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06-19-2020From the desk of Fr. Villa

In the year 1720, during an outbreak of plague in France, our Lord Jesus Christ gave a promise to one Venerable Ana Magdalena Remuzat, saying that if the city would devote itself to His Sacred Heart and wear this sacramental, they would be spared from the disease. And by His divine promise and the faithful wearing of this shield, they were! Perfectly relevant for our time now when Corona-Virus is afflicting us. Let us devote ourselves to Jesus' Sacred Heart and the promise of resting in Him with confidence.


Prayer - Penance - Fasting

06-11-2020From the desk of Fr. Villa

Intention: Reparation for all the sins committed against the Holy Eucharist
June 19, The Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

Read the encyclical letter of Pope Pius XI on the meaning of reparation here.

Let us all unite in making reparation in various ways, offering and participating in Holy Mass and Holy Hours of Adoration, offering Holy Communion in reparation, reciting the Holy Rosary, including the short prayers taught by the Angel of Portugal to the Children at Fatima, meditating on the Passion of the Lord, offering sacrifices and fasting. We also ask those who participate to recite the Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus either privately or publicly and to renew the Act of Consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus prescribed by Pope Leo XIII on June 11, 1899.


Pray for the Persecuted Church in China

06-06-2020From the desk of Fr. Villa

The Chinese communist government is stamping out the last vestiges of democracy in Hong Kong, while this same government is demanding preaching patriotism as a condition for the reopening of churches after the corona-virus epidemic. While that may sound benign, Catholics in China remind is that what the Chinese communists mean by patriotism is the subservience of the Church to the communist government. Cardinal Zen has continually reminded the Vatican and the world of the persecution of and the desire to control the Catholic Church in China as a puppet of the government. You can read about these concerns and issues here and here.

Our Lady of Civitavecchia

06-06-2020From the desk of Fr. Villa

Catholics are generally familiar with certain apparitions of the Blessed Virgin like Guadalupe, Lourdes, Fatima, Knock. Most Catholics, at least in the U.S., are not familiar with our Lady’s manifestation at Civitavecchia in Italy. This devotion and manifestation have been approved by the Church. On the one hand her message remains the same: the need for prayer, penance, the importance of the Rosary. On the other hand the apparitions speak to the particular crisis in the Church today and society. You can read about this here. A future post will be on the venerable and approved apparition of our Lady in Japan, Our Lady of Akita.

An Update from Cardinal Dolan and the Archdiocese of NY as of May 29

05-31-2020From the desk of Fr. Villa

ORDINATION TO THE PRIESTHOOD AND THE BLESSING OF OILS His Eminence has designated Friday, June 26 at 9:00 AM as the day for the ordination of the class of 2020. Those to be ordained are Reverend Mr. Luis Silva for the archdiocese and Reverend Brother Roland Pereira, M.Id for the Idente Missionaries. Pray for these ordinandi.

There will be no Chrism Mass which was postponed from Holy Week. So, at 8:30am, on June 26 the Cardinal will bless the oils and consecrate the chrism. All of this will be live streamed.


The only known contemporary representation of St. Joan, a doodle drawn by Clement de Fauqembergue

05-27-2020From the desk of Fr. Villa

Pope Benedict XV canonized St. Joan of Arc on May 16, 1920. Her feast day is on May 30. Joan, also known as the Maid of Orleans and la Pucelle captivated the hearts of many including the American writer Mark Twain. His book on St. Joan is a classic and well worth reading. It is available from Ignatius Press. Twain considered it his finest book and Joan one of the finest human beings who ever lived. George Bernard Shaw also an unlikely author for this saint wrote the famous play Saint Joan. For The transcript of her trial is also available. One of the most moving moments in her trial was the moment she was asked whether she was in a state of grace, that is, without mortal sin. Joan was unlettered and unschooled in theology but gave a perfect answer consistent with Catholic teaching. Only God knows the absolute state of anyone’s soul. Joan responded: If I am may God keep me in it and if I am not may He bring me to it.


Cardinal Sarah Reminds Us of the Church’s Real Mission During the Pandemic

05-27-2020From the desk of Fr. Villa

Cardinal Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship of the Holy see, in an op-ed for Figaro Vox reminds us of the Church’s mission. The title of the op-ed jas the quote: The Covid-19 epidemic draws the Church back to her first responsibility: the Faith.” Underneath there is the headline: Too often, the Church has wanted to prove that she was “of this world: in devoting herself to common causes rather than the apostolate, deplores the Cardinal from Guinea. You can read the basic content of Cardinal Sarah’s remarks at Life Site News HERE. There you will find this potent reminder: …the Church must change. She must stop being afraid of causing shock and of going against the tide. She must give up thinking of herself as a worldly institution. She must return to her only “raison d'être”: faith. The Church is there to announce that Jesus conquered death through His resurrection.

