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Copyright © 2014, B.F.S. All rights reserved. Newsletter - June, 2014 [Plain text version]

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* Greetings

* MCS News & Notes

* The Month of June: Dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

* Resources for Pentecost

* "The most efficacious means by which the benefits of the Holy Spirit are to be acquired..." (A Sermon for Pentecost)

* Liturgical Feasts in June

* 'Catholic Trivia' [Themed: Mottos & Last Words]

* Defending the Faith: "Apologetics Brief" - Do You Think Baptism is Merely an External Sign?

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Dear Friend,

"We are keeping the feast of Pentecost and of the Coming of the Spirit, and the appointed time of the Promise, and the fulfillment of our hope. And how great, how august, is the Mystery." (St. Gregory Nazianzen, Doctor of the Church)

Greetings! We pray this newsletter finds you and yours doing well. With the approach of summer, we send our best wishes for a safe, blessed & enjoyable vacation to all those who will be traveling. Also, if you'd like some good Catholic activities to complement your summer plans, please visit our expanded Catholic Fun & Activities section at . Here you can find crossword puzzles, word searches, coloring activities, mazes, travel activities, and more... We hope you will enjoy it.

This month, important dates on the Catholic calendar include the following...

Pentecost Sunday - 6/8/14

Ember Days (T) - 6/11, 6/13, 6/14

Trinity Sunday - 6/15/14

Corpus Christi - 6/19/14 (may be transferred to 6/22/14)

Sacred Heart of Jesus - 6/27/14

Immaculate Heart of Mary (N) - 6/28/14

Also, note that some special plenary indulgences may be available in June. For more information, please visit Also, please see links below for resources for selected June feasts.

Lastly, We hope you will also consider joining us for Rosary Week to be held from 10/20-10/26/14. We think you will find this to be a spiritually rewarding event. Participation is easy, free, and takes only a little time. You can sign up for one day, a few days, or for the entire week. You can participate at any time of day or night. And, you can join us from the comfort of your own home or even from your parish. We hope you will join us & other Catholics throughout the world in praying the Holy Rosary for some worthy intentions. Please also invite your family & friends. Sign up today at

Thank you for a valued subscriber!

May God grant you abundant blessings,

Your Friends at

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"And may the very God of all, who spoke by the Holy Ghost through the prophets, who sent Him forth upon the Apostles on the day of Pentecost in this place, Himself send Him forth at this time also upon you; and by Him keep us also, imparting His benefit in common to us all, that we may ever render up the fruits of the Holy Christ Jesus our Lord: By whom and with whom, together with the Holy Ghost, be glory to the Father, both now, and ever, and for ever and ever. Amen." (St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Doctor of the Church)

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MCS News & Notes

* Rosary Week: The signup sheet for our Sixth Annual Rosary Week is ready and waiting for you! To sign up today, please visit . We hope you will consider joining us in this prayerful endeavor that others have called "very special", "a wonderful idea", "a worthy spiritual exercise", "uplifting", a "wonderful event", "a fantastic idea", "very spiritually rewarding", "much needed", and "a great way for Catholics to bring themselves to [pray] the rosary". We have tried hard to make participation easy and remove any objections that people may have (e.g. you can sign up anonymously, no e-mail address is required to sign up, the event is totally free, you can participate for just one day, you can pray at any time and from any appropriate location...). We really hope you will join us!

* Can you help spread the word about Rosary Week? Please visit and click on the 'Fliers' link for fliers you can print and hand out (and perhaps post at your parish?). Please note that convenient 'toner-saving' Rosary Week fliers are available that contain a white background and print in black & white. Or, if you like, you can choose the more colorful versions. All fliers are in .pdf format [Note: For best results, fit fliers to page before printing]

* Site Redesign Update: As of May, we have implemented some 'finishing touches' to the site (e.g. neatening borders at right, mapping the Christ the King image on the top border to the encyclical Quas Primas, etc.) and we are now considering the site redesign to be complete. If you have any comments or questions about our new look, please contact us using the form at . We always welcome your feedback!

* New News Link: We have added a link to the Vatican Television Center to our Catholic News Links page. To view Catholic News Links, please visit

* New System Update: We are almost finished transitioning to our new system. At this time, things seem to be going pretty smoothly (for the most part). However, if you experience any problems communicating with us via e-mail, please let us know (e.g. via chat, telephone or online form).

* Proposed URL Shortcut Changes: We have reevaluated our URL shortcuts and believe that the destination pages for the following URL shortcuts should be changed. However, we wanted to offer visitors the opportunity to comment before making these alterations. If you have any comments or concerns about these changes, please let us know. You can submit comments here - . [Note: To view a list of current URL shortcuts, please visit ]

Apologetics - Proposed change FROM TO

Blessed Virgin Mary (all 3 shortcuts) - Proposed change FROM TO

Indulgences - Proposed change FROM TO

Rosary - Proposed change FROM TO

Purgatory (only shortcut, NOT shortcut) - Proposed change FROM TO

Saints Section (to be shortened to 'Saints') - Proposed change FROM TO

Scapulars - Proposed change FROM TO

* For fasting / abstinence information for Ember Days & the Vigil of Pentecost, please visit

* For Corpus Christi resources, please try here -

* For resources for Trinity Sunday, please try here -

* For information on indulgences that may be available in June, please visit

* With June may come weddings & (unfortunately) also a general increase in immodest dress. For wedding information, please try the Catholic Wedding Topic Page at . If you would like more information on the sacrament of holy matrimony, please visit . For information on modest / immodest dress, please visit . Note that this page includes a link to a free flier that can be printed.

