Marian Apparitions of Our Lady

May 4, 2019

Bob and Penny Lord wrote this about Marian Apparitions of Our Lady just before they wrote the book Many Faces of Mary.

 

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My relationship with Mary is a very personal one.  She is my first love.  I can talk to Mary.  I can count on her.  I have been in love with her for as long as I can remember.  It’s been an on again, off again romance with us, not on her part, but on mine.  She’s constant.  She has always “been”.  When I’ve broken away from her, wrapped myself up in the glamour of the world, she stood by.  When I thought I had outgrown her, didn’t need her anymore, she waited.  I always came back.  She was always there.

Our bond is unique.  I’ve never heard anyone speak of their feelings for her in the same way that I do.  But I wonder if the truth is that others do feel as I do towards her, but just don’t know how to say it.  Or possibly they are afraid to say the words “I love You.  I have always loved you.”  I’ve spoken to many people who have a special devotion to Mary.  I’ve looked at their eyes as they speak of her, and what she means to them.

They say with their mouths, things like “I have a strong devotion to Mary”, and “I always pray to Mary”, or “She has never let me down”.  But their eyes betray their words.  There’s a cloudiness in their expressions, a wetness in their eyes that tells of a much deeper emotion than their lips proclaim.  I wonder if they wouldn’t rather blurt out, “I deeply love Mary.  I always have.  I put her on a pedestal, not the way you would a holy person, or a saint, but like that perfect woman whom you’ve found, and will love forever”.  I want to shout it from the rooftops.  “I LOVE HER!!  I’M IN LOVE WITH MARY!!”  So, instead, I write a book.

Mary has guided me and protected me all my life, from the time my mother carried me in her womb.  My mother, a good Irish Catholic girl, used to tell everyone that she had a dream while she was pregnant with me.  In that dream, she found herself walking through a haze, towards a great light off in the distance.  She was drawn to it.  Though she had no sensation of walking, she got closer and closer to the source of the light.    She could make out the figure of a woman holding a child.  The haze lifted.  She recognized Mary standing in front of her, holding what she assumed to be the Christ Child.   The child was beautiful and radiant, but not as brilliant as Our Lady.  My mother recalled that she thought this was unusual.  Her belief was that Jesus would outshine everyone.  The splendor of His Presence would overcome even the aura of His Mother.

She awoke from her dream puzzled as to why Our Lady would appear to her, holding the Baby Jesus, and why the aura surrounding Mary was greater than that of the child.  She assumed the vision was a sign from Heaven that my birth would be a successful and healthy one.  My mother went on to complete her pregnancy, and I was born a robust and healthy handful.  Her attention was diverted to welcoming and taking care of the new member of the family.  She forgot about the dream.

In her story of this dream, mother recounted that something uncanny happened as I grew into my third month.  She had the strange feeling that she knew me, as though from another time, another place.  I looked so familiar to her. She racked her brain for days, trying to unravel the mystery.  Then one night she had the same dream again.  Only this time, she understood why the child had not outshone Mary.  The child in the dream, the same child Mary had held months before, was not the baby Jesus.  It was me.

Mary said to my mother “He is mine.  Take care of him”.

My mother kept faithful to the charge she had been given as well as she could for as long as she could.  She was the victim of an alcoholic husband, my father.  She suffered greatly, trying to salvage her marriage, and at the same time, take care of two young boys.  The Great Depression ended.  The war years came.  There was plenty of money around for defense workers.  But while other people amassed fortunes during the war, or at least little nest eggs for the future, my father spent all his money on liquor and friends.  Neither my mother, my brother nor I ever saw “Happy Days are Here Again”.  Babies, we found ourselves going to every bar on the waterfront in Brooklyn, near the defense plants and shipyards, on payday, trying frantically to find my father to get a little money before it was all gone.

By the time the war was over, my mother was a beaten woman, without any self worth.  Her youth and innocence had been stolen from her.  The one chance my parents had at making something out of their lives, had been wasted.  It was now behind them.  The balloon of the big war money had burst.  My father went back to the meager existence of struggling to make ends meet.  My mother finally gave in to my father;  she, too, became an alcoholic.  They lived out their lives in misery and disappointment.

I don’t mean to speak harshly of my parents.  They were good people.  I loved them very much.  I’m sure they are both very happy and at peace with Jesus and Mary in the Kingdom.  They were just victims.  We know about victims.  We see our children, victims, falling dead every day from the satan of drugs.  We’ve lost almost a whole generation.  In my parents’ time, it was the satan of alcohol.  They were victims of the Roaring 20’s, the Flapper Days.  Alcoholism was the socially acceptable behavior.  They were completely overwhelmed by the culture of the anti- Christ prevalent in their day.  When the great chastisement of the Depression overtook them, they were already addicts.

My mother was not able to fulfill the mandate Mary had given her.  Mary, my lady, had to take over personally.  She had plans for me from the very beginning.  When I was very young, I felt the compelling desire to spend my life wrapped in the warm, protective cloak of Mary in the Church.  I remember once, at age 11 or 12, wanting to go to Mass every morning during Advent at a local cloistered Monastery in the Bronx.  The masses were celebrated at 6:45 a.m.  That meant I had to wake myself at 6 a.m. because my father, who was the first to rise, didn’t get up until 6:45 a.m.

In those days, we didn’t use expressions like “Filled with the Holy Spirit”.  I just had a thought.  Everybody else had a thought too.  They thought I was crazy.  I couldn’t explain why I wanted to do it.  I just did.  It was very cold when I left the house at 6:20 to go to the Monastery.  I’ll never forget the gusts of cold winter air hitting my face, penetrating through my winter coat to my clothes, to my skin, as I opened the front door of my house each morning.  At the beginning, right after Thanksgiving, it was cold.  By the time Christmas eve approached, it was bitter.  There were days of freezing rain, and days of gentle snowfall.  But all the mornings gave me great peace, walking in the pre-dawn hours, just Jesus, Mary and me.  I believe that year, 1946 or 1947, was the most beautiful Christmas I have ever experienced.  I never felt so fulfilled at Mass.  I can still recall the fragrance of burning candles and incense.  From that time, churches have always had a special aroma for me.  The voices of the nuns chanting their morning prayers still echo in the recesses of my mind.

