Forgive us as we forgive othersRecently I was watching the TV series, “AD: The Bible Continued.” At one point Pilate was searching for the Zealot Boaz who had killed his servant. When they brought in the girlfriend she told them that Boaz had gone to where he could receive forgiveness. Pilate immediately knew he was with the developing camp of Christians. 

What a wonderful thought that people would join us in community because they knew they would receive forgiveness and acceptance; that our community, that each one of us would reach out without criticism, judgment, or condemnation but only acceptance and love. What a wonder if we could reach out with open arms to the poor, the starved, the divorced, those who have made decisions that were “obviously” wrong and yet known; to those who don’t look, act, or dress as we do.

Recently, I’ve been so aware of the role of judgment and forgiveness in my life. I came upon a book entitled, Seventy Times Seven, by Doris Donnelly. It has become my spiritual reading at this time. 

I think it would be wonderful if I/we could remember that we too need forgiveness and have sought and received it over and over again from our loving God … and from those around us. Because of this, may we each reach out in gratitude and love, forgiving all as we have been forgiven. Let us pray for each other in this regard. 

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Looking Back at Father Peyton’s Influence in the Philippines

Father Willy and long time friend of Family Rosary Cardinal Tagle.Cardinal Tagle shared that the Family Rosary and the Family Rosary Crusade were a major force in his early life and continue to be today. For more than 60 years the Family Rosary Crusade has been active in the Philippines. The Cardinal said as a child he used to join his family in praying the Rosary, often welcoming neighbors into their home for the Rosary. Then they would visit neighboring families in their homes and would continue moving around the neighborhood to share the Rosary.

In the Philippines the FRC became an even stronger force when it combined efforts with the Basic Christian Communities when the movement arrived from Latin America to the Philippines. The joining of the Family Rosary with the Basic Christian Communities has made the FRC a powerful force for good in the society even up to today. 

Did Father Peyton, C.S.C., the Apostle of the Family Rosary have any idea how powerful Mary would make the Family Rosary Crusade? He surely must know now from the special place in heaven he occupies.

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Topics: philipines, rosary, family, vocations

May, Mary’s Month

The sense of peace was already pervasive when we gathered to begin May, the Month of Mary, with a Dawn Rosary procession on the streets around Most Holy Mother of the Light Church in Monterrey, Mexico.

Dawn Rosary procession at Most Holy Mother of the Light Church in Monterrey, Mexico.

When about 150 people appeared, Father John Herman, C.S.C., the parish priest, and I were happily surprised. It was all grace from there as we sang and meditated on the scripture texts of the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary.

In Mexico there is a lovely practice of offering a flower to Our Lady that we hadn't really planned on, but it happened spontaneously as a beautiful final touch to a very prayerful experience for all.  

Through the prayer and procession we invited Our Mother Mary to come to be with us particularly during this month of May and we all seemed to sense that she was making it clear that she accepted our invitation.

As a wise Mother, she does not force her presence upon us. She waits for us to open the door to our hearts and our lives so that she can bring us her son, Jesus. Simple devotions are very often this way of inviting the Lord and Our Lady to act in our lives as they always want to.

Since the middle ages, the month of May has been a time for Christians to renew our devotion and to let Mary into our lives.

The point is to do something to warm up our hearts in a world that certainly needs a whole lot more simple love and devotion. Our Lady will help us warm up our homes and our lives if we let her: this I know.

Do what you can. Gather your family to pray in the home more often in May. Invite a friend to say the Rosary with you as you take a walk in a park on a spring day. Maybe stop by a Church on a lunch break to pray for earthquake victims in Nepal or Christian Martyrs in the Middle East.

Pray with faith that prayer does make a difference!

Share your prayer intentions with us. We will pray for you. And while you are visiting our prayer site, take a moment to pray for someone else’s intention too.

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Topics: mexico, may, Mary, rosary

A Celebration of Faith and Mother Mary

ValLimar Jansen entertains students at the Archdiocese of Los Angeles Youth Rosary Rally, May 2015.

Last week the students from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles gathered at Bishop Alemany High School in Mission Hills, CA to attend their annual Youth Rosary Rally.

