Jerusalem - Holy Land

Prayer Service for Peace In the Middle East

It can be overwhelming to read the headlines from Iraq, Syria, Israel and Palestine. So many have died as a result of war and genocide, and so many are now fleeing from the terrors sweeping through their homelands.

We are called to hope in Christ, who absorbs all of the world’s sin and transforms it into radiating love. We are called to unite in compassion, to help our brothers and sisters in need, especially in these most dire situations. We have confidence in Jesus, who assured us that prayer and fasting can drive out demons.

Mary Jane and Deacon Tom Fox hosted a special prayer service for peace in the Middle East August 11, 2014.

Related Resources

Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Website
Franciscan Holy Land Website

Want to show your solidarity with Christians in the Middle East? Wearable Jerusalem Cross pins are available at the Pilgrim Center of Hope for a $5 donation. All proceeds will benefit the Church in the Middle East.  Contact us for your Jerusalem Cross pin.

Prayer to Our Lady of Jerusalem

O Mary Immaculate, gracious Queen of Heaven and Earth, we beseech you to turn a pitying glance on the Holy Land, which more than any other land belongs to you, and from there you have given the Redeemer to the world. Watch, therefore, with special protection over your native country, bring Peace and Justice to the people of the Holy land.

Obtain for us all the grace to serve the Lord in sanctity and justice during all the days of our life, so that by the merits of Jesus with your motherly aid, we may pass at last from this earthly Jerusalem to the splendors of the heavenly one.

Our Lady of Jerusalem, pray for us. Amen.

Friends In High Places

Why do Catholics pray to saints? Some Christians think that we should only pray to God, not any human being.

We pray to saints to ask for their prayers on our behalf (called “intercession”). Intercessory prayer builds up the Body of Christ, the Church, because it is a demonstration of our mutual dependence and love for one another in Christ.

Prayer to saints is a tradition founded in biblical theology and practiced throughout the history of the Church. In several instances in the Old Testament, angels are described as praying for God’s people on Earth. In Revelation 5:8, John receives a vision in which the “elders” in Heaven each “were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.”

Around 258 AD, St. Cyprian, in a letter to Pope Cornelius, wrote:

“Let us be mutually mindful of each other, let us ever pray for each other, and if one of us shall, by the speediness of the Divine vouchsafement, depart hence first, let our love continue in the presence of the Lord, let not prayer for our brethren and sisters cease in the presence of the mercy of the Father.”

Nan Balfour and Julie Reyna chatted with Melanie Rigney, speaker for the 2014 Catholic Women’s Conference and author of Sisterhood of Saints.

Getting Prayers Answered

Is there a secret to having your prayers answered?

What might it mean if you don’t get what you asked God for?

Fr. Ed Hauf, OMI, chatted with Rob and Camille DiMaio to answer these and all your questions about prayer.

Catholicism Live! was a weekly program produced by Pilgrim Center of Hope from the early 2000s until 2019.

The Importance of Prayer

What is prayer and why is it important?

Prayer is our communication with God. As St. Therese of Lisieux has said, “For me, prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned towards heaven; it is a cry of recognition and love; embracing both trial and joy.”

God made us to live united with Him and with one another. After the rupture caused by original sin, God still bound himself to a sinful humanity and made his presence known by covenants and the voices of prophets. Jesus came that unity with God would be fully restored, and prayer is the pulse of communication in this intimacy.

Mary Jane and Deacon Tom Fox discuss the importance of prayer with Fr. Patrick Martin, blind missionary priest.

We Are Made for More: What Our Bodies Tell Us

I’ve heard of the “Theology of the Body”, but I’m not really familiar with it. What is it?

The Theology of the Body (TOB) refers to the teachings of Pope St. John Paul II about the meaning given to our bodies made in the “image and likeness” of God. He expounded this teaching during weekly audiences from September 1979 to November 1984, and in various letters during his papacy.

So . . . what does the body mean?

In short, John Paul II explained that the body reveals God because it is designed in his likeness. This summary has as many applications as there are aspects of human life, because every human area is in relation to the body.

Our hands can be used to create music or hold a baby, embrace a loved one or plant a garden. Each one of these uses has much to say about God, and that’s just reflecting on the hands!

Where can I learn more about the TOB?
Author and 2014 Catholic Women’s Conference speaker Emily Stimpson joined host Nan Balfour and Danielle Smith, to talk about Emily’s book, These Beautiful Bones: An Everyday Theology of the Body.


All Things New: Fighting Modern Slavery

The Catholic Church teaches that every person is chosen by God to love and be loved for all eternity. Our bodies exist as signs of this reality, and the dignity and integrity of each person – body and soul – deserve great respect from individuals and society.

