For Beauty and Prayer Plant a Mary Garden

An easy way to honor our Blessed Mother, add beauty and pray at the same time

05/22/2015 Comments (9)

– Shutterstock

Gardening is among the most popular pastimes in the United States. But how many gardeners realize that all those marigolds they plant were originally called Mary’s Gold. Or that the pretty blue Bachelor Buttons were called Mary’s Crown. And the humble violet was once called Our Lady’s Modesty.

The early Christians, especially during the Middles Ages, knew not only the names but also the meanings behind the flowers. As they planted Mary Gardens, they knew larkspur stood for Our Lady’s Tears and cultivated herbs like rosemary symbolized Mary’s Bouquet.

Nature taught them spiritual lessons, just as many stained-glass windows in their churches taught them biblical lessons.

Flowers helped...READ MORE

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Commencement Speakers Update 2015

More insight on who is being honored — and where

05/15/2015 Comments (43)

– Shutterstock

This year’s college commencements appeared to have several strong Catholic commencement speakers, as reported earlier in the Register. However, the same report noted there were several colleges that still ignore the bishops’ directives and invite speakers who hold public views in opposition to Church teaching.

Since the original report, several more colleges and universities have come to light on both sides of the proverbial fence.

The May 16-17 weekend figures prominently for a number of the ceremonies.

Georgetown University, whose ceremonies have been scheduled from May 14 to 17, continues its questionable track record by inviting two conspicuous advocates for legal abortion to receive...READ MORE

Filed under catholic colleges and universities, commencement speakers, higher education

Fatima and the Rosary: Solution for Peace

05/12/2015 Comments (9)

Exactly 98 years ago, the simple solution to cure the world’s and our country’s freefall into turmoil was given to us. But how many have paid attention to the prescription or the instructions?

We have yet another chance to start this week. We have to pick up what St. Padre Pio called “the weapon.” Hint: It’s what Our Lady of Fatima, whose feast we celebrate on May 13, told us over and over to use for peace when she appeared in 1917.

This week, the Franciscan Daughters of Mary are leading the way, asking and hoping that scores of people will join them in a Rosary novena.

As our country and the world are in great need of peace, “the novena was inspired by Our Lady of Fatima, who told the...READ MORE

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Neat Freebie for Mother's Day and May

Family Rosary Offers Prayers for Moms Too

05/02/2015 Comments (4)
Courtesy Family Rosary ministry

– Courtesy Family Rosary ministry

What a great deal for Mother’s Day — and the whole month of May.

Family Rosary ministries is providing free ecards just right for Mom (which may also be printed for snail-mail delivery).

Family Rosary — which was started by Servant of God Father Patrick Peyton — says that these cards remind families that Mother’s Day is a good day for prayer.

At the Family Rosary website,, visitors can select a unique cover and a particular Bible verse and prayer to go with it. 

A personal message can also be added.

“This Mother’s Day, give your mom the greatest gift of all: Pray for her and with her,” said Father Willy Raymond of the Congregation of Holy Cross and president of...READ MORE

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Canons Regular Salute Cardinal George

Part of the Cardinal's Major Legacy Thrives in Chicago

04/20/2015 Comment
Courtesy St. John Cantius Church

Cardinal George poses with the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius in 2013; embedded photo also courtesy of the Canons Regular

– Courtesy St. John Cantius Church

Cardinal Francis George holds a special place in the hearts of the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius.

This community of priests and brothers dedicated to the “Restoration of the Sacred” grew from a small group — at the once-flourishing church that become by the 1990s a place well-worn down, falling apart and in need of serious repairs and restoration  (and with few parishioners) — to today’s St. John Cantius Church, a jewel of sacred liturgies and music, glorious liturgical art and an ever-growing and thriving congregation (see video of this here).

Cardinal George surely envisioned what would one day come to be.

“Here are the beginnings of an order founded to make available to the...READ MORE

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Exceptional Devotion: Divine Mercy Novena

04/02/2015 Comments (18)
Courtesy of the National Shrine of the Divine Mercy

Original image of Jesus the Divine Mercy in Vilnius

– Courtesy of the National Shrine of the Divine Mercy

Divine Mercy is the unmistakable and unbreakable connection that begins during the Triduum and continues uninterrupted through Easter, straight to Divine Mercy Sunday.

In fact, Our Lord gave us an exceptionally powerful connection to what he did on Calvary and Easter Sunday, and the mercy he wants to pour out to us on Divine Mercy Sunday — the Chaplet of Divine Mercy said as a novena.

A novena, of course, is nine days of prayer.

St. Faustina tells us the Lord directed her to say this chaplet for nine days before the feast of Mercy, and it is to begin on Good Friday (Diary, 796).

Jesus told her: “By this novena, I will grant every possible grace to souls.”

If we haven’t done so yet, now...READ MORE

Filed under chaplet of divine mercy, divine mercy, divine mercy shrine, divine mercy sunday, good friday, joseph pronechen

A Story of Two Holy Week Commemorations

03/30/2015 Comments (1)

As churches celebrate the solemn events of Christ’s passion, death and resurrection during Holy Week and on Easter Sunday, commemorations range from the simple to the elaborate.

In Colorado's San Luis Valley, the small town of San Luis (which is a couple of hours from Pueblo) has an outdoors Stations of the Cross. This Way of the Cross goes along a nearly mile-long trail leading up to the top of a mesa.

People come to this Stations of the Cross Shrine all year. The magnificent sculptures are done by internationally known sculptor Huberto Maestas, himself a San Luis native. The Vatican Museums have copies of these stations. The full story is here.

Of course, making these Stations of the...READ MORE

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Keep Company With St. Joseph

03/19/2015 Comments (8)

As head of the Holy Family, St. Joseph’s silence speaks eloquently about the company we keep.

Who did he spend time with every day? Who did he live with, and who did he talk to and listen to? Mary and Jesus.

What a lesson he gives to fathers and what a model he provides for them as a foundation for leading their families. In fact, what a lesson it is for every member of the family, too.

Fathers today — and this goes for father figures, whether they have biological children or not, because they might have godchildren or nephews and nieces — need to spend time with Jesus and Mary every day, modeling themselves after St. Joseph. He shows the way.

There is daily Mass, if possible. There is...READ MORE

Filed under holy family, st. joseph

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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.