The author’s grandson Daniel reading the Bible.

As we continue through the Biblical Year of the Pauline Family, I thought it would be a good time to share my passion for the Bible. When I say passion, I don’t just mean my love of scripture, but I also mean my interest in the many versions and presentations of the Good Book. Ever since I was a child, I was fascinated by the look and feel of the Bible. I enjoyed holding the bible in my hands, turning the pages, and carefully exploring the layout and text. I was intrigued by all the different sizes and covers. The Bible was beautiful to me and there was a majesty and wonder knowing that it contained God’s Word. As an adult, I dived into the history of the Bible and learned about all the different translations. I began to realize that there was beauty even within the different translations, and that God was able to use this to reach and touch us in different ways. The truth never changes, but the path varies. It’s with this appreciation that I would like to take a few minutes to share with you some of my favorite Bibles available today.

One of the most exciting things to have happened over the last 20 years is a renewed interest by Catholic publishers, educators, and evangelizers to create new Bibles loaded with notes and features that educate and bring enjoyment to Catholic readers. While the actual Word of God is the most important feature of the Bible, it is also important to remember that reading the Bible is an experience and therefore publishers have a real opportunity to engage their readers. It is beneficial to give Catholics options so that they can make the experience comfortable, enjoyable and educational. Some readers may prefer a bigger font. Others may want a more portable Bible that they can easily hold in their hands and take with them. Some are looking for copious notes to aid in their understanding of Scripture, while others don’t want to be distracted by the notes. All this has given rise to a plethora of newly published Catholic Bibles. Before I give some specifics on two new exciting Bibles, let’s discuss some of the translations. I am in no way a Catholic Bible expert, but this is just some simple information that I would like to share. 

In America, the Bible translation that is used during the Mass and the Liturgy of the Word is the New American Bible (NAB), specifically the RNAB published in 1986 and revised in 1991. This translation can be found in Roman Missals published in the United States, and is used in most Catechism classes. In 2001, the NAB Revised Edition (NAB-RE) was published, however, this version is not approved for Liturgical use. 

Another popular Catholic translation is the Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSV-CE), first published in its entirety in 1966 and revised in various ways over the years. This translation is regarded by Catholic Biblical scholars as a formal equivalence (word for word) translation and is ideal for private readings and scriptural study. There is another translation based on the RSV called the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV-CE) which was published in 1991 and is used extensively in our U.S. Pauline publications. The main difference between the RSV-CE and NRSV-CE is the latter’s use of inclusive and gender-neutral language. 

Some favorites: you can never have too many Bibles!

One other translation worth mentioning is the Jerusalem Bible (JB). It is noted for being one of the first modern Catholic English translations made from the Hebrew and Greek texts, and not from the Latin Vulgate. Some of the text was translated from a French version, but this was then compared word for word to the original Hebrew and Greek texts. This Bible is used Liturgically outside of the United States and Canada in most English speaking countries like the UK and Australia. It is considered a dynamic equivalence translation (sense for sense) and is known for its beautiful literary prose. It is also one of the few Catholic Bibles that is printed in a single column, which is more pleasing to the eye and easier to read. This Bible is definitely my favorite reading Bible. It was also a favorite of Mother Angelica from which she quoted often on her EWTN programs. As good as this Bible is, it can be quite difficult to find. It was only published once in America in 1966. However, you can locate used copies online. I purchased mine in 2016 and I had it restored and rebound.

Now that we got the translations out of the way, let me introduce you to two exciting new Catholic Bibles that combine the best translations with refreshing approaches to the notes and other interesting features. The first and perhaps the best of the newly published Catholic Bibles is The Didache Bible published by Ignatius Press and the Midwest Theological Forum. It was designed and created by Fr. James Socias. The Didache Bible, first published in 2014, features extensive commentaries and notes based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC). This is especially useful for RCIA and Confirmation students but is also suitable for all Catholics wanting to see how the Catechism, inspired by the Magisterium of the Church, is directly connected to scripture. In addition, The Didache Bible features more than 100 apologetical explanations all drawn from the CCC that help to answer many questions about our faith. It is available in two different translations; the RSV-2CE (Revised Standard Version 2nd Catholic Edition) and the NAB-RE (New American Bible Revised Edition), and comes in hardcover or leather. All versions of The Didache Bible are of high quality. I can’t recommend this one enough. In fact, I feel all Catholics should have The Didache Bible in their homes.

A second new Catholic Bible is The Great Adventure Catholic Bible published by Ascension Press. It was created by author and television host Jeff Cavins. First published in 2018, The Great Adventure Catholic Bible uses the RSV-2CE translation and takes a narrative approach, providing the big picture of salvation history while tying all the books of the Bible together. Although lacking in footnotes, it does feature some good articles on salvation history, highlights of key events, and is nicely organized around Jeff Cavins’ color coded Bible Timeline learning system. The Great Adventure Catholic Bible is better suited for teenagers, Confirmation students, and those who are new to the Bible. As a side note, Fr. Mike Schmitz of Ascension Catholic Faith Formation has started a new podcast called The Bible in a Year. This twenty minute daily podcast will read through the entire Bible in 365 episodes following the The Great Adventure Catholic Bible Timeline reading plan and features commentary, reflection, and prayers. The reading plan is available for free so you can use it for personal reading or to go along with the podcast.