The energized crowd of students gave witness to their love for our Mother Mary and celebrated their faith in Jesus! Their enthusiasm for life, a life that has the presence of our Mother Mary and her son Jesus, bore awesome witness to living out our faith. This year’s event was especially uplifting and inspiring.

The students heard from Bishop Wilkerson, Auxiliary Bishop of the San Fernando Pastoral Region, who gave a compelling talk about not being afraid to defend our faith.

The popular and vibrant singer, composer, storyteller and recording artist, ValLimar Jansen, fired up the youth with her songs and powerful testimony about the presence of Mary in her life.

The students participated in praying the Rosary by leading the prayers or being a bead in the living Rosary. There were so many students who wanted to participate, 3 to 4 students made up each bead of the living Rosary.

The students left the field energized, feeling good about themselves and ready to spread the love of Mary and her son, Jesus, to all.

During this month of May, the special month of Mary, how do you connect with her? When do you spend time with her in prayer? And, like the example of these students, how do you give witness to your faith?


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Topics: may, Mary, rosary, Rally

World’s Greatest Mother


statue-Mary-1She was called the “World’s Greatest Mother” by Archbishop Fulton Sheen.

She is the Daughter of the Divine Father, the Mother of the Divine Son and Spouse of the Holy Spirit.

She knows God more intimately than any other creature.

She is the model for all mothers. 

One reason so many mothers are beloved by their children and honored on Mother’s Day is because they look to Mary as the model of how to be a mother. Good mothers teach their children to pray, to love God and to love their brothers and sisters and neighbors.

Why not honor your mother this Mother’s Day by giving her the greatest gift of all, the gift of prayer. Visit


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Topics: prayer, mother, Mary

Pray for Your Mother this Mother's Day

I spent a little time browsing the web a bit to see if there was some link between the celebration of Mother’s Day in May and the celebration of May as the Month of Mary.

Apparently not. Personally, I’ll simply take it as a providential connection!

It makes sense that, during the Month of Mary, the spiritual Mother of us all, we remember and give thanks to God for all our mothers “by blood”.

Screen shot of Family Rosary’s Mother’s Day prayer site.In that light too, it makes sense that we at Family Rosary want to help people pray for our mothers as one of the most important gifts we can give them on Mother’s Day!

And we’ve made it easy to let your mom know. Visit to send her a free eCard. Select a prayer, a beautiful image and add your own message … and click send! That’s it. And she’ll love it. 

For most of us, our mothers were the ones taught us to pray. For very many of us, they did so by introducing us to the Mother of God, praying the Hail May, to help lead us to the Lord. A great many of our mothers have turned to our Holy Mother especially when they have been worried about us!!!

I know my mother did! I know now that so very often I needed those Rosaries she prayed for me – and I know that the Lord heard those prayers!  (This is not the place to go into the details. I’ll just leave you wondering!)

Pray for your mother this Mother’s Day and let her know that you love her very much. It just might be the best gift she ever received.

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Topics: prayer, mother, family

Farewell Good Shepherd


Cardinal Seán O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston and Father Willy Raymond, C.S.C. at the funeral mass of Father Michael McLellan, May 1, 2015.

Friday May 1, 2015 was the day that Father Michael McLellan, Pastor of Saint John the Evangelist in Canton, MA, was laid to rest.

His Franciscan brother preached at the funeral. The parish was present in great numbers to bid farewell to their good shepherd who died this past Sunday, just as he was about to proceed down the aisle to celebrate the 11:30 AM Mass. 

Cardinal Seán O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston, presided at the funeral and here we are after Mass in the sacristy. He asked about the cause of Father Peyton and showed a keen interest in its progress.

Please say a prayer for Father Mike McLellan.

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Topics: Father Peyton, funeral, Father Willy Raymond

A Historic Week in Rome


With Father Willy are Cardinal Angelo Amato, Prefect of the Congregation of the Causes of Saints; Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, Archbishop of Manila, Philippines; Nina, staff person in the Postulator's office; Dr. Andrea Ambrossi, Postulator;
and  Father David Marcham, Vice Postulator.


