Red Square
Drone photography has become the recent sensation, and even though few photographers have this privilege of owning a drone or using one, yet the results they share are absolutely fascinating. Until a few months ago, such photos could only be taken from airplanes and helicopters, and the attached photos are a proof of the scenic sensations one can get from a mile above sea or land level. Today's photos are from Moscow, the famous Red Square and its majestic St Basil's Cathedral. More to come over the next few days. (click to enlarge)

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Counting our blessings

As you might know, the head of a company Cantor Fitzgerald survived 9/11 because his son started kindergarten. Another fellow was alive because it was his turn to bring donuts.
One woman was late because her alarm clock didn't go off in time.
One was late because of being stuck on the NJ Turnpike because of an auto accident.
One of them missed his bus.
One spilled food on her clothes and had to take time to change.
One's car wouldn't start.
One went back to answer the telephone.
One had a child that dawdled and didn't get ready as soon as he should have.
One couldn't get a taxi.
The one that struck me was the man who put on a new pair of shoes that morning, took the various means to get to work but before he got there, he developed a blister on his foot. He stopped at a drugstore! to buy a Band-Aid. That is why he is alive today. 

Now when I am stuck in traffic, miss an elevator, turn back to answer a ringing telephone... all the little things that annoy me.  I think to myself, this is exactly where God wants me to be at this very moment..
Next time your morning seems to be going wrong, the children are slow getting dressed, you can't seem to find the car keys, you hit every traffic light, don't get mad or frustrated; God is at work watching over you. May God continue to bless you with all those annoying little things and may you remember their possible purpose.