Sunday, December 31, 2017

Faith is the Answer

Christmas and New Year’s: A rough week for addicts and alcoholics
by Robert Kurland 
Dec 27, 2017
Statistics bear it out. Faith is the answer. Here's how you can help.
“For some, the sights, signs and smells of the holidays bring joy and a warm feeling. But, while others are joyously diving into the season, some of us are dipping into conflict, guilt, and a sense of guilt.”—Melody Beattie, The Language of Letting Go, Dec. 24.
“Tis the season to be jolly!”
Or is it?  For many addicts, alcoholics, their family and friends, there are triggers—Christmas tree ornaments that once were scattered in a drunken rage, candles that went out when it was past time for a return home—that remind one of bad times in the past.

Now, I don’t intend to dampen the spirit of this sacred holiday. Rather, I’m making a plea to support efforts to bring faith into the lives of addicts, alcoholics and their families. For example, our parish has formed a Drug and Alcohol Ministry.  We meet monthly, with a prayer/Rosary session beforehand.  Our mission is not to give advice—that’s left to the professionals and 12 Step groups—but to give support and to help people, those afflicted, their families and friends, know that faith in Jesus Christ will give them hope.

The website for the ministry contains the following resources: a prayer for the month, a list of local 12 Step meetings, a list of counseling services and stories of recovery through faith in God. In our area the Higher Power of the Twelve Step meetings is explicitly God. But this may not be the case elsewhere.

The statistics for recovery are a mixed lot. Some reports give 10 percent (or lower) recovery rates from just 12 Step programs. Others give higher figures for 12 Step programs plus extensive counseling. But the most significant statistic is 60-75 percent recovery—abstinence after a two-year period—if there is a significant  faith component to rehab efforts. And it must be realized that recovery is not only for the addict or alcoholic, but for his family.
“If I could speak to other parents facing the same situation, I’d say, “You need to hand your children over to someone greater than yourself, because you can’t control your children or the addiction.  You are not helping them if you try to—hold on!  It gets better.”Anonymous, Stories of Faith and Addiction, St. Joseph Catholic Church Drug and Alcohol Ministry
So please, in the spirit of giving of yourselves, promote programs in your own Church that will bring faith and hope into the lives of those afflicted by addiction and alcoholism.
God of life, You made us in Your perfect image to live in Your love and to give You glory, honor and praise. Open our hearts to Your healing power. Come, Lord Jesus, calm our souls just as You whispered “Peace” to the stormy sea. St. Jude, holy Apostle, in our need we reach out to you. We beg you to intercede for us that we may find strength to overcome our illnesses. Bless all those who struggle with addiction. Touch them, heal them, reassure them of the Father’s constant love. Remain at our side, St. Jude, to chase away all evil temptations, fears and doubts. May the quiet assurance of your loving presence illuminate the darkness in our hearts and bring lasting peace. — Prayer of the Month, St. Joseph Church Drug and Alcohol Ministry

Note: Is your parish doing enough to support addiction recovery? See

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Lay Saints: Ascetics and Penitents

In her 2016 book, “Lay Saints: Ascetics and Penitents,” Joan Carroll Cruz includes 58 profiles including Venerable Matt Talbot  (pages 169-173), which can be read in its entirety at

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Update on Authenticating and Protecting Relics

Vatican releases new instruction on authenticating, protecting relics
by Carol Glatz,
Catholic News Service 
Dec. 18, 2017 
Vatican City — Only relics that have been certified as authentic can be exposed for veneration by the faithful, said a new Vatican instruction.   

Published Dec.16 in Italian by the Congregation for Saints' Causes, the instruction clarifies and details the canonical procedures to be followed by local bishops in an effort to verify the authenticity of relics and the mortal remains of saints and blesseds, as well as better guarantee a relic's preservation, approve and track its movements, and promote its veneration.

The instruction replaces the appendix, "Canonical Recognition of the Mortal Remains of the Servant of God," included with "Sanctorum Mater," the congregation's "Instruction for Conducting Diocesan or Eparchal Inquiries in the Causes of Saints," released in 2007.

The new instruction outlined the specific procedures and personnel necessary for the canonical recognition of the authenticity of the relics or remains of a saint or anyone on the path to sainthood. It also specified that any action taken regarding the relics or remains must also conform with local government laws and have the consent of the saints' congregation and the person recognized as the deceased's "heir."