* Reminder: Don't forget your priest this Father's Day (6/15 in the U.S.). [Note: For priest-themed quotes such as: "Our parents begot us by blood and the will of the flesh, but priests make us children of God; blessed regeneration, true freedom, and adoption according to grace." (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church), see the Reflections links appearing on the Priest Topic Page at ]

* Vatican gift items (e.g. flags, key chains, decals, pins) are still available in our fundraiser and are a great way to show that you're Catholic. They are reasonably priced, starting under $5.00 (including shipping). Tax, if applicable, may be added. While supplies last. To get yours, please go to

* Will you or a loved one be traveling this year? Did you know there are a number of patron saints for travelers? For a listing of patron saints for travelers, visit (tip: search by category 'Hobbies & Travel', or search for patronage 'travel', 'journey', etc.). Also, for prayers for travelers & motorists, visit

* Please invite your friends to visit For our "easy to use" invite-a-friend page, please visit . Please invite some friends today! Your support helps keep us going!

* We love to hear from you! Please submit comments at

* Have friends or family that might benefit from our newsletter? Please invite them to subscribe at . Thank you!

- - - - - App News...

* Did You Know? You may be able to follow iStations (our Stations of the Cross app) on a big-screen television - which can be quite handy for family devotions. We have added a new demo image showing iStations being viewed on a big-screen television to this page - . To view the image, click the 'iStations' link near the top of the page and scroll down to the 'Did You Know?' area. [Please note: The image shows the Apple version of iStations. As there is so much variety in Android devices, we cannot say whether or not it is likewise possible to do this with any given Android device. Also please note that we regret that we cannot provide technical support or answer questions regarding setup, equipment, software, system requirements, settings, etc. concerning the possibility of streaming (any version of) iStations to a television. Please do NOT contact us for assistance with these matters.] To download an iOS version of iStations, please visit . For the Android version of iStations, please visit or

* If you don't yet own our Catholic Bible References app, why not get it today? This app is a great memory aid for truths of the Catholic faith that conveniently puts important scripture passages at your fingertips. It is a handy apologetics tool that can be used to help Catholics discuss & defend the faith. It features hundreds of key bible references conveniently arranged by topic, 100+ tips for locating related passages (including those related to defending the Catholic faith among 'Jehovah's Witnesses' & Mormons), modern / traditional scripture translations, a convenient index, an easy / quick / comprehensive search, selectable text, Old Testament / New Testament indicator, a quick, easy-to-use interface, and more... Last month, a kind user sent us the following feedback about this app...

"Love this app! A must for any Catholic with an iPhone. Easy to navigate, colourful, and very informative. For the price I have to say it's one of the best resources for referencing Catholic verses in Holy Scripture. Even with the small glitch (when used with lOS7**) it's still well worth it."

Download your copy of this 'must-have' app today at . Have an Android device? You can add your name to our waiting list at

[** Note: For more information about the "small glitch" when this app is used with iOS7, please visit ]

* Please help! We need app sales & reviews to be able to keep our apps (and our site) going. Please consider purchasing our apps today. You can find out more about our apps at . If you've purchased any of our apps, we encourage you to please leave a review at your place of purchase. Favorable reviews really help us out! To view selected reviews, please visit

* For more information concerning currently available apps, please visit (shortcut: )

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* Please see our Notices page at for dates of anticipated service delays through August 2014

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* Please visit our Notices page for timely news and other important information regarding -

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The Month of June: Dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

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"This devotion [to the Sacred Heart of Jesus], which We recommend to all, will be profitable to all." (Pope Leo XIII)

"We do not hesitate to declare that devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is the most effective school of the love of God; the love of God, We say, which must be the foundation on which to build up the kingdom of God in the hearts of individuals, families, and nations" (Pope Pius XII, "Haurietis Aquas", 1956 A.D.)

"Is not a summary of all our religion and moreover, a guide to a more perfect life contained in this one devotion [to the Sacred Heart of Jesus]? Indeed, it more easily leads our minds to know Christ the Lord intimately and more effectively turns our heads to love Him more ardently and to imitate Him more perfectly." (Pope Pius XI)

"We think it opportune to exhort you once again venerable brethren, and through you all those dear children of Ours in Christ, to continue to exercise an ever more vigorous zeal in promoting this most attractive form of piety; for from it in our times also We trust that very many benefits will arise." (Pope Pius XII, "Haurietis Aquas", 1956 A.D.)

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Related Resources...

* Sacred Heart of Jesus (Topic Page) -

* Sacred Heart of Jesus (Reflections) -

* Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus (Incl. 'Sacred Heart Promises') -

* Sacred Heart of Jesus / Prayers (Incl. consecration prayers) -

* Litany of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus -

* Annum Sacrum: On Consecration To The Sacred Heart, Pope Leo XIII -

* Caritate Christi Compulsi: On Reparation To The Sacred Heart, Pope Pius XI -

* Haurietis Aquas: On Devotion To The Sacred Heart, Pope Pius XII -

* Miserentissimus Redemptor: On Reparation To The Sacred Heart, Pope Pius XI -

* Sacred Heart of Jesus (Coloring Page) [shaded] -

* Sacred Heart of Jesus (Crossword Puzzle) -

Looking For Something Else? Try Our Various Indexes For 15,000+ Entries -

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"It is altogether impossible to enumerate the heavenly gifts which devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus has poured out on the souls of the faithful, purifying them, offering them heavenly strength, rousing them to the attainment of all virtues." (Pope Pius XII)

"In truth if the arguments brought forward which form the foundation for the devotion to the pierced Heart of Jesus are duly pondered, it is surely clear that there is no question here of some ordinary form of piety which anyone at his own whim may treat as of little consequence or set aside as inferior to others, but of a religious practice which helps very much towards the attaining of Christian perfection." (Pope Pius XII)