Until I began to write this book, I never realized how much an 11 year old has a need for tranquility, for belonging.  I was so at home in that Monastery.  I didn’t want to go back out to the cold world.  I was in my mother’s womb, warm and protected.  My mother was Mary.

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I thought I had a vocation to the priesthood.  I never fantasized being a priest, wearing priestly clothes or doing priestly things.  I envisioned myself in the Presence.  I was not sure what Presence.  Mary was there.  The colorful saints, whose lives I had read, or had been read to me, were there.  Jesus was very much there.  That little monastery on Baretto Street in the Bronx was there.  It was the hub.  I believe that more than a vocation to the priesthood, I had an overpowering desire for relationship with people I was deeply in love with.  I had never met them personally or physically.  But they were all there, around me, speaking to me, touching me, loving me.  And at the head was Mary, the indescribably beautiful Mary.

There is an expression used by the young people today, “Get into the Real World”.  The confusion lies in determining what is the Real World and what is Fantasy.  At age 14, I thought the real world was the world of girls, drinking and partying.  That had been the world of my father.  That world was calling me.  My biological system had gone through the trauma of puberty, and with it my value system.  Physical and emotional discoveries overpowered me.  In addition, I broke out in pimples all over my face.  As I grew into my teen age years, the distorted glamour of evil pulled me away from my true love.  Eventually, it drew me away completely.  The images I thought to be real, I learned in later years were fantasy, unreal.  The only reality was the love I had embraced as a child, then walked away from completely as a young man.

There’s a wise saying, “The 35 year old man has to live with the decisions made by the 18 year old”.  Our whole lives are determined by the mistakes we make as young people.  That should have been my fate.  But my Lady didn’t let it happen.  She had too much work for me to do.  She was willing to wait for me until I finally grew up.

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Every now and then, Mary showed herself very strongly in strange ways, in strange places.  For example, I worked at Radio City Music Hall as an usher during my high school days.  I had become romantically involved with the girls in the Corps de Ballet, and the Rockettes.  They were all older than I; but as long as I was willing to adopt their way of life, they accepted me.  Although I was going to a Catholic High School, I had all but forgotten about Mary and the Saints.  They didn’t fit into my new life style.  At about that time, somehow, a book came my way.  It was called THE SONG OF BERNADETTE.  It dealt with the apparitions of Mary to Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes in the year 1858.  Here I was, completely lost in this beautiful book on Mary and Bernadette.  I was a contradiction, sitting in the Employee’s Cafeteria of Radio City Music Hall with all my new found show business friends, older girls and guys whose values had nothing at all to do with Mary or anything Marian.  I still have that book from 1952.  The cover is gone, as are the first 7 or 8 pages.  But it is a very special book to me.

The pull from Mary was strong, very strong, but not strong enough.  For a few months, I was renewed in my love for her and Our Lord Jesus, but then I began to backslide.  Soon the transition was complete.  I was back to my old ways.  I had left her behind.  Every now and then, she came back into my consciousness.  But I conveniently pushed her out of my mind.  Even during my time in the service, I was stationed in France, not 200 miles away from Lourdes, but I never went to visit her at her shrine.  Paris was 600 miles away, yet I went there every chance I had.  But when I was in Paris, I never visited the Chapel of the Miraculous Medal, or the Church of Our Lady of the Victories.

SEPTEMBER 23, 1957.  Dates are very important.  Jesus used numbers as symbols during His Ministry.  In the history of the Church, many important events occurred on September 23.  Padre Pio died on September 23, 1968.  The first Eucharistic Congress in Abruzzi was held on September 23, 1921.  I met Ernest Hemingway in the Yankee Stadium and got him to autograph one of his books on September 23, 1957.  But the most important thing about September 23 is it is the day my Penny was born.  And September 23, 1957 was the day Mary chose to place Penny in my path.

We refer at this time to St. Paul’s letter to the Romans, Chapter 8, Verses 28-30.  We know that God makes all things work together for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his decree.  Those whom He foreknew He predestined to share the image of His Son, that the Son might be the first- born  of many brothers.  Those He predestined, He likewise called; those He called He also justified; and those He justified, He in turn glorified.

I believe very strongly that God has planned out the lives of every soul He has created.  While we have to say “Yes” in the same way that Mary said “Yes” in order for God to work in our lives, I believe that He has orchestrated a beautiful life for all of us, if we just get out of the way.  I believe that God has had a plan for me since before I was born.  I believe that Penny and I were chosen for each other from the beginning of time to be husband and wife.  I believe that Mary came to me in the form of Penny, to be the instrument to bring me back to the Lord, and to give myself to Him through Mary in full time Ministry.  These are things I believe.  I know for a fact that Penny was given to me for my salvation.

In the early days of our marriage, Penny and I spent most of our time struggling to survive, much like any average married couple.  Our Lord Jesus had to take last place, and with it, my Mary.  But they waited.  They knew what work we had to do, and they allowed us all the normal desires that young married couples have, a good job, beautiful children, a house, cars, money.

We worked hard.  We have always been achievers.  It was almost as if we had a check list.  First we achieved the children, then the house, the cars, and finally the money.  When we had achieved everything we wanted, we lost our 19 year old son, our precious boy, to an overdose of drugs.  He was a victim of that world.  Instead of blaming ourselves for allowing a society to exist that could destroy our children, while we were busy achieving, we blamed God.  Doesn’t everybody?

