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Cascia, Italy

Join Mary Jane Fox for a spiritual journey to the town of Cascia in the Umbrian region of Italy. Discover why so many of the faithful are drawn here as they make their pilgrimages from Rome to Assisi. During this program you will learn about the:

  • Basilica of Santa Rita da Cascia, the minor basilica where the incorrupt body of St. Rita is preserved
  • Eucharistic miracle from Siena that is preserved here
  • Life of St. Rita, a widow who became a nun
  • Lessons to be learned from St. Rita’s difficult life

Jewel for the Journey:

When you wonder about the mystery of yourself, look to Christ who gives you the meaning of life.  — St. Pope John Paul II

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Prayer to St. Rita of Cascia

Dear Rita, model wife and widow, you yourself suffered in a long illness showing patience out of love for God. Teach us to pray as you did. Many invoke you for help, full of confidence in your intercession. Deign to come now to our aid for the relief and cure of (name). To God all things are possible; may this healing give glory to the Lord. Amen. Holy Patroness of those in need, Saint Rita, you were humble, pure and patient. Your pleadings with your divine Spouse are irresistible, so please obtain for me from our risen Jesus the request I make of you: (mention your petition).  Saint Rita, you miraculously participated in the sorrowful passion of our Lord Jesus Christ. Obtain for me now the grace to suffer with resignation the troubles of this life, and protect me in all my needs. Amen

www.stritashrine.org

Visit PilgrimCenterofHope.org for more information.

Sacrifices for Dignity & Freedom

Servant of God Emil Kapaun celebrates Mass on the battlefield (Original photo in the Public Domain)

When I attend events where the National Anthem is sung and eyes are focused on the American Flag, tears well up in my eyes because I think of all who made this Nation as it is -“a land of the free”. When I hear Taps played at military funerals, I feel honored to be a part of that recognition of those who have served our country. The sacrifices, duty and dedication of many men and women come to mind. And yes, I do pause and thank God for their lives and their service which helped build the foundation of freedom. So many have become role models for young Americans to join the military.

A person to learn about and remember is a Catholic chaplain, Father Emil Kapaun, who served in the U.S. Army during World War II & the Korean War. He was born in Pilsen, Kansas on April 20, 1916, and died as a prisoner of war on Mary 23, 1951 at the age of 35. The Catholic Church has begun the cause for his canonization. Servant of God Emil Kapaun was a faithful priest, parish pastor, and military chaplain with a zealous and fervent desire to help others encounter Christ and His peace.

During the Korean war, he would offer Mass from the top of his jeep, travel miles to have Mass for troops in the field, would carry wounded men to safety, and brought hope to his fellow prisoners. He was called the Shepherd In Combat Boots.

He and other American soldiers were captured and forced to march a 60 to 100 mile walk to a prison camp. He helped carry one soldier with a broken ankle, and would encourage others to help those in need of support. Otherwise, they would be left to die or be shot. In prison, he would turn the mud huts they were forced to live in into a cathedral. He underwent torture for visiting prisoners to pray with them. He died of starvation and pneumonia after seven months in prison.

As the enemy took him to an area to die; the men cried out and begged that their priest not be taken away. As he was led away, Father Emil was heard saying: I’m going where I always wanted to go, and when I get there, I’ll say a prayer for all of you. Don’t worry about me. He was last seen blessing his captors.

Father Kapaun was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions. The President of the United States posthumously awarded him the Medal of Honor on April 11, 2013. This medal is the highest award given to a member of the military, and Kapaun is just one of five Chaplains to have received the award.

We have been given the gift of freedom as an American people.

The ultimate freedom we have is the freedom that Jesus has given us with the sacrifice of his life and through his promises as we discover them in the Scriptures. Jesus said: If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed (John 8:36). Free to live a life with God, to walk with him daily and experience his peace, and to live in hope of eternal life.

Our sacrifice of putting another person first, in the virtue of charity, can lead us to realize our dignity as a child of God, as a person living in true freedom.


Mary Jane Fox, D.H.S. is Co-Founder & Co-Director of Pilgrim Center of Hope with her husband, Deacon Tom 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. Mary Jane is an invested member of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, a Dame 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.

St. Catherine of Siena – Italy

During today’s pilgrimage, we are going to spiritually travel alongside one of the most influential women in history – a Doctor of the Church, St. Catherine of Siena! We will:

  • Meet St. Catherine, a young & gifted mystic
  • Discover why the Church has upheld her as one of our greatest teachers & role models even today
  • Take a spiritual pilgrimage through the church where she often prayed, and the chapels that are built over the site of her family home

Jewel for the Journey:
Nothing great is ever achieved without much enduring.  – St. Catherine of Siena

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… Listen to the archived audio recording on our website, ASAP!

Photo by Debra Garza – Statue of St. Catherine mentioned during our program

Meet Pope St. Paul VI

Enjoy tea & treats at home as we meet and discuss St. Paul VI, a modern pope and one of our heroes & patrons.

Pilgrim Center of Hope is a non-profit evangelization ministry, sustained only by donations. While there is no required fee to view, please consider donating a one-time gift or showing your support with a monthly donation. Every bit helps this mission of hope to continue. Thank you!


Resources

 

Meet St. Benedict Joseph Labre

Meet St. Benedict Joseph Labre, patron saint of the homeless and mentally ill.

Cost: Pilgrim Center of Hope is a non-profit evangelization ministry, sustained only by donations. While there is no required fee for viewing, please consider donating a one-time gift or showing your support with a monthly donation. Every bit helps this mission of hope to continue. Thank you!


Resources

Photos of his shrine & tomb in Rome:

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Mary of Magdala | Journey with Jesus

 

Meet Blessed Concepcion “Conchita” Cabrera de Armida

You’re invited to join us -online- for some afternoon refreshment. Enjoy meeting Blessed Concepción Cabrera de Armida (Conchita). Includes introduction to saint, complimentary pamphlet with quotes and suggested reading, time for questions and spiritual reflection, prayer.


Pilgrim Center of Hope is a non-profit evangelization ministry, sustained only by donations. While there is no required fee to view, please consider donating a one-time gift or showing your support with a monthly donation. Every bit helps this mission of hope to continue. Thank you!


Resources for You

Suggested Reading

Order the following books from
Sisters of the Cross of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
1320 Maze Blvd
Modesto, California  95351
209-526-3525

Books by Blessed Concepcion “Conchita” Cabrera De Armida 
I Am: Eucharistic Medications of the Gospel 
It was Conchita’s fervent desire that our faith in Jesus be strengthened by reading these, her dialogues, with the Lord, that our hope in Him as Savior of the world might be increased, and that our love for Him and for one another might grow as well.

What Jesus is Like 
Conchita show us the very human, as well as divine, side of Jesus in order that we might more easily fall in love with Him and desire to follow Him more closely.  In 34 brief meditations, she covers every conceivable aspect of the life, personality and person of Jesus.

A Mother’s Letters 
Conchita’s letters to her large and extended family express not only her spiritual wisdom but also her warm, human side as she lovingly guides, advises, and rejoices with the members of her family in good times and bad.

Spiritual Direction – According to the Simple Plan 
This booklet presents the plan for spiritual direction according to Conchita.  It consists of 18 rules.  The goal is the transformation of the person in the Christ Priest and Victim.

Books by Fr. M.M. Philipon, O.P. about Conchita
Conchita – A Modern Mystic 
Holiness is God’s call to all people.  It is laity who is called, today, to give the world witness of family high holiness.  God has given us an example of such sanctity in the mother of nine children.

Conchita – A Mother’s Spiritual Diary 
For more than 40 years, on the advice of her spiritual directors, she faithfully kept a spiritual diary.  Drawing from her 66 handwritten notebooks. Fr. Philipon has compiled her principal message.

Inspiration from Former Slave: God’s Call for Us Is Possible!

The Lord said to Moses, Speak to the whole Israelite community, and tell them: Be holy, for I, the Lord, your God, am holy. And in the Gospel, Jesus tells all humanity, Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Are we expected to be as holy and perfect as God?

We might dismiss these commands as impossible, but that would be a mistake. God is not commanding us to do what he does; he is commanding us to be who he has created us to be, which we can only do with the help of his grace.

It is for this reason he has given us the Church with her sacraments, the Scriptures and her teaching authority. Through baptism, we have everything we need to live a supernatural life in intimacy with God who created us out of love.

The obstacle we all face is the pressure from the world in which we live, to shape how we look at ourselves and how we plan our future. In the second reading we are told, For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in the eyes of God… Yes, it is necessary for us to advance our education and understanding of the things that make us responsible citizens. However, when the wisdom of this world contradicts the wisdom of God, there will be consequences that will cause turmoil and the loss of hope.

An Amazing Example

Recently, I watched a movie about St. Josephine Bakhita. She was kidnapped as a child from a wealthy family in Sudan by slave traders and sold into slavery. She was tortured and frequently beaten for many years until by providence she was temporarily placed in a convent in Italy while her mistress traveled on personal business. During her time in the convent, she learned about the love of God and was attracted to the religious life. When her owner returned to reclaim her, she refused to leave and was eventually granted her freedom through the courts. Her new life and vocation brought her great joy; she said if she would ever meet those who sold her into slavery, she would kneel and kiss their hands because it was through her terrible fate that she discovered the love of God and her new life in service to him.