This was a historic week for Holy Cross Family Ministries. We travelled to Rome to present the “Positio” of Servant of God Patrick Peyton’s cause to Cardinal Amato, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

Father David Marcham and I were accompanied by Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila, the Philippines. Cardinal Tagle is a “Rock Star” in the Catholic world. Someone has claimed that he received a number of votes in the balloting for the election of Pope Francis in 2013. Like Pope Francis, he loves Mary and the Rosary and is a passionate exemplar of Gospel simplicity in his words and in his modest style of life.

 Please join us in praying for the Cause of Father Peyton. He would be an ideal saint for families.

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Topics: rome, Father Peyton, positio, Tagle


texting_oceanIn the Easter reading about Thomas, he would not believe the other apostles when they told him Jesus had been to visit them after the resurrection. Not only would he not believe if he saw Jesus himself, he would have to put his hands in the wounds if he would believe. (John 20: 24-29)

This is in such stark contrast with where we are today in our relationships. This technical age allows us to be in touch with anyone at any time. But is this always for the best? 

One night my husband and I went out to dinner. A couple came in and sat at the table next to us. As they entered, the man finished up a conversation on his cell phone … but the woman continued talking on hers. They sat down, looked at the menu, the waitress came, the woman lowered the phone and ordered. The food came, they ate, and she continued texting and talking, one right after the other. The man stared at her from time to time or into space.  Occasionally, he spoke to her and she rose her head and answered … but went right on texting and eating. As he paid the bill, she put her phone down and they left.

A man I know will spend most of the day texting his son, but when his son actually arrives, he greets him and immediately begins texting someone else.

Now I too love the feeling of immediate gratification of connection. At the same time, I still recognize what I am giving up when I’m not present to the person with me. (Though sometimes it’s difficult because they are busy texting!) Our youngest members of society seem to have been born with cell phones in their hands but the rest of us weren’t. We have acquired the ability and have developed a new habit.

Perhaps we need to evaluate this habit from time to time. How much better does it feel to really be present with a person in the flesh; how special the time and ability to share from the heart.  Are we letting these occasions go? Are we missing the beauty around us? And are we assisting others to do the same? What are we giving up?

These devises certainly make life easier in many ways but they do not allow for depth. As we think about Thomas, did his very doubts which made him memorable not leave us an example of presence as well?

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Topics: easter, family, communication, Thomas

Easter Season - Mary

AlleluiaWhen Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found it open and empty, her grief was intensified because her soul was totally laid bare by the loss of Jesus; His life and now his body.

In her despair, she couldn’t recognize Jesus. When he said her name, “Mary”, she knew in her depths that this was Jesus. What’s more, in that one word…her name, she understood that Jesus knew her through and through, loved and accepted her wherever she was. As he spoke her name, it was all encompassing and she could grasp the depth of his love perhaps more than she had ever understood before.

We may never feel Mary’s experience of the unconditional love of Jesus, but there may be times in our lives when we can get an inkling of how that feels.

The experience that comes to my mind happened when I was about nine years old. In our house, winter or summer, my sisters and I were always barefoot in the house. One day I went to take something out of the fridge and in the process, I broke my mom’s favorite pitcher. It was a wedding gift and we were never allowed to even touch it and here I was standing at the fridge with shattered glass all around me. I started crying so loud, it was close to screaming. My mom came running. She called out over my wailing, “Are you hurt?” I said, “No, but I broke your favorite pitcher,” and wailed all the more. She brought a chair over and had me sit so she could move me and the chair away from the broken glass, as she continued trying to calm me down.

She said, “It’s only a pitcher, don’t you understand that you are worth so much more to me than any pitcher?” The truth was that I didn’t realize that at all. I never understood that. As we got the glass cleaned up and the trauma subsided, I went away feeling like my heart was as big as I was because I grasped what she was saying.

There have been many suggestions why Jesus told Mary not to cling to him because he “had not yet ascended to the Father….” (Jn 20; 17) I have no answer either but I do know that these are the moments we want to cling to; this sense of being known and valued and loved.