Still, Jesus and Mary waited.  They gave us four years to mourn, to turn off God, Church, and each other.  Then, on January 1, 1975, The Feast of the Solemnity of Mary, the first day of the Holy Year, they hit us over the head with a two by four.  We will never forget it.  It was a typical New Year’s Day.  We had stayed at home.  Our daughter Cheryl, (now Sister Clare) had come over for dinner with our grandson, Rob, and a Jewish friend.  The conversation centered around important matters, the Football games that day.  We had dinner.  After it was over, and everyone had left, I took the table cloth out to the patio to shake it out.  Again, I HAD A THOUGHT.

We hadn’t been to Mass on Sunday for four years.  My thought was, I’d like to go to Mass every day from now on.  First I called the local church, where we had never attended Mass, to find out what the schedule was.  Then I went in to the family room where Penny was watching television.  I said, “Honey, how would you like to go to Mass every day from now on?”

Her reaction was normal.  She was completely shocked.  But she had a thought.  “For many years he went to Mass on Sunday for me.  I owe it to him, for whatever reason he has, to support him in this.”  The first day we entered the church, I had a feeling that I can’t describe, except to say I had come home.  The warmth I had felt as a child in the Monastery in the Bronx at daily Mass had returned.  Penny said my eyes gleamed with love for Our Dear Lord in the Eucharist, and everything that the Church represented.  She was afraid for a time that I was going to divorce her to become a priest.

That was the beginning.  We have never missed the gift of the Eucharist one day from that time to this.  We’ve given ourselves up to full time ministry. We don’t earn the kind of money we were used to.  We don’t have the freedom to go anywhere, or do anything we want anymore. But the places we are not free to visit, we don’t want to visit; and the things we cannot have, we don’t want.  We have come home. LORD, IT IS GOOD FOR US TO BE HERE.

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The Miraculous Holy House of Loreto

May 4, 2019

The Miraculous Holy House of Loreto

Our Lady of Loreto

St. Francis of Assisi went to the Holy Land, in 1220, to convert the Saracens or die trying.  During his time there, he went to Nazareth and spent time at the Holy House, where the Annunciation took place, where the Holy Family lived from the time they returned from Egypt until Jesus began His public Ministry.  Francis spent much time, praying there.  We believe the Holy Family spoke to him in the little House; because when he came back to Italy, he went out on the road, preaching the Good News of the Kingdom.

One of the first places he went to was a little town of no accord, north of Assisi, off the Adriatic Sea, about thirty miles inland from Ancona.  The town was called Loreto.  Francis told his brothers to begin preaching there.  They looked around and protested, saying the town was too small and the area too remote.  Francis prophesied “Someday this place will be known as the holiest place on earth.”

Seventy four years later, the Holy House of Nazareth arrived in Loreto.  Had Mother Mary spoken to St. Francis about this move when he was in Nazareth, before the Crusaders had lost the battle, and had been expelled from the Holy Land?  He knew something!  Was this one of the many things our Holy Family shared with this, one of their favorite sons?

Our Lord Jesus loves His Mother Mary.  He watches out for Her, and protects everything on earth that had anything to do with Her time here.  And so it was, in the year 1291, when the Saracens (Moslems) decided to vent their venom and hate against Christ, and all things Christian.  The Crusades were over.  The Christians had been defeated and run out of the Holy Land.  By destroying every holy place in Palestine, the Moslems thought they could eliminate every sign or vestige of Jesus’ existence in history.

St. Helena, Emperor Constantine’s mother, had made churches of all the holy places in Jesus’ life.  It was as if the Saracens believed, if they took away these outward signs of Jesus, they could wipe away that Love that beats in each and every person’s heart, that longing to be more, to love and be loved more.  We wonder, were the Saracens the ones who really wanted to destroy man’s hope, or could it be it was the fallen angels who know all too well the needs and desires of the human heart?

The Saracens went on a rampage.  There would not be a stone left upon a stone on any of the holy places.  If there were no longer any Shrines where Jesus was born, where He grew up, where He taught, where He healed and called man to new life in His Father, where He died for us, where He rose giving us eternal hope that we, too, would rise, then man would forget he has a Savior, and have no reason to live.  Satan was having a field day.  He could see the last remnants of Christianity destroyed in this Holy Land.

The Saracens descended on Bethlehem.  They went to the church built over the spot where Christ was born.  They would level it!  But when they approached the building, they believed to be where He was born, they saw a mosaic outside depicting three Arab kings (the three wise men).  This could not be the place of Jesus’ birth, they thought.  This is a mosque, dedicated to Arab kings of the past.  So they left this place, and continued looking for the birthplace of Jesus.  Our Lord had used the Angels to form a shield around the church, which blocked the minds and senses of the Saracens.  He would not allow this place, where His Mother had given birth to Him, to be desecrated.

Our Lady of Loreto inside the Holy House of Loreto

At about the same time, hordes of Saracens rode, for all they were worth, their horses covered with foam of white lather as they strained to go beyond their limit, towards Nazareth.  They would destroy the house of Mary.  Never again would Christians celebrate the Annunciation, there.  Never again would they be reminded of the Jewish Virgin’s yes that helped to redeem the world.  It was well known that Jesus’ Apostles and disciples began celebrating Mass in the Holy House of Nazareth soon after Jesus’ death.  It was a Shrine from the earliest days of Christianity.  This was an important place for the Saracens to destroy.  This is where it had all begun.

We believe the Lord uses His Angels to do the extraordinary.  He has great power, and He has given the Angels some of His power that they might glorify His Name, and help us in our walk toward Him.  While we agree that God formed nature, and adheres to the rules He has set up for nature, we also believe God can do anything He wants, whenever He wants.  We contend it’s wrong for humans to put God into a box, placing earthly limitations on what He can and cannot do.

If God, in His majesty, wants to set aside the laws of Nature, and give Angels bodies with wings, and superhuman strength to pick up large objects, like houses, and transport them at the speed of light anywhere He chooses, we say Yes, Lord, praise You Lord, thank You Lord.  Jesus tells us, “I assure you, if you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you would be able to say to this mountain, `Move from here to there,’ and it would move.  Nothing would be impossible for you.” (Mt17:20)

Do I believe God can move mountains, and with faith I can?  Yes, because He told me so.  Do I believe God, through His Angels, lifted up the Holy House and moved it out of Nazareth to protect it from the hatred of His enemies?  Yes, because I have seen it.  Do I believe God can move men’s hearts?  Now, I shout yes from the mountain tops because through prayer, I have experienced it.

We believe there has always been a legion of Angels protecting the house of the Annunciation.  Here, Gabriel appeared to Mary, and the Holy Family lived until Jesus began His public ministry.  We believe Gabriel never left this place.  But now, when danger seemed so imminent, we can visualize an army of Angels racing down from Heaven, their wings glistening in the sun, Michael joining Gabriel, his red cape whirling around him.  The sky was filled with Angels, from one end of the horizon to the other.  The earth shook with the vibrations of their wings.  They swooped down and formed a barricade around the house.  The Angels were here, and they meant business!

Our Lord had good reason to call forth His Angels.  The Basilica, built over the Holy House, had been destroyed twice before by the Arabs, once as long ago as 1090 A.D.  For some unknown reason, they had never disturbed the crypt (lower church), where the Holy House and the grotto were located.  The Crusaders rebuilt the Basilica shortly after they arrived in Nazareth.  Acts of sacrilege by the Moslems, were a major reason the Crusades began in the first place; for it was right after the atrocity to the Basilica of the Annunciation that the Holy War began.

The second time, the Basilica was destroyed, was in 1263.  Again, the crypt was not disturbed, praise God.  But then, the Crusaders were not able to rebuild the Basilica, and the Holy House was left unprotected.  When it was evident the Crusaders had lost the Holy Land in 1291, our Lord Jesus decided that since He could not depend on man to protect this holy place, He would send the Angels.  They would surely defend this Shrine to His Blessed Mother and their Queen.  The Lord gave the Angels a mandate!

“Move the Holy House; take it to a safer place, far from the hatred of My enemies in this land of My birth.  Lift it; lift it high into the air, where they can’t get at it.  Don’t let them see it.”

We can be sure Michael and Gabriel were in charge, supervising the movement of this most holy place, where the Holy Spirit had formed the Savior of the world in the womb of Mary.  In unison, the Angels raised the house from its foundation, and carried it high into the sky, resting it upon clouds which hid it from the earth.  When the Saracens arrived, with hatred in their hearts, craving to pillage and burn, they were astonished.  There was nothing there!  Only the grotto remained.  They left it alone; it had no meaning to them.

The Angels transport Our Lady and the Holy House

The Angels carried the Holy House, high above the mountains and deserts of the Holy Land, across the expansive Mediterranean and Adriatic Seas to Illyria (It’s difficult to give the actual name of the country where the Holy House landed.  We have called it Yugoslavia for years, but there is no more Yugoslavia.  The closest to correct that we can determine would be modern-day Croatia.  Although the pilgrims were given a name which was sort of a conglomeration of Croatians and Slovenians,”Schiavoni.”) On May 10, 1291, it quietly set down in the little hamlet of Tersatto, in Illyria now known as Croatia), far from the battle cries of Palestine. 

It was early in the morning, when the local people discovered, to their great surprise, a house resting on the ground.  There was no foundation under it!  Curious to see what it was, they ventured inside.  They found a stone Altar.  On the Altar was a cedar statue of Mother Mary standing with Her Divine Son in Her arms.  The Infant Jesus had the two first fingers of His Right Hand extended in a blessing, and with His Left Hand, He held a golden sphere representing the world.  Both Mary and Jesus were dressed in robes.  Golden crowns were poised on both Their heads.

The villagers were awestruck, but confused, until a short time later, Our Lady appeared to the local Priest and said,

“Know that the house which has been brought up of late to your land, is the same in which I was born and brought up.  Here, at the Annunciation of the Archangel Gabriel, I conceived the Creator of all things.  Here the Word of the Eternal Father became Man.  The Altar which was brought with this house was consecrated by Peter, Prince of the Apostles.

“This house has come from Nazareth to your shores by the power of God, of Whom nothing is impossible.  And now, in order that you may bear testimony of all these things, be healed.  Your unexpected and sudden recovery shall confirm the truth of what I have declared to you.”

The Priest, who had suffered for years from an illness, was immediately cured.  He promptly told all the people, and word of this Gift from God, spread throughout the countryside.  Pilgrimages began coming immediately to the Holy House of Nazareth, in Illyria.  God had chosen to bring it to this little village, and the villagers lovingly responded by erecting a modest, quite primitive building over the house, to protect it from the elements.

However, the joy, the Croatians had experienced at having this most precious gift in their midst, was short-lived.  Three years and five months later, on December 10, 1294, the Holy House disappeared overnight from Croatia, never to return.  Saddened by the loss, Nicholas Fangipani, a devout man from Tersatto, built a small church, a replica of the Holy House, on a hill where the original had stood.  He placed an inscription:

“The Holy House of the Blessed Virgin came from Nazareth on the 10th of May, in the year 1291, and left on the 10th of December, 1294.”

The people from Croatia continued venerating Our Lady in their replica church.  So great was their devotion that Pope Urban V sent the people of Tersatto an image of Our Lady in 1367, which was said to have been painted by St. Luke, the Evangelist.