"[T]here is no doubt that Christians in paying homage to the Sacred Heart of the Redeemer are fulfilling a serious part of their obligations in their service of God and, at the same time, they are surrendering themselves to their Creator and Redeemer with regard to both the affections of the heart and the external activities of their life; in this way, they are obeying that divine commandment: 'Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind, and with thy whole strength.' Besides, they have the firm conviction that they are moved to honor God not primarily for their own advantage in what concerns soul and body in this life and in the next, but for the sake of God's goodness they strive to render Him their homage, to give Him back love for love, to adore Him and offer Him due thanks." (Pope Pius XII)

"We therefore urge all Our children in Christ, both those who are already accustomed to drink the saving waters flowing from the Heart of the Redeemer and, more especially those who look on from a distance like hesitant spectators, to eagerly embrace this devotion. Let them carefully consider, as We have said, that it is a question of a devotion which has long been powerful in the Church and is solidly founded on the Gospel narrative. It received clear support from tradition and the sacred liturgy and has been frequently and generously praised by the Roman Pontiffs themselves. These were not satisfied with establishing a feast in honor of the most Sacred Heart of the Redeemer and extending it to the Universal Church; they were also responsible for the solemn acts of dedication which consecrated the whole human race to the same Sacred Heart. Moreover, there are to be reckoned the abundant and joyous fruits which have flowed therefrom to the Church: countless souls returned to the Christian religion, the faith of many roused to greater activity, a closer tie between the faithful and our most loving Redeemer. All these benefits particularly in the most recent decades, have passed before Our eyes in greater numbers and more dazzling significance." (Pope Pius XII, "Haurietis Aquas", 1956 A.D.)

Prayer in Honor of the Sacred Heart: "Grant, we beseech Thee, Almighty God, that we who glory in the Most Sacred Heart of Thy dear Son and call to mind the chief benefits of His love toward us, may find equal joy in their achievement and in their saving effect. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen." (Raccolta)

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Resources for Pentecost

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"The Advocate, the Holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name - he will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you." (Our Lord Jesus Christ, Jn. 14:26)

"And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them." (Acts 2:2-3)

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* Pentecost (Definition) -

* Pentecost (Prophecies) -

* On the Holy Ghost and His Descent Upon the Apostles (Selections From the Baltimore Catechism, Lesson: 09) -

* Prayers for Pentecost (Incl. Links for Veni Creator Spiritus & Veni Sancte Spiritus) -

* Novena to the Holy Spirit (Friday After Ascension to Vigil of Pentecost) -

* Fasting / Vigil of Pentecost -

* Gifts & Fruits of the Holy Spirit -

* Divinum Illud Munus: On The Holy Spirit, Pope Leo XIII -

* Holy Spirit (Topic Page) -

* Gifts & Fruits of the Holy Spirit (Crossword Puzzle) -

* Holy Spirit (Word Searches) -

* Pentecost (Coloring Pages) -

Reminder: For plenary indulgence info. for the Solemnity of Pentecost, visit

Looking For Something Else? Try Our Various Indexes For 15,000+ Entries -


"I find that not only was the Holy Spirit promised to these true apostles, but that He was also sent so manifestly, that no room was left for errors on this subject." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"Therefore, when He sent the Holy Spirit He manifested Him visibly in two ways - by a dove and by fire: by a dove upon the Lord when He was baptized, by fire upon the disciples when they were gathered together. For when the Lord had ascended into heaven after His resurrection, having spent forty days with His disciples, and the day of Pentecost being fully come, He sent unto them the Holy Spirit as He had promised. Accordingly the Spirit coming at that time filled the place, and there was first a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, as we read in the Acts of the Apostles, and 'there appeared unto them,' it says, 'cloven tongues as of fire, and it sat upon each of them; and they began to speak with tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.' Here we have seen a dove descending upon the Lord; there, cloven tongues upon the assembled disciples: in the former, simplicity is shown; in the latter, fervency." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"For when on the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit fell upon an assembly of one hundred and twenty men, among whom were all the apostles; and when they, filled therewith were speaking in the language of every nation; a goodly number of those who had hated, amazed at the magnitude of the miracle (especially when they perceived in Peter's address so great and divine a testimony borne in behalf of Christ, as that He, who was slain by them and accounted amongst the dead, was proved to have risen again, and to be now alive), were pricked in their hearts and converted; and so became aware of the beneficent character of that precious blood which had been so impiously and cruelly shed, because themselves redeemed by the very blood which they had shed. For the blood of Christ was shed so efficaciously for the remission of all sins, that it could wipe out even the very sin of shedding it. With this therefore in His eye, the Lord said, 'They hated me without a cause: but when the Comforter is come, He shall bear witness of me;' saying, as it were, They hated me, and slew me when I stood visibly before their eyes; but such shall be the testimony borne in my behalf by the Comforter, that He will bring them to believe in me when I am no longer visible to their sight." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

Prayer for Pentecost: "O God, who on this day didst teach the hearts of Thy faithful people by the light of Thy Holy Spirit, grant us by the same Spirit to have a right judgment in all things and ever rejoice in His holy consolation. Through our the unity of the same." (Collect)

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"The most efficacious means by which the benefits of the Holy Spirit are to be acquired..." (A Sermon for Pentecost)

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The following is from a 19th century publication containing Catholic sermons. The author of the sermon was not located, nor was there any indication of ecclesiastical approval for the work. [Note: We have made a few changes to the text below (e.g. spelling, punctuation, capitalization & formatting changes, shortening)]

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"I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Paraclete, that He may abide with you for ever, the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, nor knoweth Him; but you shall know Him, because He shall abide with you, and shall be in you." (John xiv. 16:17)

The two most pernicious effects of sin are, that it darkens the understanding and corrupts the heart. Our first parents had no sooner listened with complacence to the suggestions of temptation, than we discover in their conduct proofs of the awful change, which sin had wrought in the two most exalted powers of their souls. Hitherto accustomed to form the sublimest notions of the power and wisdom of their Creator, they now suppose Him subject to ignorance and imperfection. And when they heard the voice of God, they hid themselves from the face of the Lord. This blindness of their understanding had been preceded by a corruption of their will. The bounds of primeval innocence were no sooner passed, than they felt their hearts throb with new and unusual sensations; a train of conflicting passions took possession... and, cursed with the knowledge which they had so dearly bought, they blush at their condition, of which sin had first taught them to feel ashamed.