Many social ills make this Christian ideal difficult, and in this episode of Catholicism Live we’re going to talk specifically about prostitution. The Catechism has this to say:

“Prostitution does injury to the dignity of the person who engages in it, reducing the person to an instrument of sexual pleasure. The one who pays sins gravely against himself: he violates the chastity to which his Baptism pledged him and defiles his body, the temple of the Holy Spirit. Prostitution is a social scourge. It usually involves women, but also men, children, and adolescents . . . While it is always gravely sinful to engage in prostitution, the imputability of the offense can be attenuated by destitution, blackmail, or social pressure.”

It’s an unfortunately common myth that women become prostitutes by choice, as if prostitution were simply another career.

The truth is that women are largely tricked and coerced into prostitution from the start, by manipulative and deceptive men who use mental, emotional and physical abuse to keep them locked in their position. Often, a pimp spots a vulnerable girl or woman and uses her own needs to trap her. He may promise to provide love and security at first, and then become isolating and dominative. He may lie, saying that no one else would care for her, as he pretends to.

In other cases, girls or women find themselves suddenly tricked into prostitution when money appears on the nightstand after a regrettable night. Pimps wield power over women considered property by subjecting them to desolating abuse, and even outright torture, if a prostituted woman does not follow instructions or fulfill a quota.

The tragic reality of prostitution and sex trafficking arrives in the news when large arrests are made at the border and major sporting events. But these ongoing problems occur in our own backyard on a daily basis.

Fortunately, police officers are trained to find prostituted women and offer them a way out. Even then, it can be very difficult to leave prostitution, because of the conditioning created by dire circumstances and manipulation by pimps. But many do leave, praise be to God.

There is hope for prostituted women.

We were delighted to host Linda Caswell, founder of All Things New, a ministry for prostituted women, on this episode of Catholicism Live! The ministry was closed, and Linda moved out of state. Pilgrim Center of Hope no longer has contact information for Linda. However, we hope this program will educate & encourage you to learn more about the reality of sex trafficking. San Antonio Police Department has information about reporting sex trafficking tips.

Catholicism Live! was a weekly program produced by Pilgrim Center of Hope from the early 2000s until 2019.

Mary Magdalene, Model Woman

How is Mary Magdalene a model for today’s woman?

Convert from evangelical Christianity and Scripture teacher Sonja Corbitt joined us for a ladies’ night on radio – with Nan Balfour, Catholic Women’s Conference coordinator, and Conference emcee Julie Reyna.

Women’s Dignity and Calling

Let’s set the record straight: What does the Catholic Church really say about women?

In this episode of Catholicism Live!, three women answered this question. Mary Jane Fox hosted Catholic Women’s Conference Coordinator, Nan Balfour, and special guest Marge Fenelon – speaker at the 2012 Catholic Women’s Conference – to discuss what official documents and teachings of the Catholic Church actually say about women. Plus, we consider recent issues about whether women can “have it all” addressed in The Atlantic Magazine and NBC’s Meet the Press.

About our Guest: More than 15 years ago, Marge decided to leave behind the secular business world after several years as a public relations consultant, in order to focus her talents and energies on serving the Church and Catholic media. She is a longtime contributor to a variety of Catholic and secular publications – including Our Sunday Visitor and National Catholic Register. Also an author, Marge’s latest book “Strengthening Your Family: A Catholic Approach to Holiness at Home,” has foreword written by Timothy Cardinal Dolan.

Marge is a regular guest on Sacred Heart Radio’s “Son Rise Morning Show” and has appeared on many others, including “Conversation with the Cardinal” with Cardinal Dolan, Relevant Radio’s “Morning Air,” and Spirit Catholic Radio’s “Inside the Pages.” She’s an enthusiastic speaker and small group leader, and has invigorated audiences in a variety of venues. She holds a B.A. in Journalism/Public Relations from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, a Certificate in Spiritual Mentoring from Cardinal Stritch University, and a Certificate in Marian Studies from the International Marian Research Institute.

Marge and her husband, Mark, are members of the Apostolic Movement of Schoenstatt and assist in the faith formation of young couples in the movement. They have four children ages 26 to 16 who, combined with a rocket of a dog named Daisy, configure the fun-loving and sometimes outrageous ‘Fenelon Clan.’


Marriage Encounter

How’s your marriage doing?

Not married – but know some married folks? We talk marriage tips and goals from Marriage Encounter, a unique program dedicated to strengthening marriages at the local level, across the world.

More information related to this episode:

Tarot cards

Harmless or dangerous?

Are they harmless?

We see them on street corners, in magazines, and even in the grocery store, so how can common practices like horoscopes, ouija boards, or going to a curandera be dangerous? Maybe you or your family member has participated in some of these activities. If they seem fine, they weren’t harmed – right?

We explore these practices from a different angle. Are you willing to hear the truth about how seemingly harmless practices may really be harming you or your loved ones?

More information related to this episode: