Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Saint Pope Paul VI - Matthew Bunson - Celebrating the 262nd Pope of the Roman Catholic Church

Saint Pope Paul VI:
Celebrating the 262nd Pope of the Roman Catholic Church
Matthew Bunson
Sophia Institute Press
ISBN 9781682780701


Over the last few years I have read several books both by and about Pope Paul VI. With his canonization in 2018, and the 50th anniversary of the publication of Humanae Vitae there has been a lot of interest in in the man and his works. And this book is an excellent addition to that area of scholarship, and devotion. That book once started is hard to put down. And it reads as part biography, part academic treatise, and part exhortation from the wisdom of Paul VI’s writings.

This is the second book written by Matthew Bunson that I have read, and both are excellent reads. Bunson writes in such an open and honest way. Bunson presents Paul VI, as a man, a man with faults, but a man with a deep devotion and passion for God. The first words of Paul VI that we encounter are before the book begins:

“I must bear witness to his name: Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God (Matt. 16:16). He reveals the invisible God, he is the firstborn of all creation, the foundation of everything created. He is the Teacher of mankind, and its Redeemer. He was born, he died, and he rose again for us. He is the center of history and of the world; he is the one who knows us and who loves us; he is the companion and the friend of our life. He is the man of sorrows and of hope. It is he who will come and who one day will be our judge and — we hope — the everlasting fullness of our existence, our happiness.”

Taken from a Homily for Mass at Quezon Circle, the Philippines November 29, 1970. Paul VI had an unenviable task. When he was elected pope, the church was in the middle of Vatican Council II. There was speculation oat the time that he would cancel it, or even radically change its direction. Instead he saw it through in the spirit of Saint Pope John XXIII and spend the rest of his pontificate defending both the counsel and his own writings. He was the first pope that was known as a world traveller. He dispensed with many of the trappings of the Papacy. Sold off papal gear to finance ministry and trips. He was the first pope to set foot in Jerusalem. And made 9 trips during his pontificate including the United States, Middle East, Africa, India, and Philippines.

Many consider his works prophetic. And reading them with an open mind I do not see how you could disagree. You might not like his conclusions, and how society as a whole has changed. But he saw much of the result the changes that had started.

The chapters in this volume are:

1. The Life and Holiness of Pope St. Paul VI
2. Jesus Christ
3. The Church
4. Mary
5. The Second Vatican Council
6. Credo of the People of God
7. The Mass and the Sacraments
8. Joy
9. Marriage, Life, and Family
10. The Human Person
11. The Modern World
12. Peace
13. Prayer, Holiness, and the Life of Faith
14. The Testament of Pope Paul VI
Selected Writings of Pope St. Paul VI

The book draws heavily from the writings of Paul VI and is in fact written around his own words. It is an excellent addition to the canon of work about Paul VI, and one of the first published after his canonization. It does not matter if you are interested in Paul VI, ad a man, as a priest, or as a pope, this book will give you a great deal of detail around the man and his thought.

It is a wonderful volume, and a book I will likely return to again as I continue my studies on Paul VI and his works. If you have already read about Paul this will be a great read. If you have not read much about him, it is an excellent introduction. A great read no matter your level of interest and I highly recommend it.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2018 Catholic Reading Plan!

Other books by or about Pope Paul VI:
Love's True Meaning The Message of Humanae Vitae 50 Years On - Fr Anthony Doe
Paul VI - Anthony Symondson- CTS Biographies
Wisdom from Pope Paul VI - Mary Leonora Wilson FSP
Saint Pope Paul VI  - Matthew Bunson

Books by Matthew Bunson:
Apostle of the Exiled St. Damien of Molokai
Our Sunday Visitor's Encyclopedia of Saints
Encyclopedia of Ancient Rome
Encyclopedia of the Roman Empire
Encyclopedia of U.S. Catholic History
A Dictionary of the Roman Empire
Saint Kateri: Lily of the Mohawks
John Paul II's Book of Saints

Saint Peter's Catholic Church A Photo Essay

Saint Peter's Catholic Church A Photo Essay

Photos taken Sunday October 28th 2018 at Saint Peter’s in Zurich Ontario, from the Diocese of London.