To oppose this two-fold evil, to correct the errors of the human understanding, and rectify the depraved inclinations of the will, was the object of the example, exhortations and miracles of the Son of God. In the solemnity of this day [of Pentecost], whereon is celebrated the last scene in that masterpiece of Divine Wisdom - the redemption of man - we cannot but remark two peculiar effects which the descent of the Holy Ghost produced on the Apostles; the one in enlightening and rectifying their judgments, the other in inflaming and animating their will. To these two effects I now design to direct your attention, opposed, as they are, to the two most fatal and most prevalent causes of man's perdition.

I shall do this the more readily, as this is a solemnity possessing the peculiar advantage of witnessing, as often as it is worthily celebrated, a renewal of those sublime gifts and graces, in commemoration of which it was established.

Truth is one of the distinctive characteristics of the spirit of God. Our Divine Redeemer, on the eve of His passion, when He gave to his Apostles the promise of a future Paraclete, designated the divine emissary as the Spirit of Truth, who was to enlighten their understandings, and teach them all things. In conformity with this promise, one of the most remarkable effects produced by the presence of the Holy Ghost upon the Apostles was to remove from their minds those erroneous notions which they had hitherto entertained, with regard to the sublime truths so often heard, and still so imperfectly understood.

In vain had their Divine Master repeatedly declared to them, that His kingdom was not of this world; in vain had He instructed them in the science of a spiritual life, and bade them look to sufferings and contempt as the badge of the service in which they had been enrolled. In vain had He, by His own example, endeavored to remove the scandal of the cross, and to bring into a just contempt the glittering and deceptive objects of terrestrial pursuit. Neither the sanctity of His life nor the splendor of His miracles, neither the ignominy of His passion nor the glory of His resurrection had been able to dissipate the charm which deluded their understandings; and they still make the anxious enquiry, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore the kingdom of Israel? The injunction of going without purse or scrip was a language which they had not yet learned to comprehend. The petition of the sons of Zebedee seems only to have exhibited the sentiments of the rest of the Apostles: and their eager contentions for future preference sufficiently demonstrate [that acquiring] a temporal scepter was the summit of their ambition and their hopes.

Such, my brethren, were the Apostles, unaided and unenlightened by the Spirit of Truth. Destined by the incarnate wisdom to be the future lights of mankind, to dispel the darksome clouds of error and superstition, which had so universally overspread a refined and corrupted world, they seem, before the descent of the Holy Ghost, not to have possessed a single qualification, that could capacitate them for performing so dignified and arduous a task. But listen to the wonders that are this day displayed, and, if the sequel of the history of the present solemnity be humbling to the proud pretensions of man, let it teach us our incalculable obligations to the Spirit of Truth, which continues to shed its benign influence on all those, who, like the Apostles, have, by retirement and prayer, made themselves worthy to be illumined by its rays. No sooner did the divine fire descend upon the eleven, than it consumed all the ties that had bound them to the earth. The veil that had obstructed their view instantly disappeared, and a new vista, that terminated in heaven, burst upon their minds. Then, for the first time, did they behold, in all their beauty, the ravishing splendors of the new Jerusalem. The prophetic allusions of the ancient Patriarchs were divested of their obscurity. The mystic rites and sacrifices of a figurative dispensation were recognized as verified and accomplished. The voice of the Son of God once more vibrated upon their ear: His parables and forgotten instructions were now presented open and undisguised before them. The cross was divested of its ignominy, death of its horrors, the world of its delusive charms. Honors and temporal preferments were now no longer the objects of their ambition. Rectifying their judgments by the truth which they had received, they for ever condemn and abandon that false estimate of things which they had hitherto made, and cease to attach any importance to temporal objects, beyond what they derive from their relation to eternity. That slowness of belief and dullness of heart, for which they had been so frequently reproved by their divine Master, was now exchanged for a lively, firm, and active faith, which, receiving its light at the radiant source of truth, cheered and illumined the various nations of a benighted world.

