A 400 Year Old Cathedral, With an Astronaut Carved on the Exterior?

Stephanie EngelmanMarian Shrines of Europe, Upcoming Pilgrimages

In Salamanca, Spain, the “New Cathedral” – built from 1513 to 1733 – has a carving of a modern day astronaut on its exterior. One might wonder if the original architect received a prophetic vision. No, it was the work of a renegade artist who decided to carve strange figures into the stone. Apparently, the same artist also carved a … Read More

Saint John Eudes – The Pilgrim Who Didn’t Travel

Stephanie EngelmanFrance, Spiritual Reflections

Saint John Eudes was born on November 14, 1601 in Ri, France and died on August 19, 1680 in nearby Caen. The distance between his birthplace and the location of his death is less than 40 miles – not a significant distance for an earthly pilgrimage – but his vocation and spiritual legacy reach far beyond the physical confines of … Read More

St. Dominic and the Origins of the Rosary

Stephanie EngelmanFrance, Italy, Spiritual Reflections

While some dispute the historical account of the presentation of the Rosary by Our Lady to St. Dominic, many theologians and Popes have upheld this understanding. History reveals that St. Dominic was the first to preach and teach the Rosary as a form of meditative prayer, and the first to see the benefits reaped from meditation upon its mysteries. In … Read More

Hidden Spiritual Gem in Rome Reminds Us to Embrace Our Crosses

Stephanie EngelmanItaly, Spiritual Reflections

Near the catacombs in Rome, walking along the Appian Way, you’re likely to stumble upon a hidden spiritual gem – the Chiesa del Domine Quo Vadis, or the Church of “Lord, Where Are You Going?”. While the architecture is relatively unassuming, the message: “Lord, where are you going?” speaks loud and clear to those who enter through the doors and … Read More

Ein Karem and John the Baptist

Richard SontagHoly Land

In the southwest part of Jerusalem lies the ancient village of Ein Karem, literally meaning “Spring of the Vineyard,” and known by some as the “most beautiful neighborhood in Jerusalem.” Surrounded by green hills and forests, many travel to this village to experience its picturesque beauty and visit the various Christian and historical sites there. According to Christian tradition, St. … Read More

Our Lady of Knock Witness Reburied in NYC

Brea CannonIreland

“I remember it as well as I do last night.” Those were the words of an aged Irish immigrant named John Curry in 1940s New York, who had seen the apparitions at Knock, Ireland when just a boy. Now, his remains will be re-interred at St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral in New York City. “Like most of the witnesses, John Curry … Read More

“Love Mary…She is lovable”

Brea CannonChurch News, Marian Shrines of Europe

“Love Mary… She is loveable, faithful, constant. She will never let herself be outdone in love, but will ever remain supreme. If you are in danger, she will hasten to free you. If you are troubled, she will console you. If you are sick, she will bring you relief. If you are in need, she will help you. She does … Read More

How the Church Determines a True Marian Apparition

Richard SontagMarian Shrines of Europe, Pope Francis

fatima

The Vatican’s “Norms regarding the manner of proceedings in the discernment of presumed apparitions or revelations” were approved by Pope Paul VI in 1978. An official English translation was released in 2011. Like with Fatima, responsibility for determining an apparition’s veracity lies with the local bishop, according to the norms established by the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the … Read More

Pope’s Pilgrimage to Fatima

Andrea JoinesMarian Shrines of Europe, Pope Francis

Our Lady of Fatima

Every year, thousands of pilgrims visit the central Portuguese town of Fatima, where three young shepherd children were visited six time by the Blessed Mother in 1917. These numbers are expected to swell during this, the centennial year of these apparitions. One of these pilgrims will be Pope Francis, himself, who will arrive in Fatima on May 12, the evening … Read More

Are You Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day?

Andrea JoinesIreland

St-Patrick-Lough-Derg

Saint Patrick’s Day is often associated with overindulgence and festive celebrations. With a cry of “Everyone’s Irish on St. Patrick’s Day!” people flood local pubs and drink Guinness and green beer, eat corned beef and cabbage, watch parades and dye rivers green. These customs are quite different from historical celebrations of this holy day and the antithesis of one of … Read More

The Via Dolorosa

Richard SontagHoly Land

It is a weekly tradition in the Holy Land to walk the Via Dolorosa (Way of Sorrow) on Fridays at 3:00 p.m. The Franciscans lead this procession through the winding streets of the Old City of Jerusalem following in the footsteps of Christ and His suffering. The procession marks the path Jesus walked under the weight of the Cross. It … Read More

Burying the Alleluia

Richard SontagSpiritual Reflections

The penitential season of Lent officially begins on Ash Wednesday, which falls on March 1 this year. However, throughout the centuries, a pre-Lenten season has been celebrated in various cultures and with various traditions. Many are familiar with the names of Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) or Carnival and the revelry associated with this pre-Lenten period. Far fewer are familiar with … Read More

Lourdes – Miracle for Many

Richard SontagChurch News, France

Our Lady of Lourdes, France

On February 11, 1858, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to a poor peasant girl by the name of Bernadette Soubirous near the French village of Lourdes. The Blessed Mother then appeared 17 more times that year and on January 18th, 1862, the local bishop recognized the authenticity of the Apparitions, opening up the devotion to the wider Church. Since then, … Read More

What is the indulgence associated with Fatima?

Richard SontagMarian Shrines of Europe, Spiritual Reflections

fatima

The actual 100th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady at Fatima in Portugal is not officially until the 13th of each month May-Oct of this year, but celebrations began November 27th, 2016 when Pope Francis announced an opportunity to obtain a special plenary indulgence during this celebratory occasion. Now through November 26th, Catholics around the world can obtain a … Read More

Restoring Church of the Nativity is like ‘touching heaven’

Richard SontagHoly Land

Nativity

The Italian firm restoring one of Christianity’s holiest sites — the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem — says it’s more than half-way finished with the 14 million dollar project, which has already uncovered a Crusades-era mosaic angel hidden under plaster. Piacenti SpA, a family-run conservation firm from the Tuscan town of Prato, won the contract to restore the biblical … Read More