The Great Adventure Bible (Ascension Press), a version of the 2nd Catholic edition of the RSV made popular by Father Mike Schmitz’ podcast “Read the Bible in a Year”.

Besides these two new Bibles, there are numerous other Catholic study Bibles available from various trusted publishers, many with their own unique approach. We are indeed blessed to live in a time when Catholic interest in the Bible has been revitalized. As Paulines, especially throughout this Biblical Year of the Pauline Family, we can learn about this arsenal of Catholic Bibles and use them in our mission of evangelization, and as the theme states, “that the Word of the Lord may speed forward” (2 THES 3:1).

Preston Medeiros is originally from Hawaii and has been a Pauline Cooperator since September 4, 2016. He is an English teacher and a parishioner at the Archdiocesan Shrine of Saint Anne in Taguig City, Philippines. Preston is married to his wonderful wife Jarsen, and has 3 children and 3 grandchildren. He has a B.A. in History and is an avid reader of Theology. Preston is one of the first four Cooperators to make their promise in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Cooperator Style

Pauline Cooperators have a style and profile of their own.

Well, every now and then, we like to do a “profile” here on the blog. A profile is a short article that highlights a priest, religious, or lay member of the Pauline family. This is our week for doing a profile, but as you can see, we’re doing things a little differently. For our profile this week, we are focusing on “COOPERATOR STYLE.”

Of course, most of our readers already know that Cooperators are lay members of the Pauline Family who share in the Pauline charism (spirituality) and assist other groups (congregations and institutes) in the family with their mission. The types of help Cooperators provide is limited only by their individual gifts, talents, and resources.

If you’re reading this and discerning whether you might be a good Cooperator, just ask yourself what God has made you passionate about. Chances are, whatever it is, you can use that passion in your work with the Pauline Family.

We are particularly fond of encouraging Cooperators and “would-be Cooperators” to consider becoming the face of the Pauline Family in their local parish. No matter where you are in the United States or around the world, your parish family needs the resources that the Pauline Family brings to the world. However, the number of Pauline priests and religious members is limited. They can only go so far and do so much. Using Cooperators in the local parish is the perfect plan for filling spiritual gaps caused by geography or culture.

Enough said. So what is the profile for Cooperators, in general?

Cooperators come in all sizes, shapes, and colors, but we have a lot in common. We love Jesus and the Church He established. We love and care deeply for souls. We understand that media, in all its forms, is the most powerful tool of this age for reaching lost, confused, and hurting people. We also believe media is a powerful tool to evangelize and catechize individuals and whole communities. And even if you’re not particularly media-savvy, as a Cooperator you will make friends with some great folks who are! They’re all part of the Pauline Family.

Oh! By the way, did we say, Cooperators really love each other and have a lot of fun whenever we get together?

That’s our story, and we’re sticking to it. It’s cool to be Catholic. And it’s cool to be a Cooperator too! COOL2B!

In Christ!

Prayer walking for souls.

Sitting at the Feet of Jesus

Mary had a better way. Stay and pray.

“Martha, Martha!  You’re anxious and upset over many things, but one thing is necessary.  Mary has chosen the better part which will not be taken from her.”  (Luke 10:41-42)

The story of Martha and her sister, Mary, is a familiar one. Jesus was invited to their home. Martha was the perfect hostess but was distracted by all of the work that needed to be done and worried about the problems of the day. We too can find ourselves anxious and upset like Martha — our never-ending “to do” lists, news hitting us 24/7, political dissension, threats of terrorism, protests, demonstrations, airplane brawls, etc.

Mary probably had the same worries as Martha and was also busy, but she chose the better part – sitting at the feet of Jesus and listening to him. When Jesus was speaking to Martha of Bethany that day, He was speaking to all of us.

Most of us can relate to both Martha and Mary. We need to attend to the daily necessities of life like Martha but also desire to sit at the feet of Jesus like Mary. How do we balance living a full family, social and spiritual life with the additional distractions of cell phones ringing, texts buzzing, tweets and emails constantly popping up?

I don’t have the answer, but I do believe that a good prayer life will help to keep us in balance. Some thoughts:


Excellent advice from St. Paul, but we can’t always be on our knees in prayer. We can, however, keep an awareness that God is always with us. My favorite place to “sit at the feet of the Lord” is during my early morning prayer time. As an empty nester, I am fortunate to have a spare bedroom that I now use as my prayer room – my private little chapel. I begin with a hot cup of coffee, the Scripture verses from the liturgy of the day, my journal and a lit candle in front of the statue of Mary, Queen of Apostles. Reading and meditating on Scripture helps to quiet my mind. Journaling my thoughts from a passage that I can apply to my daily life helps to keep me focused and less distracted. Many times throughout the day, especially in a stressful situation, I will recall the verse and remember that God is with me.

Brother Lawrence, a seventeenth-century French monk, is a good role model. He learned to practice the presence of God at all times – even among the pots and pans, making meals and washing the dishes!

THE ROSARY – After making my consecration to the Blessed Mother last year, I was drawn to praying the Rosary daily. I have found it to be a calming and uncomplicated prayer for anytime of the day. Praying the Rosary is like holding the hand of Jesus and walking with Him through His life.

A favorite variation is the Queen of Apostles Rosary prayed by our Pauline Family. This Rosary is a meditation on the first Joyful Mystery, the fifth Sorrowful Mystery and the third, fourth and fifth Glorious Mysteries.

Today we might meditate on the 2nd Joyful Mystery as we celebrate the feast of the Visitation – what a beautiful way to end this month of May dedicated to our Blessed Mother. We don’t know the conversations that took place between our Blessed Mother and Elizabeth, but they probably shared their feelings of joy and anxiety and prayed while helping each other with their daily chores. Sounds like a mix of Martha and Mary!

Don’t we all yearn for a quieter, simpler and peaceful life? In a busy world full of Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, etc., we can easily get overwhelmed.  Although great, modern tools of technology, if not kept in balance, they can distract us from prayer and being really present to others. I need to often remind myself to be still and reduce a lot of the outside noise – limit Facebook time and spend less time checking texts and emails.

EUCHARISTIC ADORATION — one of the best ways to pray and silence the noise in our lives. The Pauline Family was born from the tabernacle. Our founder, Blessed James Alberione, chose to make Eucharistic Adoration the soul and strength of the Family.  He refers to the Eucharistic hour as a “visit” with Jesus – something we would make to a dear person, our mother or best friend.  What better way to be still than to sit in quiet adoration?  It is the closest thing to sitting at the feet of Jesus.

How do you sit at the feet of Jesus in your daily life? Are you a Martha or a Mary or a little of each? Part of evangelization is sharing our stories and experiences. Please share!

Maryann Toth has been a Pauline Cooperator since 2008.  She resides in New Jersey with her husband, Richard, is the mother of two daughters, blessed with four grandchildren and semi-retired as a Credit/AR Manager.  She serves as a Eucharistic Minister and lector at her parish and volunteers at a local Catholic hospital.  Helping at book exhibits and JClub presentations are her favorite activities as a Cooperator.  She currently serves as a Lay Provincial Team Member with the Daughters of St. Paul.

The Bestseller

Sr. Lulu had the right idea. The Media Nuns realized it quickly.


Ever since the great unpleasantness of 1517, a lot of folks who identify as Christians have rejected the idea of purgatory. Their dispute is really quite simple — “Show me where purgatory is in the Bible.” That’s the background for our fictional narrative today as a crew of imaginary Media Nuns decides to accept the challenge.

First, Sr. Charlie did a little Bible research. She agreed with the ones who had fallen away. The word “purgatory “ was not to be found in the Bible. But then, the words “rapture” and “Trinity” were not to be found either. Nevertheless, the concepts were strongly represented (especially, the Trinity) in the text, as well as in Sacred Tradition.

Meanwhile, Sr. Lulu did a little digging into our Jewish roots and discovered that, long before Jesus started the universal Church, the Jewish people were praying for their deceased loved ones. Furthermore, the early Church believed it wise to pray for those who had departed this life even after witnessing the death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ into heaven.


Sr. Lulu, with the aid of Sr. Charlie, Sr. Linda, and Sr. Jewel, found some interesting passages in the Bible. You’ll have to get the book, of course, to see them all and get the discussions, but here’s a quick summary.

First, heaven is a holy place, and nothing unclean will ever enter it (Rev 21:27). Many (most) people experience death with some lingering attachments to worldliness and sin. While Jesus died on the cross to redeem us so that our sins might be forgiven, our attachment to sin still stands in the way of our holiness (perfection or completeness). And the sisters found nothing in the Bible that says going to the grave automatically makes you holy.

Sr. Jewel did find something else on that topic, however. It said that He (Jesus) who had begun a good work in us (our redemption at Calvary) will be faithful to complete it (Phil 1:6). So the Bible says that the work in many of us is not complete yet. We are not perfect. We are not holy. But God will take care of that too.

And Sr. Linda found in the book of Wisdom that even those who have been tried (judged) and found worthy in Christ will still face the furnace of fire like gold being purified (Wis 3:1-9).

And, of course, Sr. Charlie added 1 Cor 3:12-15. On the day of judgement, our work will be exposed to His fire to determine its type — gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, or stubble.

Well, there’s more. Lots more!

Early Church fathers, the ones who sat at the feet of the Apostles who had walked with Jesus, men like Clement of Alexandria and Origen, were all believers in “the purging” of saved souls that they might not only be forgiven, but also be sanctified and made ready to enter into heaven.


Sr. Lulu was the one who came up with the most logical proof for purgatory. First, for those who believe that once a soul has left the flesh (death of the body), there is nothing else God can do (God is helpless at that point, or so they believe) — there is a question. “What time is it right now in heaven?” Naturally, you cannot answer that question, which Sr. Lulu realized. The reason you can’t answer the question is because God is eternal and heaven is timeless.

“How can it ever be too late for God to complete, perfect, and make holy His children,” Sr. Lulu exclaimed. “God is not bound by time.”

