Archive for the ‘Intercession’ category

A worthy intercessor

May 26, 2013

At our Men’s Prayer Breakfast yesterday, during the prayer time when we were voicing our prayer intentions, a man prayed for his daughter who has cancer.

Fr John Petrasko

Fr John Petrasko

Recently, I sent my daughter some information on the priest who baptized her:  Fr John Petrasko.  At the time of her baptism on July 17, 1988, Fr Petrasko was the Chaplain at Misericordia University (known at that time as “College Misericordia”).  Normally, she would have been baptized by the assistant pastor at Gate of Heaven Parish in Dallas.  However, he was away that weekend, and Fr Petrasko was covering for him.

Two years after he baptized my daughter, Fr John Petrasko died of colon cancer at the young age of 36.  He was in the hospital for several months leading up to his death.  Though he and many others prayed for his healing, Fr Petrasko accepted his illness without bitterness or anger, but as part of God’s mysterious plan for his life.  As he got closer to death, he was very frustrated by the fact that the pain medication caused him to be so woosy that he was unable to pray well.

At the post-baptism celebration, Fr Petrasko mentioned in conversation that, besides his work as a college chaplain and fill-in priest, he occasionally went to hear confessions and have Mass for the inmates at SCI-Retreat, the state prison along the Susquehanna River in Hunlock Creek.

SCI - Retreat

SCI – Retreat

I asked him if others were allowed to accompany him, and he responded that they were, but that they needed to be added to the visitors list prior to the visit.  He told me the date of his next visit, and we made arrangements for me to go with him and Sr Julian Baird, who usually accompanied him.

I made two or three prison visits with Fr Petrasko.  Fr Petrasko was a truly holy priest, who definitely had a personal relationship with Jesus.  He said Mass very reverently.  I witnessed firsthand the compassion and charity with which he treated the inmates, and the effusive gratitude that they expressed to him.  He also treated the prison guards with due respect, addressing each of them as “Officer.”  The casual conversations we shared as we traveled to-and-from the prison also revealed his personal holiness and self-giving love.  (Unfortunately, I don’t remember any of his homily at the Baptism Mass).

Because of his holiness, I’m guessing that Fr Petrasko is in heaven now.  The 30th anniversary of his ordination was this month.  Since his life on earth was so short, he probably wants to continue his priestly ministry from heaven.  This makes him an appropriate intercessor, a saint who probably eagerly awaits our requests for his help.  I suppose his intercession might be most efficacious for those who have cancer, like he did.  (Also, for priests we know who need healing or help!)

So, as we pray for the daughter of that man at the Prayer Breakfast, don’t hesitate to enlist Fr Petrasko’s help from heaven.


Addicted? Want an intercessor?

September 25, 2011

Jim Manney shares the story of an unlikely saint.

Let’s pray for Fr Leo’s Special Intention

July 3, 2011

Recently, Fr Leo McKernan, Chaplain of the Guardian of the Redeemer CMF, requested prayers for a Special Intention.  Since the feast of St Benedict is now nine days away, I’ve been inspired to pray a novena to St Benedict for Fr Leo’s Special Intention.  I invite you to join me!!

Each day of the novena, here on the Guardian of the Redeemer CMF website, I will post a couple readings (hastily snagged from the internet) related to St Benedict, along with links to two prayers:  a Litany of St Benedict and a Novena Prayer to St Benedict.

Don’t hesitate to leave a Comment for Fr Leo on one of the posts some time during the novena to let him know you’re praying for his Special Intention.

For those unfamiliar with making a novena:

In CCC n. 956, the Church teaches us:

….”Being more closely united to Christ, those who dwell in heaven fix the whole Church more firmly in holiness…. They do not cease to intercede with the Father for us, as they proffer the merits which they acquired on earth through the one mediator between God and men, Christ Jesus…. So by their fraternal concern is our weakness greatly helped.”

The word “novena” has its origins in the Latin word “novem” referring to “nine each” (per Webster Online).  Thus, we’ll be praying for nine days, ending on the feast of St Benedict.

Novena to All Saints

October 23, 2010

In anticipation of the Solemnity of All Saints, I am beginning today a simple novena to all of the saints in heaven, and invite you to join me.