She received the sacraments of the Church by Archbishop Giuseppe Sarto who later became Pope Pius X. Bakhita was canonized by Pope John Paul II on October 1, 2000.

St. Josephine Bakhita, who was known for her deep prayer life and for totally giving herself in the service of God and others, has received the perfection that we all hope for and that is necessary to enter the kingdom of heaven. We may never experience the terrible sufferings of St. Josephine Bakhita, but we must choose God above all else as she did.

Perseverance & Inspiration

The trials and suffering we experience in this life are an opportunity to draw close to Christ and receive the grace he will offer us if we approach him with sincere and contrite hearts. If we persevere in faith and make every effort to over come sin and grow in virtue, with God’s grace, we will be as holy and perfect as is necessary to live in Christ’s presence in heaven.

One of the treasures of our Catholic faith is the vast collection of stories about men and women who became saints during their life on earth. Their lives are so amazing; they have inspired other men and women to become saints! We can learn from them how to deepen our faith and trust in God when we are faced with trials and discouragement. Every saint we read about experienced difficult and sometimes severe circumstances, and yet they were still filled with great joy and happiness because of God’s grace. I encourage you to prayerfully choose a saint to read about and to ask for their intercession during your morning prayer. You will be glad you did.


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.

What Am I Living For? Hope When All Seems Lost

Here in San Antonio, we recently participated in Daylight Savings Time, and we all got “an extra hour” added to our busy week.

How often do you wish for more time?

Life can rush past us so quickly. That is—until we hit a wall; illness, death of a loved one, a financial challenge, relationship problem, employment crisis, etc. Then, it seems we all pause and find ourselves wondering: What is the meaning of all this? What am I living for?

A Man Who Lost Everything

One of the most relatable stories I’ve ever come across is that of Saint Alphonsus Rodriguez, also called Alfonso. He…

  • had poor health
  • lost his father at age 14
  • lacked a basic education, since he had to drop out of school and take over the family business
  • was a widower by age 31 after only 5 years of marriage
  • lost all three of his children at a young age
  • suffered the collapse of his family business

Having hit “rock-bottom,” he pursued a religious vocation. This required further education. Alfonso bravely enrolled in classes with young people sitting all around him, but he failed to pass.

He spent two years with a spiritual director before entering the Jesuits as a brother. He worked as a school doorkeeper and did odd jobs. Frequently, he was upset with scrupulous thoughts and suffered other mental issues. Finally, he began to lose his memory.

When Everything Fails

Can you imagine hitting as many walls as Alfonso did? (Perhaps you have.)

We all want to be happy. Happiness can be pursued in security, success, health, family, friends… but when we lose what is dear to us, ultimately, we come to question: What am I living for?

Finding Purpose

Saint Alphonsus Rodriguez left no speeches or writings. His legacy and humble witness of life are what teach us about living with purpose.

Faced with that ultimate question of purpose and meaning, he could have attempted to wrestle with it all by himself. Instead, he sought a trusted advisor to keep him on track. We can all do the same.

Even after failing his initial attempts at religious life, Alphonsus came to believe that everything meaningful he sought in life was found in God. Although it took him 16 years before he could make his final vows as a religious brother, a life dedicated to God was worth the wait.

Saint Alphonsus Rodriguez discovered the reason why thousands of people over millennia have left behind everything they had to follow Jesus Christ. It is also why many people who have lost everything, like Alfonso did, can continue to live with joy.

Jesus said: I came that they might have life, and have it abundantly. (cf. John 10:10)

Dare to seek a God who gave everything for you. Dare to ask Jesus: I need hope. Show me the abundant life that you came to give me.

Are you ready to discover a new reason to live?


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.

Mt. Sinai – Egypt

Travel with Deacon Tom & Mary Jane Fox to Mt. Sinai in Egypt. Aside from exploring this sacred destination, they will also discuss:

  • Catherine of Alexandria’s Connection to a monastery at the foot of the mountain
  • The Life of St. Catherine
  • The Message behind Catherine’s honesty and integrity in following Jesus Christ

Jewel for the Journey:
The devil is afraid of us when we pray and make sacrifices. He is also afraid when we are humble and good. He is especially afraid when we love Jesus very much. He runs away when we make the sign of the Cross.    
– St. Anthony of Egypt

Listen to this program now:

Visit PilgrimCenterofHope.org for more information.