“We have a big God who is also amazing and full of love,” the other Media Nuns agreed. “Let’s not underestimate His power and love.”


That’s our story and we’re sticking to it. It’s cool to be Catholic. COOL2B!

In Christ!

Cool things happen in places where people pray!

Humility and Triumph

Two things you might not have known about leadership that makes a difference.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

By Fernando Dangond, MD

We live in a world that elevates and idolizes the so-called Type A leaders, those individuals that have an unstoppable urge to excel, to be always first, to win in every competition, project or game. Often, these individuals get what they want, but sometimes it comes at a terrible cost to other people around. Some can, of course, achieve great things for humanity with their incredible drive. However, when unchecked, toxic behavior develops and threatens the workplace, affecting the morale of entire teams. When ambition becomes greed and assertiveness becomes arrogance, having a Type A personality can come back to hunt the hunter.

In contrast, there are bright, introverted, inclusive and well-intentioned leaders with a servant attitude, willing to listen to their employees, empathize with their needs and aspirations, and welcome their diversity of talent and background. Servant leaders preserve the dignity of each worker. They might be incredibly well-trained, but often see no need to rub their titles on the face of their others. Unfortunately, many of these servant leaders get overlooked for promotion by bosses who think humility is a sign of weakness, or because they don’t fit their profile for “real” leadership.

Jesus is the ultimate servant leader. Even for Christians, attempting to fully imitate Jesus is an uphill battle. Many of us have difficulty wrapping our heads around some of Jesus’ teachings, such as “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.” (Matt 5:38–39). We are wired genetically to immediately release adrenaline as a fight or flight survival response, as a reaction to any threat, whether it is a random shooter in a shopping mall or a person slapping our cheek. In fractions of seconds, anybody can hit back at an attacker, or flee, just as a reflex response.

But what Jesus really wants us to do is to first seek the peace and calm of the Holy Spirit, to slow down our response against the aggressor, and even take time to consider their motivations. To do this properly, we need humility, equanimity, empathy, and even the willingness to forgive our enemy. Now imagine being mocked, humiliated, tortured and crucified by a mob, and then, under excruciating pain and exhaustion, gasping for breath,having such power of the Holy Spirit inside to be able to say: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23: 34). That’s the essence of the power of humility: it helps us emerge triumphant all the way from the greatest tribulations to the simplest annoying experiences of everyday life.

A few days ago, I drove to my local bike store to get a car hitch rack, that I had earlier ordered online. The deal over the entire cost, over the phone, had been that the store mechanic would install it. I gave my credit card to complete the transaction, and a young store clerk showed up with a big box that he could barely carry, and stated that the mechanics were busy and could not install the rack. As I remembered the importance of harnessing the power of humility, I resisted my urge for making a scene, and decided to calmly explain again that the conditions for the purchase had to be met. He went into the store, but came back once again saying that he apologized but the mechanics were busy and that he could not guarantee, even if I waited several hours, that they’d install it. Even with my blood starting to boil and my sense of impotence, I calmly said: “I’ll tell you what, I’ll leave my car here in your lot. I’ll walk to a nearby store and run some errands for about an hour. Please see if this rack can be installed within that period of time. I paid for it.”

Sure enough, when I returned, there was a brand new, glittering rack installed on my car. I approached the young clerk smiling and said: “it’s greatly appreciated, my friend.”

Later that day something amazing happened: a store employee actually drove to my home to drop off some of the extra rack appliances, which I had inadvertently left in the store!!!

Humility opens the soul’s doors, welcoming the Holy Spirit. That is how we give full control of our life’s circumstances to the Creator of the Universe. 

For the high level executive who is a toxic boss at work, all the way to the pauper who wonders the streets, Jesus has this message: “For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Matt 23: 12)

Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

Fernando Dangond, MD, is a member of the Holy Family Institute novitiate, along with his family. He and his wife, Monica, live in Weston, MA, and have been blessed with two sons, both in college, and a beautiful daughter, Christina, who left to be with the Lord in 2018. Dr. Dangond, a neurologist and scientist, works developing medicines to treat devastating neurological diseases.

A Seasoned Cooperator Speaks

Pauline Cooperators Convention, 2017 in Chicago

I have recently had the pleasure of chatting with three candidates who are preparing to become Pauline Cooperators. They contacted me to fulfill the step in the preparation process of asking an existing Cooperator about their experience. When asked, I try to find a new angle on what being a Cooperator means to me. And so I have been reflecting on my twenty-one-year journey in the Pauline Family.

It all comes down to the Founder

I met the Daughters of St. Paul at their First Annual Film Retreat (2000), advertised as a weekend of viewing movies through the lens of the gospel. This was my introduction to the Pauline spiritual practice of cinema divina. Cinema divina seeks to discover what the Holy Spirit is communicating to us in our immediate lives through the mindful viewing of a film. It turns an influential modern pasttime into an approach to the Divine.

The film retreat also introduced me to the Founder of the Pauline Family, Blessed James Alberione. Alberione’s life spanned the years from motion picture’s infancy (1884) to the height of the Academy Awards’ viewership on television (1971). Like all innovations, movies and TV can both enrich our lives and tempt us to indulge our baser instincts. Alberione was acutely aware of the possibilities of these technologies, good and bad.

