Habemus Papam! Habemus Papam Franciscus! VIVA IL PAPA!!!!

Habemus Papam! © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013.

Habemus Papam! © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013.

Habemus Papam! Habemus Papam Franciscus!

We have a Papa!!!!! I’ve spent a good portion of the day wishing I could hug the Holy Spirit. Like a billion or so Catholics, my heart is overflowing with gratitude at the election of our new Holy Father, His Holiness Pope Francis.

Having spent the better part of the last few weeks in prayer and speculation regarding who would be ultimately chosen to carry the Keys of the Kingdom, like so many other Catholics, yesterday I finally felt like I could exhale. To say these weeks since the February 11th announment of the pending resignation of our beloved Holy Father Emeritus, Benedict XVI have been tense is an understatement. Rampant mudslinging by the secular press has no doubt heightened an uneasiness that has hung over these weeks like a dark, dense, winter storm cloud.

However, with the billows of white smoke which yesterday poured forth from the chimney above the Sistine Chapel, our hopes began to soar. Our day began early. We had a feeling white smoke would appear on the 13th. The 13th of each month has long been significant with regard to Our Lady of Fatima, and since yesterday was also a Wednesday – the day of the week the Holy Church devotes to honoring St. Joseph, patron of the Universal Church – many of us felt certain that an election would take place. With that in mind, the kids and I camped out on the family room floor, (with the 3 dogs). We watched twice as dark smoke wafted from the Sistine Chapel chimney around 4 a.m., and later raced back from morning Mass at Holy Hill Basilica to wait anxiously for the result of the afternoon votes. As the white smoke issued forth, the cheers around our kitchen table united with those in St. Peter’s Square and around the world – we glimpsed again that threshold of hope so eloquently ushered in by both Blessed Pope John Paul II and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

Viva IL Papa! © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013

Viva IL Papa! © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013

Throughout these weeks the profound humility of Pope Benedict XVI has become evident. In a world dominated by vainglory and pride, the resignation of His Holiness has stood in stark contrast as an ultimate act of humility. His successor meets humility with humility. Tonight’s reading from the Divine Office instructs: “Be humbled in the sight of the Lord and he will raise you on high (James 4:10).” Certainly, both our Holy Father Emeritus and Pope Francis exemplify this scriptural passage.

Pope Francis truly reflects the Gospel – he doesn’t just preach it; he LIVES it. Watching detractors in the liberal press attempt to find fault with Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio has been like watching a celebrity version of the game Twister. No matter how one bends and twists the facts, the virtuous character of His Holiness, Pope Francis shine through any darkness they attempt to spew. It must be a challenge to find fault with the Cardinal who washes and kisses the feet of AIDS victims and impoverished women, who cooks his own meals and regularly takes public transportation to and from his appointed duties, who bowed on the balcony before 100,000+ well wishers and asked for their prayers for God’s blessing before imparting his papal blessing.

You are Peter. . . © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013.

You are Peter. . . © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013.

In the Gospel, Our Lord Jesus Christ bids us: “Take up My yoke upon you, and learn of Me, because I am meek, and humble of heart: and you shall find rest to your souls (Matthew 11: 29).” Our new Holy Father seems to embody this directive. He has accepted the yoke of Christ, and carries a meek and humble heart.

As Holy Father, Pope Francis continues to move with meekness – paying his hotel bill in person, taking the bus with fellow Cardinals, and slipping in the side door of St. Mary Major Basilica to leave a bouquet of flowers in humble supplication before Our Lady. In so doing, even in his first 24 hours, His Holiness Pope Francis has won the hearts and esteem of Catholics and non-Catholics alike.

Like St. Francis of Assisi, Our Lord has commissioned Pope Francis with a monumental task: “Rebuild My Church!” Were he merely the CEO of a multi-national corporation with its headquarters in Rome, this task would be insurmountable. However, Pope Francis is not the leader of a purely human enterprise. No, he is not a CEO; he is a Fisherman, a Peter. It is to his capable hands that the unsullied Bride of Christ has been entrusted. God has promised that the Gates of Hell will not prevail against His Church (Matthew 16:18), and HE will empower our new Holy Father with the requisite grace to overcome each and every obstacle in its path. Let us both turn to the Holy Spirit with supplication and thanksgiving for our new Holy Father, Pope Francis.

For the Holy Spirit has not just spoken, He has THUNDERED!!!!! We have a Papa!!! Habemus Papam! Habemus Papam Franciscus!