Having thus traced this first effect of the presence of the Holy Ghost upon the Apostles, let us ask the important question, how far our conduct is marked by this primary characteristic of the spirit of God. And first of all allow me to direct your attention to the striking opposition, which the spirit of God bears, in this its leading feature, to the spirit of the world. While the chief object, nay, the very office and essence, of the former, is to teach all truth, the whole aim of the latter is to deceive and seduce. All that is in the world, says the beloved disciple, is the l-ust of the flesh, the l-ust of the eyes, and the pride of life. To promise what it can neither possess nor bestow, to captivate by false appearances of happiness, and thus seduce its wretched slaves to attach esteem and importance to objects in their own nature destitute of all true stability and value, and to prefer the insignificant and false plaudits of man to the regard and approbation of heaven; to tempt its votary to ascend the steep and thorny heights of ambition, and then precipitate him from the dangerous eminence; to lull its followers into an entire forgetfulness of God and of themselves by engaging them in a ceaseless round of business or pleasure; such are the arts, such the science, of a deluded and deluding world. O ye children of men, exclaims the royal Psalmist, astonished at the blindness of the human understanding, O ye children of men, how long will you be in love with vanity, and seek after a lie? Vain are the sons of men; the sons of men are liars in their balances, that by vanity they may together deceive. Hence our divine Redeemer, speaking of the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of Truth, declares that the world is incapable of receiving Him. Whom the world cannot receive. If, fellow-Christians, the world and its vanities be the idol of your affections, if its maxims and example be the rule of your conduct, its smiles and its frowns the objects of your solicitude, then are your hearts strangers to the spirit of God, the spirit of truth. If, in the estimate which you make of things, you prefer the suggestions of vanity or of pleasure to the dictates of religion, then are you engaged in a blindness still more deplorable than that which darkened the minds of the Apostles when they contended for temporal riches and preferments as the rewards to be expected from a crucified God. But to help us to discover and rectify the false views which are generally taken of the world's allurements is not the only effect of the Spirit of Truth. To display the attractive graces of virtue, to exhibit clearer and more exalted views of the beauty and harmony of the ways of God, to help us to frame sublimer notions of His infinite goodness and love for man, as well as to detect the various snares and multiplied dangers which are so thickly strown along the path of life; in a word, to guide us to the two most necessary branches of the science of salvation, the knowledge of God and the knowledge of ourselves; these are the gifts, which the spirit of God confers upon those with whom He is pleased to dwell. Hence, to form a correct judgment how far we have participated in the gifts of the same divine Spirit, it will be of importance to examine how we stand in relation to the eternal truths. Do we regard them with that docility of heart, that zeal and eager affection, which so admirably shone forth in the Apostles? Are we penetrated with that lively and animated faith which forms the character of the true believer? Are we, at the denunciations of the divine judgments, struck with that salutary fear, which is the beginning of true wisdom? Have we that esteem for virtue, that hatred of vice, which the gospel requires and inculcates? Are we acquainted with the particular dangers to which we are exposed from the world, the devil, and ourselves? If, to these interrogatories, our consciences can unhesitatingly and favorably reply, it still remains that, by a life of constancy and fervor, we courageously surmount every difficulty that would retard our progress to perfection and hinder us from practicing the maxims which we profess to hold.

Among the injunctions given by our Divine Redeemer to the Apostles before His ascension, one of the most remarkable was that by which they were commanded to visit, to instruct, and baptize the various nations of the earth. Had they been less erroneous in their ideas and projects, they still would have found powerful obstacles to the execution of so bold and arduous an undertaking, in the timidity of their minds and the weakness of their resolutions. Fluctuating with the instability of the temporal objects, to which they had attached so undue an importance, they seemed to measure their hopes and their fears, their attachment and their zeal, by the success or adversity that attended their Master. In the moment of prosperity, when the public voice hailed Him as the promised Messiah, they thought and declared themselves ready to go with Him to prison and to death; yet, no sooner did they behold Him in the power of his enemies, than all their vain resolutions and vaunted constancy fell to the ground. Confounded and alarmed at the dangers that appeared to threaten themselves, they studiously avoided offering Him any assistance, or defense, lest such an interference might be deemed a proof that they had been His disciples. Even when the malice of His enemies had been satiated by His death, still were they terrified to that degree, as to refuse Him their last attendance [excepting St. John], and to leave to a stranger the pious office of interring their departed Lord. After His resurrection, when with full conviction, they acknowledged Him as the conqueror of death and hell, human terrors and human considerations still close their mouths. Instead of proclaiming aloud the stupendous miracle, of which they were convinced beyond the possibility of a doubt, they either return in silence to their former occupations, or in the retired apartment of an upper story withdraw themselves from the notice and enquiries of men.

And is it, fellow Christians, for such men as these, to vanquish and defy the proud lords and potentates of the earth? Is it for them to triumph over the power of kings, the learning of philosophers, the eloquence of orators? Is it for them to demolish the vast fabric of superstition, which ages had cemented? To trample on the idols of paganism, and induce every people, from the rising to the setting sun, to bow down their heads at the name of a crucified man?

Oh, my brethren, the standing miracle of the conversion of a refined and corrupted world, by twelve illiterate individuals of such a character, who preached a doctrine that was a stumbling-block to the Jews, and to the Gentiles foolishness, and who could hold out nothing but dangers, ignominy and death, as inducements to their proselytes, can only be accounted for by the event, which we are this day assembled to commemorate. Inflamed and animated by the presence of their heavenly guest, the Apostles instantly cast aside those vain terrors and human apprehensions which had hitherto so strongly marked their character and influenced their conduct. The contempt, the torments, the dangers which awaited them, were now become their glory and their gain. Ambitious of suffering in the cause of truth, they rush from their concealment, and in loud accents proclaim, says the sacred text, the wondrous things of God. Peter, the first of their number, he who, at the voice of a feeble maid, had trembled with apprehension and weakly denied his master, now boldly standing forth the champion of truth, brought, in two discourses, not less than eight thousand souls to the faith of Christ [cf. Acts 2:41, 4:4]. No longer to be confined within the narrow limits of Judea, they boldly partition among themselves, as so many victorious chiefs, the various nations of the earth. Jews and Gentiles, Greeks and barbarians, the rich and the poor, the learned and the ignorant, all equally become the objects of their zeal and labors. Their sound has gone forth unto all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world. They daringly sought the most public occasions for proclaiming their belief in the name of Christ. The streets, the temple, the synagogues, the public senate, nay, the very courts and tribunals of their judges were the theatres which they choose for the announcement of their doctrines. Thus, by that heavenly fortitude which they this day so copiously received, were the weak and terrified Apostles enabled to subdue the vices, the passions, and the prejudices of men, to attack and vanquish the combined powers of earth and hell, and to change the cross, which had been hitherto an instrument of punishment and a mark of infamy, into the brightest ornament on the diadem of kings.