As a new priest, James Alberione had gathered devout young men and women into households located near a printing press. These early Paulines aimed at raising the level of holiness in their readership through the printing of magazines and newspapers, thus countering the “bad press” with the “good press.” Later, Alberione moved his congregations into the fields of radio, motion pictures, and television. At a time when most clerics were cautious about these new technologies, the Founder perceived their potential for communicating beauty, truth and goodness to the people of the twentieth century.

First generation Daughters of St. Paul, at the printing press.

The way is not always clear, smooth, or successful

As I engage with the new Cooperators, I wonder: will they find their way easily? I remember my own uncertainties. Then I recall that success did not come easily to Blessed Alberione.

When Blessed Alberione first submitted a request to have the Society of St. Paul recognized as a religious institute, the Church authorities did not leap at the chance. The novelty of his approach gave them pause. As one author notes, “Was it legitimate for a group of religious to consecrate their lives to spreading the Gospel solely by means of the press, while abandoning the traditional methods of preaching and teaching? In July 1923, the nascent project looked as though it might fail.1

But this did not happen. The Society received ecclesiastical approval in God’s time, and so did all of James Alberione’s institutes, congregations and the Association of Pauline Cooperators.

“It was not for us to force the hand of God,” Alberione wrote of the experience.2

The cause for canonization of Blessed James Alberione

Click here or picture above to see details of submitted miracle of Blessed Alberione.

I was surprised to discover, as I reminisced with Cooperators in formation, that I had drawn a kind of amnesia over my own greatest effort as a lay Pauline. From 2007 to 2009, I worked with Cooperator Eva Vary to seek ecclesiastical recognition of a miracle of intercession by Blessed James Alberione: the healing of my grandson Owen from severe brain injury3. This effort consumed time, resources, testimony of physicians, and the cooperation of both The Daughters of St. Paul and Father Antonio da Silva, SSP, then-postulator4 for the cause of canonization for Blessed Alberione.

Owen’s case stalled in 2009. At that time, Prof. Mario de Curtis, Director of Neonatology and Neonatal Intensive Care at the Policlinico (Hospital) di Roma Umberto I, Vatican City, rendered an unfavorable opinion. This was in distinction to the findings of Owen’s own doctors, Dr. Jacquelyn R Evans, MD, Medical Director of the Newborn Infant Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, USA and Dr. Richard Finkel, MD, Director of the Neuromuscular Program at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, USA. Both of those physicians could find no medical explanation for Owen’s recovery from severe brain injury.

Eva and I worked intensely for two years. It was a great disappointment to have Prof. de Curtis render an unfavorable opinion. Father da Silva offered no rebuttal and took the case no further.

But developments have occurred since 2009. The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) which treated Owen had, at that time, been pioneering a palliative care unit for terminal infants. Prof. De Curtis’ hospital did not have this type of treatment. No Italian hospital did. Is it possible that Prof. de Curtis’ opinion reflected a unconscious bias towards an unfamiliar approach?

The situation has changed. Hospitals in Rome do have palliative care units now for infants. A fresh look at the U.S. hospital’s medical evidence might offer a changed outlook.

I was also struck by the published reports of the beatification of Blessed Michael J. McGivney in October of 2020. Blessed McGivney is the Founder of the Knights of Columbus. Reporters interviewed the father of the infant whose case was verified as a miracle of intercession by Father McGivney. As I read that interview, I realized that the medical evidence we had collected for Owen’s healing equaled if not surpassed the evidence for Father McGivney’s miracle.

The canonization process is shrouded in mystery. It is a spiritual discernment conducted by fallible human beings. Eva and I had no guidance for how to pursue the matter. The Knights of Columbus are a world renowned organization of laymen and priests who have resources and contacts far beyond the scope of two laywomen (nobodies). Is it possible that we did not possess the natural skills to present the case credibly?

Will you join me in prayer?

Eva Vary and I promised Blessed Alberione, when praying for Owen’s healing, that if our prayers were answered positively we would support his canonization publicly. Perhaps the time was not right, or our attempt was clumsy. There is now a new Postulator for Blessed Alberione, and the Congregation for the Causes of Saints has great interest in his cause. Should we try again?

I ask for your prayers. As Blessed Alberione notes, the Providence of God is not to be forced. Owen is now a normal fifteen year old, academically average and excelling in sports. Please offer prayer to Jesus Master, asking if it would be prudent to revisit this project.

Every Cooperator, new and old, must find their own way into the Pauline mission. Oremus. Let us pray.

1“The Origins and Founding of the Pauline Family: Part 2.”  Dom Antoine Marie osb, Pauline Spirituality, April10, 2019, https://paulinelaity.wordpress.com/2019/04/10/the-origins-and-founding-of-the-pauline-family-part-2/

2Abundantes divitiae gratiae suae, Father J. Alberione: (1953). Editor, Father Joseph Barbero, SSP, Rome, 1971.

3A website now exists that documents this effort: “A Miracle for Alberione”, https://amiracleforalberione171332400.wordpress.com/

4 The postulator is the person who guides a cause for canonization through the judicial processes of the Catholic Church.