Ad Jesum Per Mariam,


Wednesdays: Through the Holy Heart of St. Joseph: The Litany of St. Joseph

Noble Son of the House of David, Pray for Us! © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013

Noble Son of the House of David, Pray for Us! © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013

The Holy Catholic Church dedicates the month of March to St. Joseph, whose feast day is celebrated as a Solemnity on March 19. Throughout the month of March, we are urged to ponder more deeply the role of St. Joseph, not only in the lives of Jesus and Mary two millennia ago, but also his role in our lives and the lives of our loved ones today.

I am certainly cognizant of the impact of St. Joseph as role model, intercessor, and patron, in my own life – and am deeply grateful for his guidance and protection. On a personal level, St. Joseph has been a presence in my life since birth – yep, I was born at a St. Joseph Hospital in Ohio. It is uncanny how at all the major moments in my life – joys and sorrows, I can perceive his gentle support. My husband and children were also born at hospitals dedicated to St. Joseph. When my mom needed hip surgery, after having sheared the head off her femur when she was pushed by another agitated resident of an Alzhiemer’s unit – she was treated at, you guessed it – a St. Joseph’s Hospital. Likewise, week after week as I held my Dad’s frail hands during chemotherapy infusions, the care was provided at a St. Joseph’s hospital. Whether it was the joy of new life, or the misery of illness, the presence of St. Joseph was evident in the care of my loved ones – care provided through St. Joseph’s hospitals in 3 different states, and spanning 40+ years.

Head of the Holy Family, Pray for Us! © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013.

Head of the Holy Family, Pray for Us! © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013.

I can’t even begin to count the numbers of “Josephs” in my life! Family, friends, mentors: there are so many special Josephs in my life! As I contemplate with gratitude these individuals, I can’t help but perceive that God manifests the strength and character of St. Joseph uniquely through each of these cherished relationships. Some of my Josephs have reflected his wisdom, others his paternal charity, while others his diligent work ethic. Through each of these Josephs I have had the grace to glimpse – even for just a moment- the Holy Heart of St. Joseph, and for this I am profoundly grateful.

Protector of the Church, Pray for Us! © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013.

Protector of the Church, Pray for Us! © SalveMaterDei.com, 2013.

Lastly, as Catholics, many of us have seen a reflection of the Holy Heart of St. Joseph in our Holy Father Emeritus, who bears as his baptismal name that of the spouse of Mary. In these recent weeks, the humility, courage, and wisdom of our beloved Holy Father have truly been evident. Again, in our Pontiff Emeritus, the Good Lord has chosen to project those saintly virtues upon the canvas of mere human flesh. Like St. Joseph, His Holiness, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, has blessed our lives. Perhaps it is not accidental that the conclave to elect the new pontiff will be initiated during the month dedicated to St. Joseph, the patron of the Universal Church.

The Litany of St. Joseph was approved and promulgated by Pope St. Pius X (who reigned from 1903 to 1914). This magnificent litany can be prayed either individually or in a group. Perhaps this month in particular we might entrust the needs of the Holy Catholic Church to the intercession of St. Joseph.

Please join me as I turn to God with this prayer of praise and thanksgiving for His glorious gift of St. Joseph – and as I seek his intercession for all the Josephs in our lives who reflect the goodness of his Holy Heart.

Litany of St. Joseph

Lord have mercy… Lord have mercy

Christ have mercy… Christ have mercy

Lord have mercy… Lord have mercy

God our Father in Heaven… have mercy on us

God the Son, Redeemer of the world… have mercy on us

God the Holy Spirit… have mercy on us

Most Holy Trinity, one God… have mercy on us

Holy Mary … pray for us

St. Joseph … pray for us

Noble son of the house of David … pray for us

Light of patriarchs … pray for us

Husband of the Mother of God … pray for us

Guardian of Virgins … pray for us

Foster father of the Son of God … pray for us

Faithful guardian of Christ … pray for us

Head of the Holy Family … pray for us

Joseph, chaste and just … pray for us

Joseph, prudent and brave … pray for us

Joseph, obedient and loyal … pray for us

Pattern of patience … pray for us

Lover of poverty … pray for us

Model of workers … pray for us

Example to parents … pray for us

Guardian of virgins … pray for us

Pillar of family life … pray for us

Comfort of the troubled pray for us

Hope of the sick …  pray for us

Patron of the dying … pray for us

Terror of evil spirits … pray for us

Protector of the Church  … pray for us

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world … have mercy on us

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world … have mercy on us

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world … have mercy on us

V. God made him master of His household.

R. And put him in charge of all that He owned.

Oremus: Let us pray

Almighty God,

In Your infinite wisdom and love, You chose Joseph to be the husband of Mary, the Mother of Your Son. May we enjoy His protection on earth, may we have the help of his prayers in heaven.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

R. Amen

Holy Heart of St. Joseph, Please Pray for Us!


Ad Jesum per Mariam,

M.A.   JMJ