Tag Archive for: conversion

A Journey to Pompeii, Italy

Let’s go to Italy! Continuing our celebration of the Month of Mary, come along with Deacon Tom and Mary Jane Fox on an audio pilgrimage to the Pontifical Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary, located in Pompeii, Italy.  Today, the sanctuary also known as Our Lady of Pompeii attracts not only religious pilgrims but also a large number of tourists drawn by its beauty.

During our journey, you will hear about:

  • The eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD, which destroyed Pompeii
  •  The painting of Our Lady of the Rosary, which is venerated at the Pontifical Shrine
  • St. Bartolo Longo, a former Satanic priest who became a faithful follower of Jesus Christ, and is an important figure in the Basilica’s history

We are so grateful to this month’s sponsor, Dian Coleman in memory of Ronald Coleman, who made this podcast episode possible.


WHERE to TUNE IN:

Live – Wed., May 18 @ 8:00 PM CDT

Guadalupe Radio Network (South/Central Texas Stations)

Listen to the archived audio recording on our website, ASAP beginning the next day; will also be available on major podcast apps – search for “Journeys of Hope.”


Jewel for the Journey:

“The Rosary is the prayer dearest to Mary, most loved by the Saints, most frequently used by Christian peoples, most honored by God with astounding wonders, most enriched with great promises, by the Virgin.” – Blessed Bartolo Longo


A Closer Look at Our Lady of Pompeii:

Pictures coming soon!


Supplication to the Queen of the Holy Rosary by Blessed Bartolo Longo

This prayer is a fitting way for us to conclude and to pray for those who, like Blessed Bartolo once was, are still caught under the bondage of Satanism and the occult.

St. Bartolo Longo

Sign Of The Cross

O Blessed Rosary of Mary, sweet chain that unites us to God, bond of love that unites us to the angels, tower of salvation against the assaults of Hell, safe port in our universal shipwreck, we will never abandon you. You are our comfort in the hour of death. May the last word from our lips will be your sweet name, O Queen of the Rosary of Pompei, O dearest Mother, O Refuge of Sinners, O Sovereign Consoler of the Afflicted. May you be everywhere blessed, today and always, on earth and in heaven.”Jesus, we thank you for giving us your mother, who is our Heavenly Mother!

Amen.


Where is Our Lady of Pompeii?

How Can a Woman Be the Mother of God? | Meet Mary

We especially thank the Marian Center of San Antonio for sponsoring this episode of Meet Mary! Pilgrim Center of Hope is grateful for all our Missionary of Hope supporters who make possible everything we do.

Reaching Our Potential for Happiness

What we think we know is often less than the truth and can lead us to a wrong conclusion. In the Gospel of Luke (4:21-30), Jesus has just read from the Scriptures in the synagogue in Nazareth where he grew up. After reading he says,

“Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”

The Messiah that the Jewish people had been praying for, for centuries is right now in their midst. “They all spoke highly of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth.” But then they said, “Isn’t this the son of Joseph?”

In other words, they thought they knew who Jesus was and were confused that he should speak with such authority. So, Jesus tells them that their attitude is just like that of their forefathers who refused to accept the prophets who came to them. Jesus says it is for this reason that miracles were performed for foreigners instead of the Chosen People. Upon hearing this, the people became enraged at Jesus and intended to kill him, but he walked through their midst and went away. He could perform no miracles in his hometown of Nazareth because they had so little faith.

Is Conversion Necessary?

Recently the Church celebrated the Feast of the Conversion of St Paul. Without the conversion, there would have been no St. Paul. Paul, who was previously Saul, was an educated Jewish religious leader and he thought he knew the will of God when he was persecuting Christians and trying to destroy the Church; but he was wrong. It wasn’t until he had an encounter with Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus that he was able to see clearly what God’s plan was for him and he spent the rest of his life totally surrendering to the will of God so that he could say,

“It is no longer I who live, but Christ living in me” (Galatians 2:20).

So, what does the conversion of Paul have to do with the Gospel passage of Luke 4:21-30? If we look closely, we will see that all the followers of Christ went through a conversion. Conversion is necessary for us to recognize God’s plan for us. Speaking of those who had not experienced conversion Jesus said,

“…they may look and see but not perceive, and hear and listen but not understand, in order that they may not be converted and be forgiven” (Mark 4:12).

In other words, an unconverted heart diminishes our vision, it diminishes our hearing and it diminishes our understanding in regards to the things of God.

Accepting Change in Our Lives

We have all been baptized and we are children of God. In baptism, we received the gifts of faith, hope, and charity, as well as the gifts of the Holy Spirit. In due time we received the sacraments of Reconciliation, Holy Eucharist, and Confirmation which are sources of the graces we need to be faithful Christians. However, there is no substitute for our personal conversion. At some point in our life, we must all say, Lord, I surrender to you. I want you to be the Lord of my life. Help me to be your faithful witness.

Throughout our lives, God gives us opportunities or encounters that are an invitation to accept change in our lives that will provide spiritual growth. For me, one that stands out is when someone asked me if Jesus was the Lord of my life. I had heard that phrase many times before, but at that moment I was given the grace to truly ponder the question and I realized that my faith had little influence on the decisions I had been making. Those few words caused me to make a deliberate choice to grow in my faith. I began to be open to spiritual things that I had not considered before, such as Bible study, prayer group, and retreat experiences. One thing led to another that has helped me become more aware of the presence of God and the help of his grace. God is patient for our salvation, but the sooner we make a deliberate decision to grow in our faith, the more likely it is that our faith will influence the decisions we make. We will have eyes that are able to perceive and ears that are able to listen and understand the guidance that comes from God, and we will be willing to make changes in our lives that will help us to grow spiritually.

What is the Desire in Your Heart?

On this subject of conversion, we have a quote from the National Conference of Catholic Bishops in a document called Go Make Disciples:

“Conversion is the change of our lives that comes about through the power of the Holy Spirit. All who accept the Gospel undergo change as we continually put on the mind of Christ by rejecting sin and becoming more faithful disciples in His Church. Unless we undergo conversion, we have not truly accepted the Gospel.”

The good news is, conversion is primarily the work of God, all He needs is a docile heart. In baptism, we received the Holy Spirit who is the Agent of conversion and if we truly want to draw close to God, we ask the Holy Spirit to help us by way of our fervent prayer, by receiving the sacraments, and by reading the lives of the saints who make this journey with us.

What we think we know is often less than the truth, that’s why we must continually be formed in the truth. Jesus founded the Church, to teach us and guide us in the truth. What we do know without a doubt is that we must love the Lord Our God with all our mind, heart, soul, and strength and we must love our neighbor as ourselves. If there is anything in our lives more important than God, we have not yet experienced conversion and we fail to understand the depths of the love and mercy of Almighty God. We can only reach our potential for happiness in this life and for all eternity by living in a faithful relationship with God. It is not complicated. Our Lord has had faithful followers in every age from one extreme to the other and everyone in between. We all have the capacity to be faithful disciples. It begins with a desire in our hearts and continues with the help of the Holy Spirit. Come Holy Spirit, come!


Deacon Tom FoxK.H.S. is Co-Founder & Co-Director of Pilgrim Center of Hope with his wife, Mary Jane Fox. The two left their careers after a profound conversion experience and began working full-time in ministry at their parish in 1986. After several years and having impacted tens of thousands of families, the Foxes founded Pilgrim Center of Hope in 1993 as a response to the Church’s call for a New Evangelization. Deacon Tom is an invested member of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, a Knight of the Holy Sepulchre.

Answering Christ’s call, Pilgrim Center of Hope guides people to encounter Him so as to live in hope, as pilgrims in daily life. See what’s happening & let us journey with you! Visit PilgrimCenterOfHope.org.

A Visitor from Heaven | Meet Mary

We especially thank Michele Maxwell (Marian Center of San Antonio) for sponsoring this episode of Meet Mary! Pilgrim Center of Hope is grateful for all our Missionary of Hope supporters who make possible everything we do.

Finding Fairness In Who Is Truly Happy

The following is an adapted version of Deacon Tom Fox’s homily for Sunday, September 27, 2020.

To understand Sunday’s first reading of the prophet Ezekiel, we recall the special relationship that the Chosen People had with God.

When they, as a people, are faithful to God, they experienced the blessings of God together. However, when they, as a people, are unfaithful, they experienced the wrath of God together.

Nevertheless, individuals are held responsible for their own actions. If a man turns away from his evil ways and does what is right, even if his father did not keep the commandments, he shall preserve his life. If a man whose father was virtuous but he himself turns to sin, he will lose his life. Through these examples, Ezekiel is pointing out that individuals who turn to God will receive His mercy and blessings, no matter what they or their fathers have done. Some believed God was unfair because His judgement did not meet their expectations.

What Is Our Opinion of God?

What about us? Do we believe God is fair?

There are many people who refuse to believe in God because He doesn’t meet their expectations. Some say, “If God is real, why does He allow so much suffering?” or “Why doesn’t He answer my prayer?” On the other hand, for those who want to believe, there is over-whelming evidence of the existence of God. For example; how could the order of the universe and all creation be an accident? —that life began when there was no life?

For me, some of the most convincing evidence is the lives of the saints and the miracles that God worked through them. Even more important than that, their lives are a testimony to what it means to live in a personal, intimate relationship with God and experience great joy, peace, and hope—even in the most difficult circumstances.

Finding the Happiness We Seek

In Sunday’s second reading, Paul tells us how we can share in that joy.

Jesus Christ has made it possible by humbling himself, coming to us in human likeness, and being obedient to God the Father; even to the point of accepting death out of love for us. We must, as Paul says, “Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vain glory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves, each looking out not only for his own interests, but also for those of others.”

That is how the saints have reached their potential for happiness in this life and for all eternity; because of their obedience and humility in the same manner as Christ. The same will be true for us.

It isn’t the easy road; we can only travel it with the help of God’s grace. In reality, anyone can travel this road if we chose humility and obedience to what God has revealed to us through the Scriptures and the Church.

What We Are Called to Experience

In Sunday’s Gospel, we see the fairness of God. In the beginning, the one son says ‘no’ to his father, but later changed his mind and obeyed. The other son said ‘yes’ to his father, but then disobeyed. The comparison of the two sons is another parable for the kingdom of God.

Even if in the beginning we’ve made bad choices, the Kingdom of God will be open to us if we turn back to God with a desire to do His will—no matter what we have done. First, we must have the humility to accept the forgiveness of God through the sacrament of confession, and then have the desire to be faithful to Him.

At some point, we all must undergo conversion and surrender our lives to God. How will we know we have undergone a conversion?

  • When every day we ask God for the grace to discover and do his will.
  • When we stay connected to God in prayer; his plan for us will gradually become more clear.
Today Is the Day to Begin Again!

In every age, including the present time, there have been and continue to be stories of profound conversions. These testimonies are for our benefit, so that we also will take God seriously and surrender our lives to Him.

The sooner we begin ordering our lives to God, the sooner we will begin to reach our potential for happiness and peace. The happiest people on this earth are those who are faithful disciples of Our Lord.


Deacon Tom FoxK.H.S. is Co-Founder & Co-Director of Pilgrim Center of Hope with his wife, Mary Jane Fox. The two left their careers after a profound conversion experience and began working full-time in ministry at their parish in 1986. After several years and having impacted tens of thousands of families, the Foxes founded Pilgrim Center of Hope in 1993 as a response to the Church’s call for a New Evangelization. Deacon Tom is an invested member of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, a Knight of the Holy Sepulchre.