In CCC n. 956, the Church teaches us:

….”Being more closely united to Christ, those who dwell in heaven fix the whole Church more firmly in holiness…. They do not cease to intercede with the Father for us, as they proffer the merits which they acquired on earth through the one mediator between God and men, Christ Jesus…. So by their fraternal concern is our weakness greatly helped.”

My novena will consist of daily praying the Litany of the Saints, followed by this prayer:

Novena Prayer to All Saints

My heavenly brothers and sisters, from those most renowned to those of greatest obscurity, I come before you now in all humility and commend myself, and all who are dear to me, to your intercession.

Pray for us always, that we may awake each day with a burning desire for the Lord whose Face you behold, that we will maintain an intimate personal relationship with Jesus, our Savior and Head, and that we will not hesitate to proclaim God’s greatness to others, and love them as the Lord loves us.

As you offer your continual praise before the throne of God,   I raise my heart to you now to implore your powerful intercession for these special needs:  (………).

I am confident that your prayers on our behalf will be graciously heard by our loving and merciful Lord.  By his grace, may we someday join you in the glory of the Father’s house.

For those unfamiliar with making a novena:

The word “novena” has its origins in the Latin word “novem” referring to “nine each” (per Webster Online).

The post-Ascension novena (leading to Pentecost) made by the Apostles in the Upper Room is the normal model: pray the novena prayers on each of the nine days prior to the feast — in this case, All Saints. Then express gratitude on the feast day.

Sometimes you’ll find that people start the novena eight days before the feast, and include the feast as the ninth day. That’s OK too. Just a matter of personal preference, I think.

A faith-building answer to prayer

October 17, 2010

The newsworthiness of the ordeal and rescue of the Chilean miners will subside all too quickly.  This article will help us to remember what a tremendous example it was of an answer to persistent prayer, about which we were taught by today’s Mass readings.  Also, it’s a great testament to the efficaciousness of the Rosary as a prayer of intercession, especially in the month of Our Lady of the Rosary.

Houston….we have a problem…

July 20, 2009

“I think the side that wants to take the choice away from women and give it to the state, they’re fighting a losing battle. Time is on the side of change.

— Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice SCOTUS, NY Times July 12, 2009-07-19

On July 20, 1969 I was about to enter my senior year in high school and training intensely for the upcoming football season. I did take time to watch the landing on the moon and heard the words of Neil Armstrong — “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” — as they were spoken by Armstrong on the surface of the moon. I felt tremendous pride in being an American and had great hope for a better future for myself and my generation.

Its hard for me to believe that back in 1969, “only” forty years ago, the equal protection of the laws against homicide were applied to all Americans regardless of race, gender, national origin, age, or condition of dependency. In doing so, the laws of our nation protected the “inalienable right to life” emphatically recognized by the founders of our nation in the “Declaration of Independence”. By “equal protection” the law means that all laws must be applied equally to all human beings. Thus, the state could not punish the murder of an American of European descent but not punish the murder of an American of African descent all other things being equal. Thus, the laws against homicide were also applied to protect the lives of Americans before they were born and while they were residing in the wombs of their mothers.

On April 12, 1970, the Apollo 13 mission to the moon began with an uneventful and almost routine launch of the spacecraft. Within a year of the first lunar landing, America’s media had become bored and hardly paid attention to the mission. However, a “problem” developed during the flight which could have killed the crew. Once again the whole world watched the unfolding drama. As a result, the planned lunar landing had to be “aborted”. Fortunately the astronauts made it home safely through a combination of skill, courage and Divine Providence.

This dramatic episode of American history was recently documented in Ron Howard’s movie “Apollo 13”. The movie memorialized the phrase spoken by one of the astronauts in the spacecraft: “Houston…we have a problem”.

Almost  parallel to this ugly turn of events in the space program, the United States Supreme Court changed the popular use of the word “abortion” in the case of Roe v. Wade decided on January 22, 1973. In this decision the Supreme Court nullified the criminal statutes of 46 states which had given legal protection to the lives of Americans before birth. The court legalized the killing of human beings in the womb through a procedure known as an “abortion”. In justifying its radical break from U.S. jurisprudence, a majority of the court invented “a new constitutional right for pregnant mothers” through “an exercise of said judicial power” per Byron White, Associate Justice SCOTUS, in a dissenting opinion joined by Associate Justice Rehnquist.