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Topics: Jesus, Mary-our-mother, Easter-Lent

The Seventh Sorrow of Mary – Jesus is Placed in the Tomb

Jesus_placed_in_tombJoseph of Arimathea, sought permission to bury Jesus. Nicodemus and others came along to complete the Jewish burial rites and Jesus was laid in the tomb. (John 19:38-42)

How anticlimactic this seems. All the people along the way and all the observers as Jesus hung and died on the cross are now gone.

What is there after all is over? Jesus was buried, our loved one is buried, what more is there? It’s almost like we entered our own tomb and now reside in darkness.

Neighbors, friends and even relatives depart and for the first time, we begin to experience the enormity of our loss. There is numbness. The ranting and praying and beseeching are over. It is done. There is nothing we can do now but sit in this darkness and wait. We go through the motions of living; trying to adjust to this new world around us and within us. 

Others tell us we must adjust to our new reality and time will heal us. Anne Morrow Lindbergh wrote after the kidnapping and death of her son that,

“Grief is a great leveler. There is no highroad out. Courage is a first step but simply to bear the blow bravely is not enough. Stoicism is courageous, but it is only a halfway house on a long road. It is a shield, permissible for a short time only. In the end one has to discard shields and remain open and vulnerable.  Otherwise, scar tissue will seal off the wound and no growth will follow. To grow, to be reborn, one must remain vulnerable---open to love but also hideously open to the possibility of more suffering.” (Hour of Gold, Hour of Lead, Diaries and Letters of Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, NY, 1973)

Throughout these Sorrowful Mysteries, Mary remains open to love and vulnerable. We need such examples. We need such support and we need to realize we are never really alone.

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Topics: Mary, death, Lent, Sorrowful

The Sixth Sorrow of Mary – Jesus is Taken down from the Cross

Pieta_Mary_mourning_over_JesusEvery year on the Feast of the Annunciation our parish offers a Mass for bereaved parents and siblings. Each year I am touched by the people who attend; knowing their losses and witnessing their compassion toward each other. 

Before Mass begins, the attendees have the opportunity to add their child or children’s names to a book along with any message they would like. This book is taken up to the altar with the gifts during the offertory.

We also offer paper hearts so the parents are able to write the child’s name down. At the offertory, everyone is invited to the front to place the heart in the basket as they tell the priest what the child’s name is and he repeats it. This may seem unnecessary or maudlin but so often parents no longer feel comfortable speaking of their child and others never mention the child’s name.

After communion a parent gives a short witness talk. This year a father was willing to do this, which we can imagine, is no easy task regardless how long the child has been gone. His daughter died 30 years ago in a tragic accident when she was 17. What touched me most was his confession that the only peace he was able to glean was in seeing the Pieta, where Mary receives her dead son in her arms. He remembered that Mary had suffered such a tremendous loss and she understood his pain.

Sometimes it may seem difficult to grasp the purpose of the Mysteries and yet, this is exactly how they are most helpful. We know from the Gospels what happened in each situation. We know in our hearts how it felt because of our own lived experience. We want to know in our spirits that life continues.

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Topics: Mary, death, Lent, family, Sorrowful

The Fifth Sorrow of Mary – The Crucifixion

CrucifixionAt the foot of the cross, Mary’s sorrow was intertwined with helplessness, reflection and, dare I say, feelings of guilt?

She was given this awesome charge to bring the messiah into the world. Her calling entailed loving Jesus and keeping him safe until he was able to fulfill his mission. She really had no control over that mission nor where it led. She watched as Jesus was thrown out of the temple, as leaders tried to undermine him, as he was judged and beaten and now as he was dying, an apparent failure. Had she fulfilled her responsibility?

All she could do now was to remain by his side, her own heart bereft as his blood and life was slowly drained from him. Presence and love was all she had to offer him. Sometimes that’s all there is.

How many of us find ourselves in similar situations? We stand at the foot of a dying loved one.  They are unable to help themselves, we cannot help, and we doubt that God can help or at least it seems so. Where does one’s mind go in the midst of this? All too often we are overwhelmed by guilt. How could we have contributed to this suffering? This is an excruciating examination of conscious going nowhere.