The people from Tersatto, or Fiume, as it was also called, grieved over the loss of the Holy House and the image of Our Lady.  A Franciscan recalled a group coming across to Loreto from Dalmatia as late as the 16th Century.  He wrote: “In one particular group, there were about 500 pilgrims from Tersatto, with their Priests.  They began their procession into the church of the Holy House on their knees, crying and weeping.  As they approached the Holy House, they wailed in their own tongue, `Come back to Fiume (Tersatto) O Mary, come back to Fiume, O Mary O Mary.’  Repeating these words over again, and with bitter tears, they reached the Holy House.  On seeing Her when the doors were opened, their fervour renewed and they began to repeat the same words again, mixed with many tears.  And they went on with their chant as they went round the Holy House on their knees.”

Another eyewitness account of pilgrims from this area, took place in 1784.  “I myself have heard and seen them in great numbers every year kneeling nearly whole summer nights in front of the closed doors of the Shrine of Loreto; not content with having worshipped, kissed and bathed with their tears the walls of Mary’s blessed House all day, and then sung their chants outside, and prayed to Her, weeping to remember them, in such a way that anyone who saw the repetition of that sorrowful scene was moved to devotion and compassion.”

To this day, pilgrims from that area of Croatia, are given special privileges at the Holy House in Loreto, not because of who they are as much as in sympathy for their great loss.

The Angels move the Holy House to Loreto, Italy. Read More


Saint John Bosco’s Dream

January 30, 2019

There is one dream of Don Bosco’s that Bob and Penny Lord used in all our talks, to accentuate the focus of our ministry and what we believe has to be the direction the Church has to take, in order to survive.  He shared this vision with his boys, on May 30, 1862.

Dream of Saint John Bosco

Dream of Saint John Bosco

“A few nights ago I had a dream.  True, dreams are nothing but dreams, but still I’ll tell it to you for your spiritual benefit, just as I would tell you even my sins – only I’m afraid I’d send you scurrying away before the roof fell in.  Try to picture yourselves with me on the seashore, or better still, on an outlying cliff with no other land in sight.  The vast expanse of water is covered with a formidable array of ships in battle formation, prows fitted with sharp, spearlike beaks capable of breaking through any defense.  All are heavily armed with cannons, incendiary  bombs and firearms of all sorts – even books – and are heading toward one stately ship, mightier than them all.  As they close in, they try to ram it, set it afire and cripple it as much as possible.

“This stately vessel is shielded by a flotilla escort.  Winds and waves are with the enemy.  In the midst of this endless sea, two solid columns, a short distance apart, soar high into the sky: one surmounted by a statue of the Immaculate Virgin at whose feet a large inscription reads: Help of Christians; the other, far loftier and sturdier, supports a Host of proportionate size and bears beneath it the inscription Salvation of believers.

“The flagship commander – the Roman Pontiff – seeing the enemy’s fury and his auxiliary ships’ very grave predicament, summons his captains to a conference.  However, as they discuss their strategy, a furious storm breaks out and they must return to their ships.

“When the storm abates, the Pope again summons his captains as the flagship keeps on its course.  But the storm rages again.  Standing at the helm, the Pope strains every muscle to steer his ship between the two columns from whose summits hang many anchors and strong hooks linked to chains.

“The entire enemy fleet closes in to intercept and sink the flagship at all costs.  They bombard it with everything they have: books and pamphlets, incendiary bombs, firearms, cannons.  The battle rages ever more furious.  Beaked prows ram the flagship again and again, but to no avail, as unscathed and undaunted, it keeps on its course.  At times a formidable ram splinters a gaping hole into its hull, but immediately, a breeze from the two columns instantly seals the gash.

“Meanwhile, enemy cannons blow up, firearms and beaks fall to pieces, ships crack up and sink to the bottom.  In blind fury the enemy takes to hand-to-hand combat, cursing and blaspheming.  Suddenly the Pope falls, seriously wounded, He is instantly helped up, but, struck down a second time, dies.  A shout of victory rises from the enemy and wild rejoicing sweeps their ships.  But no sooner is the Pope dead than another takes his place.  The captains of the auxiliary ships elected him so quickly that the news of the Pope’s death coincides with that of his successor’s election.  The enemy’s self-assurance waned.

“Breaking through all resistance, the new Pope steers the ship safely between the two columns and moors it to the two columns; first, to the one surmounted by the Host and then to the other, topped by the statue of the Virgin.  At this point, something unexpected happens.  The enemy ships panic and disperse, colliding with and scuttling each other.

“Some auxiliary ships which had gallantly fought alongside their flagship are the first to tie up at the two columns.  Many others, which had fearfully kept far away from the fight, stand still, cautiously waiting until the wrecked enemy ships vanish under the waves.  Then, they too head for the two columns, tie up at the swinging hooks and ride safe and tranquil beside their flagship.  A great calm now covers the sea.”

Most of Don Bosco’s dreams were realized during his lifetime.  He made  predictions about the events of the Franco-Prussian war, which were so accurate, it was as if he read a script.  He also predicted the death of Pope Pius IX.  But the dream about the two columns has struck us from the first time we read it, as being more for today’s church, then for the time of Don Bosco.  Could Don Bosco see what would be happening in the Church of today, how we would be floundering so badly in a violent storm, not knowing what to believe, or who to listen to?  Was this dream or vision or prophecy to help us see clearly, what and where our loyalties must be, if we are to save the Church?  We like to think of this vision as being a directive to follow the great strengths of our Church, the Body of Christ, in the Eucharist, the Mother of Christ, through the Vicar of Christ.

After Don Bosco shared his dream, he asked his priests and students to comment on its meaning.  None of them, not the priest, nor the students, said anything at that time, about one Pope being killed and being replaced immediately by another.  Was that a prophecy of an event that took place in our time, when Pope John Paul I died after only 33 days in office, to be replaced immediately by Pope John Paul II?  Or was the Lord telling us through Don Bosco that the Papacy does not depend on a man, but solely on God?  Was that prophecy for Don Bosco’s time, or for a hundred years later?