To judge how far we have participated with them in the same holy spirit, it will be well for us to consider, what resemblance our conduct bears to that which they exhibited after the divine fire had descended upon them. For think not, my brethren, that there are no longer occasions, on which your courage will be put to the test. True it is, the racks and the prisons of persecution are now [presumably] no longer to be feared; but then there are other trials and other attacks not less severe and frequent, perhaps, even more to be apprehended, because more insidious and more concealed. Our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, says St. Paul, but against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in high places. Yes! the open assaults and sanguinary edicts of persecution have [mostly] ceased. But the malice of hell is not the less alert. The Christian [may no longer fear] being dragged like a malefactor to the tribunal of justice for the bare profession of his faith; but then he has to withstand the remarks and the calumnies, the taunts and derisions, which a senseless world will pass on his observance of its precepts. He [may no longer] fear being branded with a public mark of infamy, but he has still to submit, in meekness and resignation, to injuries and misfortunes, to calumnies and affronts. He has not to apprehend that his faith will be shaken by the promises and flattering solicitations of a pagan judge; but then he has to apprehend the equally insidious invitations of error, and the sceptical insinuations of an impious and falsely termed enlightened age. He does not behold his person surrounded, or his dwelling occupied, by false brethren and informers; but then he ever carries about with him a domestic enemy - his own corrupted nature and depraved affections.

Oh, my brethren, who can be surprised, that, amid so many obstacles to virtue, the unassisted efforts of man should so often be found ineffectual. Indeed, the misfortune of the far greater part of mankind is not that they are unacquainted with the value of virtue and ignorant of the delusions and falsehoods of the world which they adore; they know the injunctions of the Deity, and tacitly applaud their observance; but, totally immersed in temporal cares and solicitudes, and eagerly bent on preserving the opinion and regard of men, they weakly yield in the hour of temptation. What, in fact, do the lives of the majority of Christians present, but endless efforts to compromise the jarring claims of vice and virtue, of heaven and hell, of Christ and the world? What do we behold, but eternal sacrifices of duty and of conscience to human respect, to vanity, or to interest? How often are the suggestions of passion, or the avocations of pleasure and of sin, preferred to the known voice of religion and of God! How often are Christians, though [they may no longer be] exposed to the stigmatizing brand of persecution, still [be] ashamed of the name and of the cross of Christ! Oh, my brethren, if, on a review of life, your consciences shall plead guilty to similar accusations, much is it to be feared, that you are yet strangers to that spirit of constancy, which was this day so abundantly shed upon the Apostles. Much is it to be feared that the recurring solemnity of Pentecost has not been productive of those high advantages which it is so eminently destined to convey.

Such, then, fellow Christians, being the nature of the benefits conferred by the Holy Ghost, such their efficacy in correcting our judgment and perfecting our will, and such their necessity to guide and support us in the arduous path of salvation, allow me, in conclusion, to suggest the most efficacious means by which they are to be acquired; for, let it be remembered that the divine communications of the Spirit of Truth are only imparted in proportion to the previous dispositions which they find in the soul. The Apostles, before they were filled with those sublime gifts, which enabled them to convert an idolatrous world, prepared themselves for the reception of the promised Comforter by retirement and prayer. In the same manner it is, by retiring from the distractions and dissipations of a sinful world, it is by recalling inward our scattered thoughts, and meditating in secret on the eternal truths, that we also are to prepare ourselves for the reception of this heavenly Guest. Believe me, the soul that is engrossed by worldly concerns and solicitudes, the soul that is enslaved to avarice, ambition, or any inordinate attachment, cannot receive the spirit of God. Again, we must, by frequent and earnest prayer, diligently invite the Holy Ghost into the temple of our souls. With a profound sense of our own wants and infirmities, we must, with simplicity of heart, lay before Him our multiplied evils and necessities. He is the spirit of wisdom; let us then entreat Him to bestow upon us a share of that true light, which alone can happily guide us through the difficult path of life. He is the spirit of fortitude and of courage; let us, then, beg His supporting aid in the particular difficulties and temptations to which we are exposed. He, in fine, is the spirit of charity, the spirit of meekness, of patience, of joy; let us, then, beseech Him to form in us that perfect love of God and our neighbor, that self-renunciation, and placid conformity to the divine will, which, after conducting us happily through the toilsome journey of life, will bring us to the bosom of God, in a happy eternity.

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Liturgical Feasts in June

The following is a listing of all liturgical feast dates for June as they appear at

Note: (T) = Traditional, (N) = New (Novus Ordo)

Reminder: Feasts may be superseded / transferred / etc.