*** Welcome to our New Pauline Cooperators: Laurie and Malcom Wessing ***
On Saturday March 20, 2021, we were blessed to receive two new Pauline Cooperators: Laurie and Malcom Wessing. They were accompanied with some of our sisters and Cooperators as they praised God together on this big day in our Pauline family. 

Enjoy some memories from the day here >>>

If you would like to send them a note of congrats and welcome, please feel free to contact them here: 
Laurie Wessing, APC – maplepoint@hotmail.com Malcom Wessing, APC – spock.brain@yahoo.com
Welcome to the family, Laurie and Malcom. May your life bear much fruit in the salvation of many souls as they get to meet and know Jesus through you!

Rae Stabosz made her Promise to be a Pauline Cooperator in 2003. She loves being a part of the Pauline Family. She and Bill Stabosz, her husband of 50 years, have six sons, three daughters, fourteen grandsons and nine granddaughters. She retired in 2007 from the University of Delaware, where she was a technology and media specialist for 27 years. Rae is co-founder and past president of The Society of Catholic Scholars of Delaware, and proprietor (since 2004) of the Pious Ladies Bookmobile.

One Place Where You Have Not Traveled Yet …. For Sure!

“I know it is bold to say that I’m going to tell you about a place you’ve never traveled to without even knowing you, but if you’re reading this, I’m certain you haven’t been there yet.”

by Clarissa Cervantes

Photo compliments of jeshoots.com by Unsplash.

Since childhood, I have always loved to travel. I would spend hours researching best locations, places to stay and best views for lodging that matched my vast imagination. I soon discovered that the most glorious and beautiful journey I could ever take was not available until I was called. The Bible tells us, “No eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived …” (1 Cor 2:9). 

Most people I knew seemed afraid to take this journey, quite often procrastinating, and not even wanting to know more about this incredible destination. It did not make sense to me how the ultimate, most beautiful place ever, our final destination, could be so scary to so many! 

Then I realized I could not book this trip on my own. No matter how much money I had or whom I knew, I would have to wait for the perfect time. And that was part of the mystery and the surprise that awaits me. 

I would not know about my future travels until it was time to go. On this trip, there would be no need for packing or carrying heavy luggage. Everything I might ever need would is provided for me along with the tender moments of good-byes, the big hugs, and the “see-you-laters.” 

This is a destination with ravishing beauty and glorious music! It includes marvelous gardens full of flowers in constant bloom. The sun shines bright everyday, brilliant and radiant, like the most perfect summer day. Children play happily, singing among us in an eternal state of contentment.

There are also green meadows and forests, blue rivers and mountains, and unique homes and buildings for us to explore (John 14:2

The streets of the city are as pure as gold and as transparent as glass. The light system shines gloriously like pure crystal with bright radiance, outshining the most precious gemstones on earth. Its value is immeasurable, leading me to one of my favorite passages in the Bible (Rev 21:23-25).

Our ultimate destination will surely come one day. On that day, each of us will embark with a non-negotiable and non-refundable ticket provided for us, and no returns to the past will be allowed (2 Cor 5:8). 

For now, however, we can only imagine the beauty and joy God has reserved for us without fear but full of curiosity. As we wait, we live our lives here on earth to the fullest, loving our families and neighbors as ourselves, taking nothing for granted, and following the commandments of our Lord Jesus Christ. We can do this knowing that our trip has already been booked for us to the greatest place ever. (Rev 21:1-5).

And when we get there, the most glorious fulfillment of our faith will be revealed –- a face-to-face meeting with the Lord, Our God! (Rev 19:11-14).

Yes, to travel truly is to live!

Photo complements of Ales Krivec on Unsplash

Clarissa Cervantes has been a Pauline Cooperator since 2017. A poet, photographer, physical therapist and researcher, she strives to create beautiful and meaningful Catholic images and articles to inspire and uplift readers. Clarissa holds a B.A. in Physical Therapy, where she found her solidarity, vocation to help as well as to deliver comfort to people all over the world through her images and words. A wife to Richard, she works and serves with her husband by doing mental health research with minority populations in need as well as research on causes such as homelessness, substance abuse, HIV, immigration and incarceration in Los Angeles.

Managing the Unexpected

“The earth is the Lord’s and its fullness.” 

It is my immediate reaction, when being asked something unexpected or to do something unexpected, to feel resentment and resistance, and to retreat.  While that will always be my default, I can see that God doesn’t always structure His requests in a fair and equitable way to fit my schedule. But He does package them with love. Asked to write this blog, I thought it was too short a notice and that I would need several weeks longer to allow myself to reflect and to produce the perfect piece. But what I forgot is that there is never a perfect time, and it would be foolish not to begin now. 

Today I am visiting with a friend at a rented house in New Hampshire near Lake Winnipesaukee in the dead of winter. I can see the landscape and the Lake from the back window of the house.  The colors this morning are different from the colors I saw yesterday when feasting on the same view in late afternoon.  They are soft blues and purples on the horizon as backdrop to the distant mountain range.  The glow of the morning light just after dawn makes the Lake, the tree-line and mountains, and even the few clouds low on the horizon seem even more majestic.  I was able to step out on the porch and take a few morning shots with my phone’s camera–they won’t come out as good as the actual view but will be great to jog memory. 