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Learn more about Saint John Bosco


Pilgrimage to Ireland

January 29, 2019

Bob & Penny Lord’s Ministry

Journeys of Faith®fatherdarrinmay

Pilgrimage to Ireland

Spiritual Director Father Darrin May

July 22 – August 2, 2019

 

Highlights

shrine2-cc-karenwithak

Our Lady of Knock

St. Oliver Plunkett

Venerable Matt Talbot

St. Brigid of Ireland

St. Patrick’s Cathedral

Hill of Tara

Old Mellifont Abbey

Trinity College

Church of Adam & Eve

Kilkenny Castle

Jerpoint Abbey

Holycross Abbey

Rock of Cashel

Gougane Barra

Blarney Castle

Cliffs of Moher

Bunratty Castle & Folk Park

Ballintubber Abbey

Kylemore Abbey

Croagh Patrick and more…

Get all the Details 

https://www.journeysoffaith.com/ireland-2019

Click here for Pricing and Special Offers

#irelandpilgrimage

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Journeys of Faith Italy Pilgrimage


Pilgrimage to Poland

January 29, 2019

Bob & Penny Lord’s Ministry

Journeys of Faith®father tim forget

Pilgrimage to Poland

with Fr. Tim Forget

June 11 – 20, 2019

 

Highlights

Journeys of Faith Italy Pilgrimage

  • Warsaw – Blessed Fr. Jerzy Popieluszko – St. Faustina’s motherhouse

  • Niepokalanow– City of the Immaculata – St. Maxmilian Kolbe

  • Glogowiec – Birthplace of St. Faustina

  • Plock- Convent where St. Faustina had her first vision of Jesus

  • Czestochowa – Shrine of Our Lady of Jasna Gora

  • Auschwitz – the infamous death camp of the Nazis

  • Krakow– Shrine of St. Faustina

  • Wawel Cathedral – where Pope Saint John Paul II was ordained Bishop of Krakow. This is the shrine of St. Stanislaus, patron Saint of Poland – St. Mary’s Church – A very special place for pilgrims. Listen to the silver trumpet of the bugler of St. Mary’s

  • Wadowice – Birthplace of Pope Saint John Paul II

  • Kalwaria – One of Saint John Paul II’s favorite Shrines, the Sanctuary of Kalwaria Zebrzydowska, which dates back to 1601

Get all the details click here

https://www.journeysoffaith.com/poland-june-2019

Click here for Pricing and Special Offer

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Pilgrimage to Italy

January 29, 2019

Bob & Penny Lord’s Ministry

Journeys of Faith®St. Peters Basilica in Rome

Pilgrimage to Italy

Spiritual Director Father Andrew Walshwalsh

June 24 – July 7, 2019

Highlights

St. Peter’s Basilica

St. Mary Major Basilica

St. Paul Outside the Walls

St. John Lateran – Scala Santa

Vatican Museum – Sistine Chapel

Pope Francis General Audience
St. Rita of Cascia

St. Francis and St. Clare of Assisi

St. Clare of Montefalco

St. Veronica Giuliani

St. Joseph of Cupertino

Our Lady of Loreto – Holy House of Loreto

Lanciano

Padre Pio

Cave of St. Michael

St. Gerard Majella

St. Philomena

Our Lady of Pompeii – Bl Bartolo Longo – Ruins of Old Pompeii

St. Benedict

St. Maria Goretti and more…

Get the full details

https://www.journeysoffaith.com/italy-14-day-highlights-2019

Click here for Pricing and Special Offers

#italypilgrimage

#journeysoffaith


Saint Thomas Aquinas

January 27, 2019

Thomas AquinasSaint Thomas Aquinas is one of the greatest minds Our Lord Jesus gave to the Church. He was a tremendous logician, using an uncanny gift for cutting through jungles of verbiage to come to a simple conclusion, especially about our Faith. This was needed sorely in the Church of his time, and possibly more so in the Church of our time. Most seminaries, following the teachings of the Magisterium of the Church, use Thomas Aquinas’ teachings as part of their curriculum.
Thomas’ walk to the Lord was not an easy one. Well, let me rephrase. It was never a problem for him. He knew exactly what he wanted, and what the Lord was calling him to do. The problem was his family’s. They never agreed with Thomas’ decision to enter the Order of Preachers. They pictured him as spending the better part of his life as Abbot of Monte Cassino, the famous Benedictine Abbey.
To give his family some credit, they were from the upper class. He came from a long line of counts. Of noble lineage, his father was a knight, and his aspirations for Thomas were to follow in his footsteps. It is believed he was born in the year 1225. When he was a child, lightening struck the house during a violent thunderstorm and his little sister was killed, but Thomas was left unscathed. However, it was a very traumatic experience for the young Thomas, which resulted in his being nervous during thunderstorms. Because he was spared, there is a popular devotion to him as Patron of thunderstorms and sudden death.
His family obsessed on the Benedictine community at Monte Cassino. From the time when he was a young boy, it was pretty well decided this is where he would spend his life, and as we told you before, they had great plans for him to spend his years as Abbott in essence a Bishop. So, when St. Thomas was five years old he was entered as an oblate in the Benedictine Abbey of Monte Cassino, and remained there until he was thirteen.

From there, Thomas spent five years studying the arts and sciences at the University of Naples; and it is there he became attracted to the Order of Preachers. Friars watching him highly absorbed in prayer said they could see rays of light shining above his head. One of them told him, “Our Lord has given you to our Order.” Thomas expressed his ardent desire to join the Preachers, but as his family would object strenuously, he felt it wiser to wait. Three years passed and at age nineteen Thomas attempted to join the Dominicans.
Thomas had been right. Although they did not mind him becoming a religious, they objected rigorously to his becoming a mendicant friar; the Benedictines were more to their liking. His mother set out to persuade him to leave the Dominicans. But the friars took him away before she could come and spirit him from them. Then his brothers and some soldiers set out to abduct him; and abduct him they did. They caught him resting by the roadside and after failing to rip his habit from his body, brought him to the family’s castle. He was refused any visitors except his worldly sister. During his imprisonment St. Thomas studied a book by Peter Lombard, memorized a great part of the Holy Bible, and even wrote a treatise on the errors of Aristotle.
Failing at all their attempts to dissuade him, the family sent a lady of ill repute to seduce him. When he saw her, he brandished a hot iron and chased her out of the room. There is another version, and it is up to you which you believe; but this recounting tells of his sister coming into the room to persuade him to leave and he not only converted her, she not much later joined the Benedictine Order as a Nun and finally became Abbess, which is very possible, because it would have made the family happy, and also would have encouraged them to leave Thomas alone.
He was held captive for two years before his family threw up their hands and gave up. They allowed him to return to the Dominicans. He was sent to study under St. Albert the Great; and because he remained silent during many of the disputations, they conferred on him the nickname, “dumb Sicilian ox.” One of the students, feeling pity for him began tutoring him. But one day when his tutor became stumped and could not explain a lesson, St. Thomas elaborated on it so brilliantly the student brought it to St. Albert’s attention and the next day he gave Thomas a test in front of the whole student body. His answers were so brilliant, his instructor said, “We call Brother Thomas the dumb ox, but I tell you he will make his lowing heard to the uttermost parts of the earth.”
But as brilliant as he was, he was that much more pious. When he celebrated the Mass, during the Consecration, he became so enraptured, he was moved to tears. His biographer, William da Tocco wrote ìwhen consecrating (the bread and wine) at Mass, he would be overcome by such intensity of devotion as to be dissolved in tears, utterly absorbed in its mysteries and nourished with its fruits.î

Although he was sent to Paris where he received his “doctor’s chair,” they would soon lose him to Rome, where he taught as “preacher general” in the Papal School. His new position took him to many parts of Italy where he imparted his wisdom.
St. Thomas Aquinas was involved in the compelling mandate of the Lord to have a Feast Day instituted in honor of the Blessed Sacrament. Jesus dazzled the world of the Thirteenth Century by giving them a Miracle of the Eucharist which began in Prague, Czechoslovakia, and ended in Bolsena, Italy, to focus our attention for His need and desire for a Feast Day in honor of the Blessed Sacrament.

Learn more about Miracle of the Eucharist of Bolsena

Learn more about Saint Thomas Aquinas

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Scenes from Saint Paul Outside the Walls

January 26, 2019

We want to share these scenes from the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls in Rome

Learn more about Saint Paul


Saint Paul’s Conversion

January 25, 2019

St. Paul the Apostle

“May I never boast of anything
but the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ!”
Gal 6:14St. Paul Outside the Walls

In the history of our Church, no man stands out more clearly as a zealot and role model, than does St. Paul, the Apostle. The Church as we know it today, the Church of the Gentiles, would not exist were it not for the unceasing pursuit of Paul to bring the Gospel to the four corners of the earth. He took to heart, Jesus’ command, “Go into the whole world, and proclaim the good news to all creation.”
Paul has always impressed us by his singleness of purpose, his unflinching courage, his relentless drive, and his ability to stir men’s hearts, whether by his public speaking, or by his writings. Luke has chronicled the experiences of Paul in the Acts of the Apostles. They read like tales of high adventure. Paul’s letters have inspired the greatest minds of our Church, including, but not limited to St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Anthony, St. John of the Cross, and St. Teresa of Avila. Read about any of the great Saints; you’ll find the teachings of Paul. Of all the Apostles, for us, he is the most touchable, the most approachable, the most identifiable. From this, you can gather that we are great fans of St. Paul.
We feel very close to Paul. Although we are born Catholics, we consider ourselves converts, or rather, we are converting. It’s a never-ending process. When we first came back to the Church, we were overwhelmed by all the exciting people and things she had to offer. We were like kids in a candy store. There was so much more than we could absorb; so we didn’t key into Paul, and his powerful role in the Church, right away. It wasn’t until our first pilgrimage to Rome that we met Paul in a very personal way.
I think it’s important for all of us, just once in our lives, to go to the places of the Saints, so that we can soak up their spirit, which never leaves these areas. There is such a strong sense of the Saints at their shrines. It permeates your skin, and goes deep into your soul.
That’s what happened when we went to the Church of St. Paul Outside the Walls, in Rome. Paul was martyred in this area. After the Church was legitimized by Constantine, his bones were brought back to this spot, to be his final resting place. When we walked through the gates of the courtyard, a formidable statue of St. Paul loomed high above us. He wielded a huge sword; he stared deep into our souls. He was so strong! We asked our guide why he was buried outside the city walls. The guide raised himself to his full five feet, two inches, and proclaimed, “It was his right as a Roman citizen, Signor. The Christians were fed to the lions in the Colosseum during the persecution. But Paul was allowed to die outside the city walls with dignity, as was his birthright.” That didn’t make any sense. He was a Pharisee from the Holy Land, as best we knew. He was converted in Damascus, knocked down off his high horse, so to speak. How did he get to be a Roman citizen?Mamertine Prison in Church on Roman Forum
Then we went to the Mamertine Prison in Rome. This was Paul’s home prior to his death. We walked down, deep into the dark, damp hole of the cave, There was a dim light from a bare 30 watt bulb, dangling from the ceiling. An exhaust fan made a feeble attempt to suck out the foul-smelling, humid air, which permeated the prison. It was damp and gloomy, a very depressing scene. And that was now, in the twentieth century! We could not begin to imagine how it had been when Paul was imprisoned here. Our priest was well-versed in Scripture, and the historical background of the Gospel. He shared with us the ending of Paul’s letter to the Philippians. He shared Paul’s last testimony to Timothy. They are the most touching, uplifting, beautiful letters Paul wrote. And they were written here, in the stinking bowels of the earth. We had never known much about this pioneer and martyr for our Faith, but here in this cell, we came to love him very much.
That’s how they get you, these Saints. You ask a little question; you discover something that doesn’t quite fit in, and the next thing you know, you’re deeply engrossed in the life of the Saint. This is how we began to learn about Paul. We didn’t do it to share with anyone. We were in love with Church. This man was our Church! We had to know more about him. Who was he? What made him turn so completely towards Jesus and the Gospel message, at the height of his persecution of the Church?