Answering Christ’s call, Pilgrim Center of Hope guides people to encounter Him so as to live in hope, as pilgrims in daily life. See what’s happening & let us journey with you! Visit PilgrimCenterOfHope.org.

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Fr. Ed Hauf, OMI, talks with Jordan and Blerina Psota about how devotion to the Divine Mercy transformed their lives!

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

Conversions Through Our Witness

Do you see the brilliant light shining in the bleak picture often painted of the Church’s future?

Over my 10 years in high school youth ministry and catechesis, I’d often hear adults exchange their condolences with one another, imagining their beloved young person setting foot on a college campus and immediately throwing their Catholic identity aside.

While it’s true that college has traditionally been one of the first places where a young person’s faith is challenged by the convergence of diverse beliefs in their campus community, this should be something we—people who believe the Truth sets free—celebrate rather than fear.

The Center for Applied Research In the Apostolate (CARA) has found that 40 percent of people who entered the Church as adults entered between the ages of 18-29.

My Eyewitness Account

I began working for Pilgrim Center of Hope here in San Antonio ten years ago, as a senior finishing my B.A. degree. During my time at university, I witnessed the baptism of two students whom I personally knew, and another’s entrance into full communion with the Catholic Church from a strongly Protestant background.

Their conversions were not the result of any particular programs or courses.

These three individuals were a part of my circle of friends, which had at its core several young adults who were striving to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ. “Let’s be saints!” we would say.

We lived joyfully, cultivating a little family among ourselves wherein God was loved. I then began to see that our love for God and one another was contagious.

University life fostered organic conversations about what mattered to us. We would gather together, toast some bread, sit on the floor of the dorms, and talk about what we believed. Some of my friends initiated works of mercy and invited others to come along. Some decided to start praying Night Prayer together in their dorm room.

Our youth gave us a great advantage: authenticity and less inhibition. Without the burden of worry, we openly invited and welcomed people to come along to prayer or works of charity, or to meet our consecrated lay friends.

Soon, the dorm room was not big enough to hold the number of people who wished to stay for Night Prayer. Soon, our few shifts for Eucharistic Adoration at the parish next-door became a regular on-campus Adoration time for students. Soon, those who had never given much thought to religious faith were donning baptismal gowns.

How We Successfully Evangelize

Pope St. Paul VI hit the nail on its head when he said, “Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses.”

Programs, books, campaigns, and projects for evangelization are all wonderful things. At their core, however, they will only be successful if they are accompanied by our authentic Christian witness; our actual living of the Good News.

I learned this principle first-hand on my college campus. I see its vindication each day working for Pilgrim Center of Hope, which is primarily built on the grassroots model of evangelization that God himself established in the life of Jesus Christ and is carried on in the daily lives of Christians. Every day, my coworkers and I see the fruit that grows from the seed of God’s grace, planted in the authentic Christian lives of parents, friends, children, coworkers, and neighbors.

Yes, the rate of persons who leave or disown religious faith is increasing, but do not despair. This reality should remind us of the urgency of Christ’s calling for us to spread the Gospel.

We “are children of the light and children of the day” (1 Thess 5:5). We are not called to spend our time in anxiety or worry; on the contrary, we are called

“to live in a manner worthy of the Lord, so as to be fully pleasing, in every good work bearing fruit and growing in the knowledge of God, strengthened with every power, in accord with his glorious might, for all endurance and patience, with joy giving thanks to the Father, who has made [us] fit to share in the inheritance of the holy ones in light” (Col 1:10-12)!

Let’s accept this challenge, and welcome God’s abundant gifts to help us live each day with hope. By living this way in our daily responsibilities—wherever God has placed us, be assured that we are each sharing the Gospel. That is Good News!


Answering Christ’s call, Pilgrim Center of Hope guides people to encounter Him so as to live in hope, as pilgrims in daily life.

Angela Sealana is Media Coordinator for Pilgrim Center of Hope, having served at the apostolate for nearly 10 years. She also serves on the PCH Speaker Team.