This morning on Facebook, one of the Daughters of Saint Paul posted a piece by a Servant of God about allowing God unexpectedly to change your daily plans in either an immediate or long-term way.  This is not my way of thinking, so it got me wondering if I could celebrate unexpected change by just not holding on to what I think should happen and when.  That’s still not an easy task; but since I know I’m not up to the task, it makes a good opportunity to let the Lord know that it is His time to shine. I will try to lean on him throughout the day!

Depression can linger, but it seems to linger longer when my happiness is tied to keeping things predictable.  It was a witness for my friend to invite me up, interrupting his time with family and making room for another.  It seems to be those moments when we create room for someone else that allows them and us to experience God’s creation and loving and creative presence.  This Lent can be an opportunity for me to discover that the practice of almsgiving, fasting and prayer has a place but is not the only way. Turning to the unexpected and practicing not holding on too tightly can be all that the Lord is asking.  Have a blessed Lent!

Tom Ostrowski is a Pauline Cooperator living in the Boston area (near the airport). He has been blessed to get to know and grow from the Daughters and the whole Pauline family in the Boston area and beyond. He is thankful for his loving extended family and the many blessings God is bringing into his life and the lives of his friends. He loves to read, write, sing and to collaborate on stage and off. He loves percussion, parodies, puns and prayer.  

The Terror of Beauty

“For beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror, which we are still just able to endure, and we are so awed because it serenely disdains to annihilate us.”Rainer Maria Rilke

It began with a dream: I was walking slowly in a teeming crowd. It was any of a hundred urban areas. As in many of my most remembered dreams, I was looking for something or someone. As I surveyed the passing faces, looking for some hint of recognition, some glimpse of familiarity, I heard a voice from all around me, “What you seek is visible in a million pretty faces, but all are merely signage directing you on the way toward my beauty. It is through invisible strands of love I draw you.” And I woke.

Ever since I was a child I’ve been intensely moved by depictions of beauty. For the purposes of this blog, I won’t go into all of the philosophical aspects of aesthetics. I’m not qualified. Nor will I address, with completeness, what part our subjective perception plays in our apprehension of beauty. But I intend to put forward that all that has been called beautiful inherently possess an element of terror: that which intimidates and raises our hackles because we all know we are not beautiful in the sense of evoking absolute perfection. We are beautiful in the sense that we are each made in the image and likeness of God (Gen. 1:26; Ps. 8:6).

Beauty, along with Truth and Goodness have come to be known as the Three Transcendentals. From Parmenides to Plato; on to Aristotle, St. Augustine, and St. Albert the Great and his pupil, St. Thomas Aquinas; all have contributed volumes of discourse on the subject of beauty. There’s so much more. In my considered opinion, beauty gets rather short shrift in terms of its evangelical potency, but that’s where the terror aspect comes in . You see, to the extent you and I do not measure up to the object of beauty, be it a person, thing, a landscape (think Grand Canyon), an idea, a cathedral, and most sublimely, God, we feel a measure of terror. We may not identify it as such, but we feel it or have felt it at some point in our lives.

In Peter Kreeft’s book, Doors In The Walls Of The World, he states simply, “The purpose of art is to break our heart.” He’s right. As a devotee of art, I can tell you that my own heart has on more than one occasion been broken by a great painting or sculpture. Isn’t that only one of the ways God reaches out to us? But is that terrible? I would say ‘yes.’ Anything terrible, aside from the modern usage of the word as that which is considered ‘bad’, can be considered terribly beautiful. And it is so because we are not the kind of beauty we therefore behold.

To illustrate this from Greek mythology, let’s consider Titian’s Death of Actaeon:

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

What is being depicted is the death of the hunter Actaeon by wild beasts. The woman in the foreground is the goddess Diana, and she’s responsible for his death since she is, after all, goddess of the hunt, amongst other things. Actaeon’s crime? He dared to think he was good enough to be a suitor for Diana. It turned out not so well for him. That’s the short version of the story. What it illustrates, however, is that like the vision of Diana’s beauty, Beauty, itself, has a power to dissemble us, to “tear us apart”, if we allow it. Have you ever gazed in rapture at a beautiful sunset? Of course you have; that’s Rilke’s “beginning of terror” from the start of this blog post. Beauty transforms us; and that is, in a very real way, a death of sorts to what is tawdry or unworthy in us. The Apostle Paul writes to Titus, “To the clean all things are clean, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is clean; in fact, both their minds and their consciences are tainted” (Titus 1:15). And in his First Epistle, the Apostle John writes, “Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed[b] we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is” [emphasis mine].

As it has been aptly written over and over again, “We are what we behold”. Before that transformation takes place, though, there can be, and usually is, terror. As a corollary to Kreeft’s statement that art’s purpose is to break our heart, I offer a fragment of a poem form C.S. Lewis:

“Have you not seen that in our days,

Of any whose story, song or art

Delights us, our sincerest praise

Means, when all’s said “You break my heart?”