We know now, why the Lord gave us the gift of being able to search out and study this man. Jesus wants us to know about those who struggled and died for us; He wants us to be proud of our ancestors, and never forget them! He wants us to follow in their footsteps.

On that note, we invite you learn more about the Saints.

Want to be happy? Learn More

Want to be at peace? Learn More

Want to become a Saint? Learn More

Weekend Retreat on How to become a Saint

Want to Become a Saint?

Want to be happy?

Want to be at peace?

Want to get to Heaven?

Then you want to become a Saint?

Many, many times Bob and Penny Lord would remind us that in times of crisis, Jesus would raise up Saints. Certainly we can see that our entire World is in a crisis. We need God in our lives.

We need to come together and learn the Secrets of Holiness.

The Foundations of Holiness are simple and the resources are available.

Here are the Seven Foundations to become a Saint quickly:

1. Saint Louis de Monfort – To Jesus through Mary – True Devotion – Predicted the future Saints

2. Saint Therese of Lisieux – The little way

3. Saint Faustina Kowalska – Divine Mercy

4. Saint John Paul II – Encyclicals

5. Saint Teresa of Calcutta

6. Saint Ignatius of Loyola – Spiritual Exercises

7. Bob and Penny Lord – Lives of the Saints

Saint Faustina’s Prayer:

“O God, one in the Holy Trinity, I want to love You as no human soul has ever loved You before; and although I am utterly miserable and small, I have, nevertheless, cast the anchor of my trust deep down into the abyss of Your mercy. 

In spite of my great misery I fear nothing, but hope to sing You a hymn of glory forever. Let no soul, even the most miserable, fall prey to doubt, for, as long as one is alive, each one can become a great Saint, so great is the power of God’s grace. It remains only for us to not to oppose God’s action.”

Would you be interested in a Weekend Retreat that will take the 7 Foundations above and combine them to reveal the Secret to Sainthood? Learn More

 

#saintpaul

#journeysoffaith


Saint Francis de Sales

January 23, 2019

St. Francis de Sales

stfrancisdesales

“The measure of love is to love without measure.”

Whenever the Church is threatened, the Lord raises up a Saint or two or brings about Miracles. In this instance, the Lord raised up two Saints, St. Francis de Sales, the Bishop of Geneva, a Doctor of the Church, and Founder of a Religious Order and St. Jane Frances de Chantal. He also gave us many Miracles, including the softening of men’s hearts.

The years 1567 through 1622 were not great years for Catholics in Switzerland. They were not especially good years for a bishop of the Catholic Church, in particular the Bishop of Geneva. For that task, the Lord had to search all over Heaven until He could find a special soul who would not only be capable of pastoring the people of God during the period of hell caused by John Calvin, but would be willing to take on the job. The soul who would be Francis de Sales was the perfect candidate. So the Lord blessed him, gave him special Angels to guide and protect him, covered him in the mantle of Mother Mary, and sent him on his way. He was to be the first of thirteen babies the Lord would give to this special family. But of all, this was the prize, given from the Lord.

The Angels delivered the future St. Francis de Sales to a beautiful château in what was called Thorens at that time, but today is just outside the breathtakingly city of Annecy, France, on Lake Geneva. He was born in a château on August 21, 1567. His family was part of the House of Savoie, which was a noble family in Europe. On the following day St. Francis was baptized in the Parish church of Thorens, and given the name Francis Bonaventure. His patron saint was the Little Poverello of Assisi. He was named after St. Francis and Bonaventure, another famous Franciscan and Doctor of the Church. [St. Bonaventure, Seraphic Doctor, was born just five years before St. Francis died, and followed in the Poverello’s footsteps.] The combination of qualities exemplified in Francis, who was all heart, and in Bonaventure, who was brilliant, were just the traits young Francis would need in his ministry for the Church, as he grew in body and spirit.

What were his parents thinking about for this, their first baby? Would he continue in the House of Savoie, taking care of the land, his heritage? Would Francis Bonaventure follow in the footsteps of his namesakes? Although we read that both parents were traditional Catholics, could they have had any idea what they were doing when they gave such powerful names to their newborn? Nothing is by coincidence, not even the naming of a child. Unless it is God’s Holy Coincidence.

The room in which he was born was known as St. Francis’ room, because of a painting in the room of the Saint preaching to the birds and the fishes. It was always young Francis’ favorite painting of his namesake, as was this his favorite room.

Francis was born prematurely, leaving him frail and delicate, physically challenged as a young child. But he was never Spiritually challenged. From his earliest childhood, he was unusually active and energetic. He was a product of Home Schooling in his early years. His mother kept his education in her own hands, aided by a tutor, Abbé Déage, a local priest who was very learned. As Francis grew, this priest became his tutor, traveling with him everywhere during his youth. Beautiful traits were instilled in him by the Lord, who guided his mother in his upbringing his entire life. He was obedient and truthful no matter what the consequences. In addition, he was a voracious reader; he devoured every book he could get. He was very eager to learn. The Lord was gearing him up for a mighty job and he couldn’t begin too soon.

#francisdesales #journeysoffaith

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