Ignoring the wisdom of Horton Hears a Who,“a person is a person no matter how small,” the eminent jurists sitting on the Supreme Court of the United States dismissed the state’s argument that the word “person” as used in the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution included the “unborn”. In a cowardly rhetorical punt the majority opinion condescendingly rejected the central argument of the State of Texas:

“Texas urges that, apart from the Fourteenth Amendment, life begins at conception and is present throughout pregnancy, and that, therefore, the state has a compelling interest in protecting that life from and after conception .We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins. When those trained in the respected disciplines of medicine, philosophy, and theology are unable to arrive at any consensus, the judiciary, at this point in the development of man’s knowledge, is not in a position to speculate as to the answer.”

I strongly suspect that Associate Justice Harry Blackmun and his cohorts did not really believe their assertion that the scientific community did not agree on the beginning point of human life. We had a word for it then and we have a word for it now: “conception,” meaning origin or beginning, and it relates to the point of fertilization of a human egg by human sperm resulting in a completely unique human biological organism.

Nevertheless, the state of “man’s” knowledge about the origin of human life has greatly expanded since 1972. Ironically, the U.S. Space Program has contributed to that knowledge through the development of digital image technology popularly known as CAT Scan and MRI. We can now look into a living human body and see images of the internal parts of the body. Thus, we can now see into the womb of a woman and document the formation of he human being from almost the point of conception through her childbirth.

We also know that every human being has unique DNA. It is so scientifically accepted that DNA evidence is now routinely used in courts of law to help determine the guilt or innocence of humans accused of crimes. We also know that the unique human DNA of every human being is set at the time of conception and it never changes after conception. Thus, our gender, hair, eye color, skin pigment, and other biological characteristics were established at our conception.

Despite the scientific evidence, the legal killing of unborn Americans continues day after day with a total death toll of more than fifty million unborn of partially-born human babies. Many legal attempts to overturn Roe v. Wade have been rejected by the Supreme Court. I can not help but ask why intelligent and educated humans can turn their back on their fellow human beings allowing them to be slaughtered in so many horrific ways. It has also puzzled me that three conservative justices of the Supreme Court appointed by “conservative” President Richard Nixon could join the liberal wing of the Supreme Court to jettison the historical principles of our nation in Roe v. Wade.

A current member of SCOTUS recently shed some light on the policy behind the decision. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, formerly General Counsel for the ACLU, recently gave an interview to a reporter for the New York Times. She admitted that Roe v. Wade was necessary in order to cleanse American of unwanted populations by making abortion available as a means of birth control. Justice Ginsburg’s remarks appear to align her expectations for abortion with those of Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger and other prominent members of the eugenics movement. Sanger and her eugenicist peers advocated the systematic use of contraceptive, sterilization, and abortion to reduce the numbers of poor, black, immigrant, and disabled populations.

Ginsburg’s comments were made in the context of a discussion on the absence of Medicaid funding for abortions for “poor” women. Ginsburg   advocates the expansion of Medicaid to cover abortions. No public funding for abortion has been allowed since 1976 when Congressman Henry Hyde helped pass the Hyde Amendment to the Medical Law. The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionally of the Hyde Amendment in 1980 in Harris v. McRae. Despite the lack of public funding it has been estimated that 40 percent of all aborted babies since 1972 have been African Americans.

Ironically, the ban on Medicaid funding for abortion may be coming to end through the enactment of so called comprehensive health care reform. The Senate is now considering a bill sponsored by Senator Ted Kennedy to establish universal health care partially with government financing.  In addition, the US House of Representatives is considering the House Democratic leadership health care reform bill, the 1000-page HR 3200.  Pro-life organizations have issued alerts to their membership asking the pro-life community  to oppose enactment of these bills unless they specifically exclude abortion from health care plans.

A courageous group of Democrat Congressmen, including our Congressman Kanjorski but excluding  Congressman  Chris Carney, have written a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi informing her that they will not support any health care reform proposals unless it specifically excludes abortion from the scope of any government defined or subsidized health care plan. A total of 19 Democrat members of Congress signed this letter.  A Senate committee recently approved the Kennedy bill after it was amended by an amendment offered by Senator Barbara Mikulski. Senator Mikulski has a 100% pro-death voting record.. She admitted under questioning by Senator Orrin Hatch and Senator Robert Casey that her amendment would require insurers to include  Planned Parenthood clinics as providers and cover services offered deemed “medically appropriate” which would include abortions. Amendments offered that would exclude abortion  from health care plans were defeated in Committee. Senator Casey voted against the Mikulski amendment, but later voted in favor of the Kennedy bill as amended by the Mikulski amendment.