A Scientist Who Loved the Eucharist

05-26-2020From the desk of Fr. Villa


His is not a household name but the Servant of God, Enrico Medi (1911-1974) was once a well-known physicist with a degree in theology as well. At one time he was vice president of Euratom and counseled the peaceful use of nuclear energy. He did scientific commentary on TV. A husband and father of six daughters, Medi loved the Eucharist, the priesthood, and was a spiritual son of Padre Pio. He is on the road to beatification. . His heroism and charity was exemplified in 1943 during World War II when he offered his own life to save two men condemned to be shot. They were spared and his life was not taken. Some items and thoughts from this scientist and faithful Catholic:


Why Can’t Catholics Be Freemasons?

05-24-2020From the desk of Fr. Villa

Catholics are forbidden to become Freemasons under pain of mortal sin. This is something many Catholics are surprised to hear. They view the Masons as a harmless fraternal group like the Elks, Lions, Knights of Columbus, and if you are a fan of the Jackie Gleason comedy show, the Honeymooners, the Raccoons.  The Knights of Columbus was  intended to provide an alternative for Catholics to membership in a Masonic lodge a membership forbidden by the Church. The classic teaching on why Catholics can’t be Freemasons is Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical, Humanum Genus, which can be accessed here.


End of Life Decisions. Making An Informed Choice as a Catholic

05-23-2020From the desk of Fr. Villa

Many people have had to face the loss of loved-ones, in some cases multiple loved-ones, during the pandemic. Even outside of the pandemic situation Catholics face end-of-life situations and are pressed by medical/hospital personnel to indicate choices like "do not resuscitate" or "pulling the plug" Here is a guide to form a correct conscience in accord with Catholic teaching. It goes without saying that euthanasia and assisted suicide are serious violations of God's law and ought not be chosen.


The Covid-Virus and the Smut-Merchants

05-20-2020From the desk of Fr. Villa

While focus has been on the corona virus and its devastating effects, there is also devastation from the shut-down of the Country: the loss of jobs, businesses, livelihoods. In the wake of this, there has been the expansion and promotion of highly-addictive and damaging pornography by the smut-merchants. The Bishops of the United States have weighed in on this in a letter to the Attorney General of the U.S. concerning pornography and the non-enforcement obscenity laws.


Poet / Poems for the Pandemic

05-14-2020From the desk of Fr. VillaFr. Villa

An Italian author and essayist began a recent blog entry with the question How to Keep Beauty from Vanishing Away, a question from a poem of the great Victorian poet Gerard Manley Hopkins S. J. He notes how poets often mirror our fears, hopes, sufferings and suggests Hopkins for this pandemic. He offers several: The Leaden Echo which is a poem of feeling loss, desperation, sadness and then The Golden Echo, which is a poem of rebounding and hope.

Hopkins an Anglican Protestant became a Catholic and a Jesuit under the influence of St. John Henry Newman. His parents were stunned that he would throw away a pure life and rare mind into the cold limbo which Rome destines English converts. Not only did he become a Catholic but he joined the hated and most persecuted order from Elizabethan times the Jesuits the era when Jesuits were giants.

Hopkins draws on ancient Catholic tradition and notices hidden beauty if people have the eyes to see. Every speck of beauty in creation reflects the Word, Who became Flesh, Whose Name is Jesus Christ, Beauty Himself. The third poem is very appropriate for the month of May: The Blessed Virgin compared to the air we breathe.


Letter Reflecting on the Cancellation of Masses and Closure of Churches

05-08-2020From the desk of Fr. VillaA priest-theologian for his Bishop

Your Excellency,

For nearly two months now the Catholic faithful have been deprived of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, of Holy Communion, and for many, even of Confession, many priests refusing this ministry. This time has been one of great suffering for all. The unexpectedness of the situation found us all wondering what to do, and those in positions of leadership had to make some very tough and very quick decisions.

Even if, we hope, things may once again be relatively normal in the near future, I am mindful that the situation we found ourselves in is likely to repeat itself. It is for this reason that I would like to share with you a few reflections about the way things have been handled during the COVID-19 crisis.

This letter is not intended to incriminate anyone, nor even to lodge a complaint. It takes its source in my reflections as a theologian, and seeks only to cast upon events the light of truth and justice with the hope that, having learned from the experience, we may in the future not leave the Catholic faithful in a situation where many of them felt effectively abandoned.