In the case of an upcoming canonization or beatification, some small pieces or fragments already separated from the body can be removed and later given to the postulator or vice postulator for placement in a properly sealed reliquary, the instruction said.

But "the dismemberment of the body is not allowed" unless the bishop has obtained permission from the saints' congregation, it said.

The sale or trade of relics remains "absolutely prohibited" as well as exposing them in "profane" or unauthorized locations, it said.
-- Rigorously avoiding any sign of veneration for the remains of a servant of God or venerable before beatification.
-- Obtaining written consent from the congregation and every bishop or proprietor that would be involved in the moving of, in transferring the ownership of, or in the pilgrimage of any relics and mortal remains of the saints and blesseds.
-- Getting the consent of the saints' congregation, the relevant patriarch and his permanent synod for the alienation or transfer of ownership of relics and precious icons of the Eastern churches.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Venerable Fulton Sheen Speaks About Matt Talbot

Venerable Fulton J. Sheen (1895-1975), one of the most dynamic preachers of the Catholic Faith in the twentieth century, speaks in this four minute video about "Matt Talbot, Patron Saint of Alcoholics."


In this twenty minutes video, Fulton Sheen talks about

 "Three Drunks Worth Knowing"

Monday, December 4, 2017

Personally Invite Pope Francis to Visit Matt Talbot's Tomb in 2018

Ask Pope to visit Matt Talbot, Archbishop Martin says
"People should write to Pope Francis to encourage him to visit the tomb of Matt Talbot when he comes to Dublin next year, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has said. Speaking in Maynooth at a conference on priestly formation, Archbishop Martin spoke of how priests come from the “holy people of God”, a term the Pope regularly uses when speaking of ordinary Catholics, especially those from marginalised communities.

“The bishop’s main point was the importance of the holy people of God, with Matt Talbot as example,” said Fr Richard Ebejer, former administrator of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish on Seán McDermott Street, where Talbot’s shrine is. He added that he was delighted that the famous Dublin ascetic had been mentioned, and so asked whether the Pontiff might be prevailed upon to visit Talbot’s tomb, which St John Paul II was widely expected to visit in 1979 although doing so had never been on his schedule.
“The local people had prepared for the visit, and had been disappointed when the Pope did not visit,” the Maynooth-based Salesian told The Irish Catholic, saying that this showed how it is “good not to raise expectations.”

Fr Ebejer has previously said that the disappointment felt locally at St John Paul’s failure to visit the tomb is still palpable today, and that while the North inner city is a marginalised community which has a social stigma attached to it, it has many positive aspects which the archbishop himself has often highlighted.

“There’s a strong sense of solidarity there,” Fr Ebejer said, describing the area as a “local community struggling to lift itself out of poverty”. He pointed to how Dr Martin has spoken about the role of mothers and grandmothers keeping families together when things went wrong, and noted how – even among families where religious practice is low – there is a strong attachment there to the local church.

Fr Eddie Conway OP of the nearby St Saviour’s Church, where Talbot had been going when he collapsed and died in Granby Lane in 1925 agreed it would be good if the Pope visited a community that is so often marginalised.

Stressing that details of the papal visit have not been confirmed, Fr Conway described the failure to visit the tomb in 1979 as “a terrible omission” and said “It would be good for the Pope to visit him – he’s Dublin’s holy man, the saint of the working class, known for how he fought with the whole addiction thing, and someone people can identify with.”

Matt Talbot was declared ‘venerable’ by Pope Paul VI in October 1975."

Sunday, December 3, 2017

On Prayer

The following excerpt on prayer is from an article at

“C.S. Lewis, in the play ‘Shadowlands’ by William Nicholson, says, “I pray because I can’t help myself. I pray because I’m helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time, waking and sleeping. It doesn’t change God. It changes me.” Kahlil Gibran goes further when he says: “You pray in your distress and in your need: would that you might pray also in the fullness of your joy and in your days of abundance…”

Prayer is gift. St Augustine says that in prayer we open our hearts to receiving what God intends to give. Matt Talbot prayed for the gift of prayer and he tells us that it was given to him “in abundance.”
In prayer we bring together the whole of Creation, so that in the words of St Paul,“all things may be united in Christ – things in heaven and things on earth.” (Eph 1:10)”