Jesus looked down from the cross at the profound loss and pain filling Mary and John. In his love he gave them, one to the other, so they could share their grief. He would not leave them abandoned. He would not leave them alone. (Jn 19:26-27)

So often we feel isolated and alone after such tremendous loss. This is compounded when those around us back off with discomfort not knowing what to say or how to help us. Sometimes we find another though, who can comprehend our loss, who is not afraid of our grief and pain, and is willing to sit in the darkness with us until light gradually returns.

May these comforters be blessed for their patience, their presence and love.  May we in turn be blessed with the ability to be such comforters.  Because aside from this, what more can be offered?

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Topics: Mary, Lent, Sorrowful, Crucifixion

Our Lenten Journey

Jesus_Washes_Feet_Last_SupperOur Lenten Journey is just about over. We have either given up something or done something that we normally don’t do to focus on some area of sacrifice. 

The church provides us with this gift of grace for these 40 days. Whether we give up something or add something to our lives, we experience the struggle to remain faithful to whatever we decided to do for Lent.

This week we celebrate the Triduum - the three days leading up to the death of Jesus and to his Resurrection. The first of the three days is the celebration of the Last Supper.

During this dinner, Jesus, looking up to his Father, broke the bread, blessed the bread and shared it with his apostles saying; take this, all of you and eat it – it is my body given to you.  He then took the cup, blessed it and gave it to his apostles saying; take this cup and drink from it – it is my blood.

Before the end of the dinner, he washed the feet of his apostles as a witness to his words; I have come to serve and not to be served.

We are called to live these words of the Eucharist and the witness to his works of service.

In Family Theater Productions’ faith-based short film for teens and families, Family Dinner,” the main character, Cristina, learns this lesson of sacrifice. She gives witness to the words of Jesus at the Last Supper with her own family. She comes to understand the need of sacrifice and the need for family. After families watch the film together, it usually inspires a discussion about the meaning of the Last Supper story for us today.

As we experience this prayerful celebration of the Last Supper, what do we bring into our own families? What sacrifice have you lived within your family or for your family?  How do you give witness to the words of Jesus at the Last Supper and of his action of washing the feet of the apostles?

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Topics: Jesus, Lent, Triduum, Last Supper

The Fourth Sorrow of Mary – The Way of the Cross

Mary-meets-Jesus-CalvaryAs Mary reaches for Jesus as he carries the cross, who could not appreciate her pain and helplessness. There are no words to say anything. There is only love and compassion to share.

Yet this must have been a difficult journey for her to take. She was told by the angel that she was to conceive a child who “will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father…and of his kingdom there will be no end.” (Lk 2:32)  But here he was suffering, and on his way to death. 

How can all this be? How can she incorporate this into her mind even if her heart and soul trusts God’s word?

Carol is a friend of mine who has a 26 year old daughter. This child was filled with talent and promise from her earliest days. She delighted in life and in her siblings.  All the children were homeschooled and grew up in a solid Catholic faith. Zoe would spend summers in an acting class when she was young and assisted other children as she aged. She would also help her siblings to create puppets and wrote plays that they could present before the school year began. She excelled at college and was such an inspiration that upon graduation, she was hired to work with the admission office and visit high schools as a representative of the college.

Then things began to change. She lost a severe amount of weight. Her faith, which had always been strong, now became her obsession. She spent hours on her knees praying. In time, she could not function because of her behaviors. As she returned home, her behavior became more problematic. She could stand staring at a point in the yard for hours without moving. She heard voices and began to be verbally and even physically abusive to her family members. In the end she was diagnosed with schizophrenia with religious ideation. 

What happened? Her parents handled her behavior and diagnosis in different ways and over time, separated. How could her mother now cope with this child who was not the same? How could she let go of her expectations and accept who Zoe was now? How could she separate what Zoe needed now versus what she “should and could” be?

Whereas Mary came to a better understanding as Jesus suffered, died and arose, how can Carol come to the same point of acceptance and understanding? We can’t always understand how the Lord is working. We cannot see life in perspective.

May God give us the strength to believe when believing is most difficult and to persevere when prayers seem unanswered.

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Topics: Mary, Lent, family, Sorrowful

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