May our hearts be similarly broken as we gaze upon the beauty of the Lord in Adoration, at Holy Mass, in our homes, or wherever we are.

Malcom Wessing resides in Simpsonville, SC, with his wife Laurie and their adorable dog Molly. They are currently discerning formation as Lay Cooperators in the Pauline Family, working closely with the Daughters of St. Paul. Malcom serves as a lector in the couple’s home parish of Elizabeth Ann Seton Church, where he also operates the parish library. He also scribbles occasionally on his blog entitled, “The Road to Wonder.

A Month of Pauline Celebrations

What a whirlwind it has been! Just when we’d all like to slow down and catch our breath spiritually, we are offered a series of celebrations this year in the Church and in the Pauline Family. The year includes the Year of Saint Joseph (proclaimed by Pope Francis), the Year of the Bible (proclaimed by the Superior Generals of the five Congregations of the Pauline Family), and the Year of the Eucharist (for those of us who live in the Archdiocese of Boston).

So, where do we ‘take up arms’ this month to enter into the spiritual combat swirling abound us? Well, I suggest the Pauline saints in this month of January can help bring us through any deep waters and bring us closer to Jesus Master, Way, Truth and Life. This month gives us three: the anniversary of the death of Blessed Timothy Giaccardo, SSP (1/24), the Conversion of St. Paul, Apostle (1/25) and the feast of Sts. Timothy & Titus, Bishops (1/26). Each of these celebrations presents us with a reason for a renewed spirit in what is arguably a more challenging time in world history.

from daughtersofstpaul.com

First, Fr. Giuseppe (Joseph) Giaccardo. He was born a sickly child and almost died at six months old but the prayers of his parents to the Blessed Virgin Mary interceded for his life, and hence as a young boy growing up and, all of his life, he held a great devotion for Her. His gentle, kind, and devout ways were soon recognized and certainly deepened by meeting Fr. James Alberione, the Founder of the newly formed Pauline Family. He was quickly invited to join the Founder by first entering the Seminary in Alba and, soon after, by becoming the first priest of the Pauline Family.

A close collaborator of Blessed James, Fr. Timoteo (his professed name) soon became Fr. Alberione’s right-hand in all matters, as he was found to be trustworthy, discerning and very dedicated to the Apostolate. He exemplifies for us the great spiritual virtues of docility, humility and perseverance as does the greatest of all the saints: his namesake St. Joseph, the Husband of Mary. These three natural virtues were lived-out perfectly by the foster-father of the Christ Child and are the foundation for a mature spiritual life. Blessed Timothy urges us on to embrace, engage and live these virtues in their fullness in order to one day be raised to the altars of heaven nearest the Blessed Mother, St. Joseph and (eventually, Saint) Timothy Giaccardo. Might we take time each morning to ask the LORD for these virtues through their intercessions? Is the Year of St. Joseph not a great time to set out in the early hours of the morning to practice these virtues daily? If so, we are on our way to holiness!

Second, the Conversion of St. Paul. This celebration of his Damascus Encounter with JESUS Master literally changed the world forever. This Jewish Pharisee, Roman citizen, and righteous zealot pursued to persecute the early followers of The Way until he himself experienced a new vision and understanding of (the soon to become) Christianity. His whole world was thrown upside down to the point that he himself would one day be martyred for the very faith he once persecuted. St. Paul’s Letters make up most of the New Testament outside of the Gospels and orientate us to a deeper understanding of the superlative theological virtues of Faith, Hope and Love, “… the greatest of which is love.” This we know because St. Paul tells us in his First Letter to the Corinthians (cf 13:13). It is these supernatural virtues that become the Truth, the Way, and the Life found in the Scriptures. So might we set out to know Christ through the Holy Scriptures? Is the Year of the Bible not a great time to begin again and plan to read the Bible everyday? If so, we are on our way to holiness!

Finally, the great disciples of St. Paul, Sts. Timothy and Titus. How can we know these two followers of St. Paul were great saints? Well, besides being mentioned numerous times and having Letters addressed to them in the Holy Scriptures they were two of the first bishops in the life of the Church. And like all bishops then (as now), their primary responsibilities were to teach the mysteries of the Faith and celebrate the Sacred Mysteries: The Eucharist. They had a zealous and devout love for the Presence of JESUS in the Eucharist and guarded this daily celebration with their very lives. Is our devotion to the Eucharist so intense? Enough to want to die for HIM? In a time when belief in the True Presence of JESUS in the Eucharist has sadly and gravely waned, even among Catholics, can we seek out more time to be with HIM in this Year of the Eucharist? If so, we are on our way to holiness! And that is what the Founder desired more than anything!

Fr. Ed was ordained to the priesthood in May 2000 for the Archdiocese of Boston. He was assigned to three different parishes in the Archdiocese from 2000-2010 before his appointment to the Faculty of Saint John’s Seminary, Boston, where he is Dean of Men and Director of Pastoral Formation. He is also the Spiritual Director & Liaison for the Archdiocese to Catholic Homeschooling Families as well as the Spiritual Director to the World Apostolate of Fatima (Boston Division). He is perpetually professed in the Institute of Jesus the Priest of the Pauline Family, an institute for diocesan priests.