Monday, 10 December 2018

Father Damien's Letters - Joseph Damien De Veuster

Father Damien's Letters
Joseph Damien De Veuster
Congregation of he Sacred Hearts SS.CC.
788 p

I have been fascinated by Father Damien for many years now. When I heard about this book I searched and searched but could not find out any information about it. I went back and asked the author who had mentioned it. He told me about where it came from. I reached out to a few sources and finally was gifted a copy, I just had to cover the postage from Ireland. The book is not available commercially. But if you can lay your hands on it, it is a treasure. I typically do not keep physical books, instead donate most to school libraries. But this is one that will be going on my favorites shelf. I have read it once and am now reading it again at a much slower pace.

The note on the inside back dust jacket is:

In Jesus we find everything!
Father Coudrin, the Founder of
The Congregation liked to repeat
Those words. Surely, this was true
Also of Damien. In Jesus he found
The way to savor God along the
Journey of his life, and t hrough
Jesus he became an inspiration for
Others, Many join the
Congregation because of his
Example and many others,
Christian and those belonging to
Other religions, have been inspired
By his generous gift of self to serve
Those marginalized and ostracized.

A quote by Javier Alvarez-Ossorio ss.cc., Superior General taken from the preface. Speaking of the preface the chapters in the book are:

A Synopsis of the Times of Father Damien's Ministry 
A Chronology of Father Damien's Life
     Part I. Europe (1848-1863)
     Part II. Hawai'i (March 1864- May 1873)
     Part III. Moloka'i (May 10, 1873 - 1885)
     Part IV. Kalawao (1886-1889)
     Part V. Cards and Fragments
     Part VI. Appendices 
Index of Names
Statistical Overview
Chronological List of Father Damien's Letters

The volume contains 354 letters with footnotes, beginning in December of 1848 with a letter to his parents and concluding with a letter dated April 17th, 1889 written by Father Wendelin ss.cc. on Damien's last days. The last letter by Damien is dated March 15th 1889. There are 8 cards or fragments of letters

The read the words of this saint, is inspiring to say the least. And to date this is the most comprehensive section to date, and maybe that we will ever see. I have a feeling that this is a book I will read again and again. My only wish is that eventually an edition will be published for the general public, and that at that time there is an eBook edition. But this limited edition is a beautiful book. And I am very thankful to have had the opportunity to encounter it, and read it. It has already been a blessing.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2018 Catholic Reading Plan

Reviews of Books and Movies about Saint Damien:
Apostle of the Exiled St. Damien of Molokai - Margaret Bunson & Matthew Bunson
Pilgrimage and Exile: Mother Marianne of Molokai by: Sister Mary Laurence Hanley, O.S.F.
Molokai: The Story of Father Damien by: Paul Cox
Molokai: The Story of Father Damien
Saint Damien of Molokai - Virginia Helen Richards and D. Thomas Halpin
Father Damien de Veuster Apostle to the Lepers - Glynn MacNiven-Johnston
The Life and Letters of Father Damien, Apostle of the Lepers - Edited by Pamphile De Veuster 

Father Damien's Letters

Prayer of the Day - Saint Damien Prayer

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary & The Second Sunday of Advent 2018

Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary & The Second Sunday of Advent 2018

The readings for the Immaculate Conception Saturday December 8th:

First Reading Genesis 3:9-15, 20
Responsorial Psalm 98: 1-4 Response 1a
Second Reading Ephesians 1:3-6, 11-12 
Gospel Luke 1:26-38

The readings for the Second Sunday of Advent:

First Reading Burach 5:1-9
Responsorial Psalm 126:1-6 Response 3
Second Reading Philippians 1:3-6, 8-11 
Gospel Luke 3:1-6

What really spoke to me from the readings from both masses this weekend are the responses for the responsorial psalms.

“Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things.”


“The lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.”

I have written several times in these reflections on the mass reading about my desire to live more joy. Seeking to live joy and striving for a saintly life have been the quest. And each year that passes I feel the need for both more keenly. Each day I pray a “Consecration To Merciful Love” from the study 33 Days to Merciful Love by Father Michael E. Gaitley. Part of that prayer is:

“Finally, I believe, my God, that you can and will make me into a saint, even if I won’t see it, even if I have to struggle all my life against vice and sin, even if I have to wait until the very end. This blind hope in your mercy, O Lord, is my only treasure.”

I also pray that my actions live up to my theology. The last two decades have been a process of learning to be and learning to be better at being. Part of the growth over that period, is due to honest self examination, and daily examination of conscience. I am no where near where I would like to be as a husband, as a father, as a friend, as a man. But I am working on it. And the progress may be slow, and there may be back steps. But I pray, I seek, I hope, and I trust in God. 

And how does that tie to our readings this week? The Lord has done marvelous things, and great things for us, and in us. I am not where I want to be, but I have seen growth. And true growth not just change. I am not the man I was last year, or 10 years ago, or 25 years ago. Heck there are times I am not the man I was last week, or even yesterday. But I do sing to and for God. I do celebrate the joy coming into the world. And for the last few weeks I have been listening to Matt Maher’s new album ‘The Advent of Christmas’ I usually struggle during the holiday season. More a season of blues and looking back with regret. But this year is different. It is more purple and hope, then blues and despair. 

Ans so I pray: Lord fill us with your joy, help us to recognize all you do for us, and have done for us, and help us to sing a new song unto you. Forever more. 

Note: Link to all posts about St. Agnes Parish.

Saturday, 8 December 2018

Product Review - Coast Protein Cricket Protein Powder Chocolate

Coast Protein Cricket Protein Powder,
Chocolate, Dairy Free, Gluten-Free, Non-GMO,
454g /1lb
20 Servings
Coast Protein

Chirp, Chirp. My first thought when I saw this product was to wonder how many crickets it takes to make a pound of protein powder. After it arrived, I posted a picture of the packaging. It got mix responses, most negative. But the more I read about this product, and this company the more intrigued I became. Some facts about Cricket’s from the back of the packaging:

Crickets are 67% Protein
Crickets are Very High in B12
Crickets are High in Iron.

Compared to Cows for other sources of protein and protein powder:

2000 times less water use
100 times less emissions
13 times less land usage

So if you are of a more environmental mindset there are some extra perks right there. If you want to try something different this is a good place to start. A single serving of this powder has 140% of your B12, and 29% of Magnesium, 90 Calories and 20 g of protein. It also has a wide range of 9 different amino acids.

I have tested this mixed with just water (a little chalky).
With milk (pretty good).
As a smoothie with chocolate milk and ice cream (very good).
And as a smoothie with Chocolate milk, frozen raspberries and blueberries (also very good).

The companies stated purpose is to: “normalize insect protein for a healthy and sustainable future.” Their cricket powder is good for the planet and good for us. There is one discrepancy on amazon it states 20 servings per package, and the packaging states 13. So depending on how many servings you get it will be between $2-$3 per serving.

Overall, I was very impressed with the product. Normally chocolate protein powders usually smell grate but have not so good taste. That was not the case. My 10 year old son did not like It but I have had a number of servings now and have had a little after taste from the stevia, but other than that no issues. It does get a bit chunky towards the bottom of the glass, but no more so than some other powders I have tried. And no you will not be picking legs or wings out of your teeth. On the company website there are numerous recipes, for cookies and smoothies. The powder also comes in a Vanilla Flavor and Peanut Butter. If either are as good as this then they are worth checking out also.