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June 1 - St. Justin Martyr (N)

June 2 - St. Erasmus (T)

June 2 - Sts. Marcellinus & Peter (T)

June 2 - Sts. Marcellinus & Peter (N)

June 3 - St. Charles Lwanga & companions (N)

June 4 - St. Francis Caracciolo (T)

June 5 - St. Boniface (T)

June 5 - St. Boniface (N)

June 6 - St. Norbert (T)

June 6 - St. Norbert (N)

June 9 - St. Columba (T)

June 9 - Sts. Primus & Felician (T)

June 9 - St. Ephrem of Syria (N)

June 10 - St. Margaret of Scotland (T)

June 11 - St. Barnabas, apostle (T)

June 11 - St. Barnabas, apostle (N)

June 12 - St. John of San Facondo (T)

June 12 - Sts. Basilides, Cyrinus, Nabor & Nazarius (T)

June 13 - St. Anthony of Padua (T)

June 13 - St. Anthony of Padua (N)

June 14 - St. Basil the Great (T)

June 15 - St. Vitus, Modestus & Crescentia (T)

June 16 - St. John Francis Regis (T)

June 18 - St. Ephrem the Syrian (T)

June 18 - Sts. Mark & Marcellianus (T)

June 19 - St. Juliana Falconieri (T)

June 19 - Sts. Gervase & Protase (T)

June 19 - St. Romuald (N)

June 20 - St. Silverius, pope (T)

June 21 - St. Aloysius Gonzaga (T)

June 21 - St. Aloysius Gonzaga (N)

June 22 - St. Paulinus of Nola (T)

June 22 - St. John Fisher (N)

June 22 - St. Paulinus of Nola (N)

June 22 - St. Thomas More (N)

June 23 - Vigil of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist (T)

June 24 - Nativity of St. John the Baptist (T)

June 24 - Nativity of St. John the Baptist (N)

June 25 - St. William (T)

June 26 - Sts. John & Paul (T)

June 27 - Our Lady of Perpetual Succor (Perpetual Help) (T)

June 27 - St. Cyril of Alexandria (N)

June 28 - St. Irenaeus of Lyons (T)

June 28 - St. Irenaeus of Lyons (N)

June 29 - Sts. Peter & Paul, apostles (T)

June 29 - Sts. Peter & Paul, apostles (N)

June 30 - St. Paul, apostle (T)

June 30 - St. Peter (T)

June 30 - First Martyrs of the Church of Rome (N)

Please Note: Above may exclude moveable feasts. For moveable feasts, see below and try here: . For other feasts, try the MCS Daily Digest each day at


6/1/14 - Ascension [if transferred] (N)

6/7/14 - Vigil of Pentecost

6/8/14 - Pentecost Sunday

6/11/14 - Ember Wednesday after Pentecost (T)

6/13/14 - Ember Friday after Pentecost (T)

6/14/14 - Ember Saturday after Pentecost (T)

6/15/14 - Trinity Sunday

6/19/14 - Corpus Christi [Note: In the Novus Ordo calendar, this feast may be transferred to 6/22/14. For information for your area, contact your parish or diocese.]

6/27/14 - Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

6/28/14 - Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (N)

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'Catholic Trivia'

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Note: This month all trivia questions are themed. [Theme: Mottos & Last Words]

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1. What motto is associated with the Jesuits?

2. What motto is associated with the Franciscans? 

3. What motto is associated with the Carthusians?

4. What motto is associated with the Benedictines?

5. What motto is associated with the Dominicans?

6. What were the last words of St. Peter of Verona and how were they written?

7. What did St. Cyprian say on hearing his death sentence?

8. What were the last words of Pope St. Gregory VII?

9. What did St. Dorothy say while being taken to her execution?

10. What were last words of St. Bede the Venerable, Doctor of the Church?



1. The motto "Ad majorem Dei gloriam" (Latin for "For the greater glory of God") is associated with the Jesuits.

2. The motto "Deus meus et Omnia" (Latin for "My God and my all") is associated with the Franciscans.

3. The motto "Stat Crux dum volvitur Orbis" (Latin for "The world changes but the Cross remains") is associated with the Carthusians.

4. The motto "Pax" (Latin for "Peace") is associated with the Benedictines. 

5. The motto "Veritas" (Latin for "Truth") is associated with the Dominicans.

6. The last words of St. Peter of Verona: "Credo in unum Deo" (Latin for "I believe in one God", from the Creed). They were written by him in his blood as he was dying.

7. St. Cyprian on hearing his death sentence: "Thanks be to God."

8. The last words of Pope St. Gregory VII: "I have loved righteousness and hated iniquity - therefore I die in exile"

9. Said by St. Dorothy, while she was being taken to her execution: "I give thee thanks, O thou lover of our souls, that thou callest me to thy paradise!"

10. Last words of St. Bede the Venerable, Doctor of the Church: "Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost."


For more information concerning the topics above, try our General A-Z Index at

Like trivia? You might enjoy our crossword puzzles located at

You might also be interested in the Q & A and historical information which may be found each day on the MCS Daily Digest at

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Defending the Faith: "Apologetics Brief" - Do You Think Baptism is Merely an External Sign?

It is good for Catholics to be able to defend their faith against attacks (or even simple questions) from those outside the Church. We therefore hope you may find the following "apologetics brief" helpful.

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Note: Text below is taken from

The following may be used as discussion points when discoursing with those outside the Church (or even among Catholics).

Topic: Do You Think Baptism is Merely an External Sign? (Note: Topic is directed at certain Protestants)


* If Baptism is merely a sign and does not itself cause regeneration, why does Christ require it as a condition of salvation ["Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit" (Jn. 3:5)]?

* If Baptism is just a sign, why does Scripture say that persons are saved through water (see 1 Pt. 3:20-21)?

* If Baptism is a mere sign, why does St. Paul say that baptism washes away sin (cf. Acts 22:16)?

* If Baptism is just a sign, why does St. Paul say that persons are saved through baptism (see Ti. 3:5)?

--> Did You Know...? The Catholic Church does not teach that the water in baptism has any intrinsic power, but rather that God uses the water to effect what is signified by the water (that is, a cleansing). "If, therefore, there is any grace in the water, it is not from the nature of water but from the Spirit's presence there." (St. Basil the Great, Doctor of the Church, c. 375 A.D.)

