St. John Paul II Will Welcome Visitors in South Carolina

Friday, September 27, 2013 11:50 AM Comments (1)
Shrine of Our Lady of South Carolina, Mother of Joyful Hope

Soon-to-be-canonized John Paul II warmly "welcomes" pilgrims and visitors to Our Lady's shrine. Behind the altar is the icon of Our Lady of South Carolina, Mother of Joyful Hope.

– Shrine of Our Lady of South Carolina, Mother of Joyful Hope

It’s official. Blessed John Paul II will be canonized on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 27, 2014, in Rome.

He is already being commemorated here in the U.S. On the first Saturday in July, saintly John Paul II appeared in South Carolina, in statue form.

There he stands, with that famous smile of his captured so beautifully in a larger-than-life statue at the Shrine of Our Lady of South Carolina, Mother of Joyful Hope.

The statue is so lifelike it even surprises Father Stanley Smolenski, the rector of the shrine in Kingstree, S.C.

“It at first startled me whenever I entered the shrine, since it looked like someone was standing there!” he says, while telling how and why the John Paul II...READ MORE

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Biking for Babies Cycles for Life

Best Year Ever for Culture-of-Life Riders

Friday, July 19, 2013 8:48 AM Comments (0)
Biking for Babies photo

Biking for Babies team takes five in Memphis. Becker (l) and Schaefer (r) are front and center, kneeling.

– Biking for Babies photo

Biking for Babies was on a roll this summer.

On Saturday afternoon, July 13, a group of 11 bicyclists peddled into Chicago right on schedule, finishing an 1,100-mile trek over eight days through Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Missouri and Illinois.

Every spin of the tires was meant to raise money for specific pro-life venues and to spread the culture-of-life message.

For this fifth annual fundraising adventure, 11 guys and gals averaged more than 140 miles a day once they took to their bicycles and started from New Orleans on July 6.

In 2012, taking basically the same route, Biking for Babies raised more than $32,000. Among the eight places in as many states that they helped...READ MORE

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New Corpus Christi Rosary Devotion Takes Hold

John Paul II Inspires New Eucharistic-Marian Devotion

Sunday, June 02, 2013 9:06 AM Comments (3)

Our Lady of Joyful Hope

Sunday, June 2, is the feast of Corpus Christi, also called the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ.

Do you know about the Corpus Christi Rosary, a devotion that beautifully brings together Eucharistic meditation and Marian devotion?

The Corpus Christi feast has been around since Sept. 8, 1264, when Urban IV decreed its annual celebration for right after Trinity Sunday.

The Rosary had been revealed to St. Dominic and practiced since early in the same century. But no one tied them together.

Fast-forward to the 20th century and the birth of the Corpus Christi Rosary, when several important events converged.

Father Stanley Smolenski composed this Rosary, centering on five...READ MORE

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Our Lady of Fatima, Pope Francis and Us

Fatima Is More Important Than Ever

Monday, May 13, 2013 4:27 PM Comments (7)

As we honor Our Lady of Fatima today, the 96th anniversary of her first appearance to the three children in Portugal, one new and one little-known-but-major fact should give us a real boost to listen to her.

The new fact: Pope Francis requested that Cardinal José Policarpo, the archbishop of Lisbon, consecrate his pontificate to Our Lady of Fatima, which the cardinal was going to do at the shrine, along with the Portuguese bishops, at the end of the Mass of the International Anniversary Pilgrimage.

This act of Pope Francis should make us take notice because he’s showing us how important to him the significance of Our Lady of Fatima and her message is in these dire times for peace in...READ MORE

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Walk the Way of the Cross in Different Ways

Divine Mercy Heads the Way

Wednesday, March 13, 2013 2:15 PM Comments (0)

For all that’s happening around us in the world, from the Church's papal election to national and international concerns, it’s been easy this Lent for many of us to forget about the Way of the Cross.

But perfectly timed for the rest of Lent comes one of the most beautifully illustrated and thoroughly spiritually-inspiring booklets that I’ve ever seen: Way of the Cross at the National Shrine of the Divine Mercy.

Readers do not just "walk" the 14 Stations in a single way. This prayerful booklet is the first I’ve seen that has two versions of the Way of the Cross, plus a third section of meditations.

The Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception at the National Shrine of Divine Mercy...READ MORE

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A Song for Benedict

Friday, February 15, 2013 12:17 PM Comments (1)

Naturally, many tears have been shed in the last few days since Pope Benedict XVI announced his retirement from the papacy. These tears are different than the tears of joy shed in April 2005, when he was elected our Holy Father.

Tears of both joy and sorrow come together in a song called Room of Tears.

It was written shortly after Benedict was inaugurated as pope, but now the song looks like it had a bit of the prophetic in its title.

Room of Tears is moving to watch as well as listen to. The visuals that the song’s composer and singer, Russ Rentler, put into the video add poignancy to the song. It’s as if you’re flipping through a family album for a brief moment. Some pictures make...READ MORE

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After Newtown Tragedy, Parents Grieve With Privacy

We Mourn With and Pray for Those Who Mourn

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 10:38 AM Comments (2)
via Pinterest

– via Pinterest

There is “a time to weep … a time to mourn …” the Book of Ecclesiastes tells us.

Monday began that time in a private way for families. It was that day the first of the funerals took place for the children and teachers killed so viciously at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn.

Tuesday brought the first of the funerals for the children and families at St. Rose of Lima Church, the town’s one Catholic parish, which has a large number of families.

Up to then, major and minor television stations, press, media from across the United States, Canada, Europe and even from as far away as South Korea had been on the scene, beginning shortly after the tragic event happened on Friday.

But...READ MORE

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And God Smiled After the Hurricane

Miracles do happen, even in the middle of storms and their aftermath.

Friday, November 02, 2012 1:44 PM Comments (14)
Shutterstock

– Shutterstock

Not all the events and aftermath of Hurricane Sandy deal with devastation. God is with us even in those times, especially if we ask him to be.

Sometimes he even lets us know if we have eyes to see and ears to hear. Sometimes the reminder is barely noticeable, but sometimes it’s eye-popping — and then some.

My town in Connecticut, well inland from the coast, lost power in Sandy’s early hours. The super-high winds uprooted stately trees, which in turn took out power lines and even —  for the first time in a hurricane or storm here — made all main roads in this highly traveled area impassable.

My parish of St. Theresa Church on Main Street had no power, but that wasn’t going to stop...READ MORE

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About Joseph Pronechen

Joseph Pronechen
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Joseph Pronechen is staff writer with the National Catholic Register since 2005. His articles have appeared regularly in a number of national publications including Columbia magazine, Faith and Family, Catholic Digest, and Marian Helper. His religion features have also appeared in Fairfield County Catholic and in one of Connecticut’s largest news dailies. He holds BS and MS degrees and formerly taught English and courses in film study that he developed at a Catholic high school in Connecticut. Joseph and his wife Mary reside in Connecticut.