America…we have a problem!  The Ginsburgs, Mikulskis, Pelosis ,Kennedys and  Clintons of America are on a March for Death. It looks like they are going to succeed in making legal abortion an integral part of American health care. They can only be stopped by the vocal opposition of the American people the majority of which is pro-life.

We need to contact our representatives and senators immediately because POTUS Obama is pushing for enactment of this legislation before the August recess. I urge everyone to make an effort to prevent this social injustice from coming to pass.

More importantly God’s people need to pray and fast to overcome this evil (Mark 9:29).

Mary Jo Kopechne, pray for us!

(see these related links)


February 25, 2009

           The Gospel read at Mass last Sunday was taken from the Gospel of Mark and it concerned the curing of a paralytic. The part of the Gospel that caught my attention are the verses “And they came, bringing to Him a paralytic carried by four men. And when they could not get near Jesus because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him; and when they made an opening they set down the pallet on which the paralytic lay.” Mark 2:3-4

           Who were the four men and what relationship did they have with each other and with the paralytic man? It seems unlikely that the four plus one were a random group. It would not be unreasonable to conclude that these men were friends. Perhaps the paralytic man had been injured in an accident while working with them. The four men who carried their friend to Jesus certainly loved their friend. The boldness of the “band of brothers” who made extraordinary efforts to bring their friend to Christ shows their faith in Christ, and their faith moves Jesus to forgive the man’s sins and to heal his paralysis.

            This is a concrete example of fellowship and underscores one of the prime purposes of the Catholic Men’s Fellowship movement. When we talk about fellowship we are using an English word translating the New Testament word “koinonia”, an incredibly rich word.  Koinonia can be translated as unity, communion, solidarity, participation, or friendship. The Latin word for fellowship is “communion” which is the word we use to describe our reception of the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ at Mass under the appearance of bread and wine.

              What we Catholics need to understand is that the desire for fellowship with God cannot stop there. God wants our relationships in our families, parishes, and ecclesial groups to reflect the depth of relationship signified by the word “koinonia”. We also learn from the story of the paralytic man that God intends for his sons and daughters to help one another to receive the healing and blessings that God wants to bestow upon us.

                The commentary to the Navarre translation of St. Mark’s Gospel quotes St. Jerome’s commentary on the passage. In the paralytic man’s physical paralysis St. Jerome sees a type or figure of spiritual paralysis: the cripple was unable to return to God by his own efforts. Through the help of his friends Jesus cured the man of both types of paralysis.

                 There are many men we come into contact with in our ordinary lives who are suffering from a spiritual paralysis. The causes of the paralysis could include pornography, alcoholism, same sex attraction disorder, financial distress, troubled marriages, an aborted child, or alienation from family members. Many of these men probably would not go to a priest on their own accord to seek forgiveness and healing. But if we are their friends we should be willing to make great efforts to bring them to Christ for forgiveness and healing.

                 The liturgical season of Lent is always a time special grace and we should take advantage of the graces for ourselves, our families, and our friends. This Lent I encourage the Guardians to pray for the conversion and healing of their friends and family and other Catholic men in their parish.

                  The National Fellowship of Catholic Men is sponsoring the 2nd Annual Catholic Men’s National Day of Prayer on March 19th, 2009. However, the intercessions could be made every day of Lent. We should pray:

  • For every man to heed Christ’s call to personal conversion
  • For every man to become a transformed disciple of Jesus
  • For every Catholic man to fully acknowledge his vocational state of life calling
  • For every married man to love his wife and children as Christ loved the Church
  • For every ordained and religious man to serve Christ and His Church in accord with his specific vocation
  • For every man to embrace, proclaim, and exemplify the truth of the Gospel in his home, parish, workplace, and community.

                   In addition to fervent prayer, the Guardians should come to the Holy Hour for Men on March 14, 2009 at St. Joseph’s Oblate Seminary in Pittston. The Holy Hour also presents and outstanding opportunity for us to bring our fathers, sons, brothers, and male friends to the Risen Lord who will be there substantially present in the Blessed Sacrament. Jesus will be waiting and desiring to heal and to forgive the sins of all those with the faith to come so we can be reconciled to the Father and with one another.