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"If any one saith that baptism is optional, that is, not necessary to salvation; let him be anathema." (Council of Trent)

"[T]he sacrament of Baptism holds the first place in the order of necessity" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Baptism in Greek means dipping in Latin; it is called dipping because man is thereby changed for the better by the spirit of grace, and become something far different from what he was... Just as the outer body is cleansed by water, so by its mysterious effects the soul is secretly purified through the Holy Spirit." (St. Isidore, Doctor of the Church)

"This is truly a spiritual birth, and therefore it is not of blood nor of the will of man nor of the will of the flesh, but of God. This is called adoption. For we were something before we became sons of God, and we received a benefit by which we became what we were not." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church, c. 412 A.D.)

"The universal and absolute necessity of Baptism our Savior has declared in these words: Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

"At the moment that the soul receives holy baptism, original sin is taken away from her, and grace is infused into her, and that inclination to sin, which remains from the original indeed a source of weakness, but the soul can keep the bridle on it if she choose." (St. Catherine of Siena, Doctor of the Church)

"For from Baptism we receive the Spirit of Christ. At that same moment in which the priests invoke the Spirit, heaven opens, and He descends and rests upon the waters; and those who are baptized are clothed in Him. For the Spirit is absent from all those who are born of the flesh, until they come to the water of re-birth; and then they receive the Holy Spirit." (St. Aphraates, c. 336-345 A.D.)

"Should anyone desire a striking figure and image (of the efficacy of Baptism) let him consider the history of Naaman the Syrian leper, of whom the Scriptures inform us that when he had washed seven times in the waters of the Jordan he was so cleansed from his leprosy that his flesh became like the flesh of a child. The remission of all sin, original and actual, is therefore the peculiar effect of Baptism. That this was the object of its institution by our Lord and Savior is clearly stated by the Prince of the Apostles, to say nothing of other testimonies, when he says: Do penance and be baptized every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

"If anyone denies that infants newly born from their mothers' wombs are to be baptized, even though they be born of baptized parents, or says they are baptized indeed for the remission of sins, but that they derive nothing of original sin from Adam, which must be expiated by the laver of regeneration for the attainment of life everlasting, whence it follows, that in them the form of baptism for the remission of sins is understood to be not true, but false: let him be anathema. For what the Apostle has said: 'By one man sin entered into the world, and by sin death, and so death passed upon all men, in whom all have sinned' [Rom. 5:12], is not to be understood otherwise than as the Catholic Church spread everywhere has always understood it. For by reason of this rule of faith from a tradition of the apostles even infants, who could not as yet commit any sins of themselves, are for this reason truly baptized for the remission of sins, so that in them there may be washed away by regeneration, what they have contracted by generation.. 'For unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God' [John 3:5]." (Council of Trent, 1546 A.D.)

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For more apologetics resources, please visit

For more on baptism, please visit

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In Closing...

"[Jesus] said to him, 'You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment.'" (Mt. 22:37-38)

"[O]ur Redeemer Himself promised to Margaret Mary that 'all those who rendered this honor to His Heart would be endowed with an abundance of heavenly graces.'" (Pope Pius XI, "Miserentissimus Redemptor", 1928 A.D.)

Prayer for Pentecost: "Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that the power of the Holy Ghost may abide in us; may it mercifully cleanse our hearts, and defend us from all danger. Through our the unity of the same." (Collect)

"God has given to priests powers greater than those given to our parents; and the differences between the powers of these two is as great as the difference between the future life and the present. Our parents begot us to temporal existence; priests beget us to the eternal. The former are not able to ward of from their children the sting of death, nor prevent the attack of disease; yet the later often save the sick and perishing soul" (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church, c. 387 A.D.)

"He showed His Heart to us bearing about it the symbols of the passion and displaying the flames of love, that from the one we might know the infinite malice of sin, and in the other we might admire the infinite charity of Our Redeemer, and so might have a more vehement hatred of sin, and make a more ardent return of love for His love." (Pope Pius XI, "Miserentissimus Redemptor", 1928 A.D.)

Prayer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus: "I hail Thee, O Sacred Heart of Jesus, living and life-giving fountain of eternal life, infinite treasure of divinity, glowing furnace of divine love; Thou art my place of rest and my most sure refuge. My dear Savior, enkindle my heart with that burning love wherewith Thine own is on fire; pour into my heart the manifold graces, of which thy Heart is the source; let Thy will be mine, and let mine be for ever obedient to Thine. Amen." (Raccolta)

"Come, Holy Ghost, Creator blest, and in our souls take up Thy rest, come with Thy grace and heavenly aid, and fill the hearts which Thou hast made. To Thee, the Comforter, we cry, to Thee, the gift of God most high, the fount of life, the fire of love, the soul's anointing from above. The sevenfold gifts of grace are Thine, O Finger of the hand Divine; True promise of the Father Thou, Who dost the tongue with speech endow. Thy light to every thought impart, and shed Thy love in every heart; Our body's poor infirmity with strength perpetual fortify. Our mortal foe afar repel, grant us henceforth in peace to dwell; if Thou be our preventing guide, no evil can our steps betide. Make Thou to us the Father known; Teach us the Eternal Son to own and Thee, Whose name we ever bless, of both the Spirit to confess. All glory while the ages run be to the Father and the Son, who rose from death; the same to Thee, O Holy Ghost, eternally. Amen." (From Veni Creator Spiritus)

"Thee be praise, to Thee be glory, to Thee be thanksgiving through endless ages, O Blessed Trinity." (Aspiration)

Invocation of the Holy Spirit: "Come, O Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of thy faithful, and enkindle within them the fire of thy love." (Latin: "Veni, Sancte Spiritus, reple tuorum corda fidelium, et tui amoris in eis ignem accende.")

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