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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St. Dominic Savio

St. Dominic Savio was born in Italy in 1842, the second of ten children. He learned to serve Mass at age five and received First Communion at age seven, despite the customary age being twelve, since he grasped catechesis so well. If he arrived at church before it was unlocked, he would kneel outside the doors in prayer. On the day of his First Communion, he wrote down some promises: (1) to go to Confession and receive the Eucharist as often as possible, (2) to sanctify Sundays and feast days, (3) to be friends with Jesus and Mary, and (4) to rather die than sin. In 1854, 12-year-old Dominic met 38-year-old St. John Bosco and joined his Oratory. That year, Pope Pius IX defined the dogma of the Immaculate Conception and Dominic renewed his First Communion vows before a statue of Mary. He loved to teach catechesis and once, a boy retorted, “Why are you doing this?” Dominic replied, “Because Jesus died for us, and hence we are all brothers and ought to love each others’ souls.” At New Year, he received many prizes and over the holidays, he gifted them to children who had answered correctly at catechesis class or gone to Mass willingly. Every day, he would bring children to adore the Blessed Sacrament. In order to increase spiritual fruits and retain his zeal, he would keep a series of dedications and prayer intentions: Sundays were for the Holy Trinity, Monday for spiritual benefactors, Tuesdays for his patron St. Dominic and his guardian angel, Wednesdays for the conversion of sinners and for Our Lady of Sorrows, Thursdays for the souls in purgatory, Fridays for the Passion of Jesus, and Saturdays for Mary and her protection at the hour of death. In 1857, 14-year-old Dominic Savio died – his last words were “Oh, what wonderful things I see …”.
Publish date: 2018 - 11 - 10


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St. Geltrude Caterina Comensoli

St. Geltrude Caterina Comensoli was born in Italy in 1847 and received her First Communion at age 7, experiencing such a heavenly feeling that she henceforth became more contemplative at the thought of Jesus. Her motto, “Jesus, loving You and making others love You” became the programme of her life. At age 15, she entered the Sisters of Charity, where everyone had high hopes for her, but she fell seriously ill and was dismissed from the convent. To earn a living, she became a domestic servant. In 1878, she made her perpetual vow of chastity and maintained her prayer life as a servant, even teaching catechesis to local children. Freed from family responsibilities after her parents died, she desired to start a religious institution devoted to the adoration of the Eucharist. When her bishop visited the Countess Fé-Vitali, her employer, and heard her request, he agreed. In 1880, Geltrude went to visit Pope Leo XIII in Rome with the Countess and obtained the support of the Pope, who invited her to educate young female factory workers as well. In 1882, she formed the Congregation of the Sacramentine Sisters of Bergamo, and two years later took the name Sister Geltrude of the Blessed Sacrament. After overcoming innumerable difficulties, the Institute received canonoical recognition. The nuns' mission was to promote 24-hour-old Perpetual Adoration of the Eucharist and leave the convent to help the needy. In 1903, St. Geltrude died and was canonized in 2009.
Publish date: 2018 - 11 - 3


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St. Peter Julian Eymard

St. Peter Julian Eymard (1811-1868) went to Eucharistic Adoration daily with his mother as a child, and one of his first memories were of the golden monstrance. Once, he heard from a Carmelite that friends never pass one another without speaking. Peter Julian felt it rude to pass by the Blessed Sacrament without stopping to pray. His path to the priesthood was not easy – his father was only convinced to give his consent after hearing a preacher of the Oblates of Mary. Peter Julian found Latin difficult and fell gravely sick after studying too hard. He prayed to God that he be able to offer at least one Mass as a priest before dying. God let him recover and in 1834, he was ordained a priest. He was known for spending as much time in church as in the rectory. He obtained permission from his bishop to become a religious in the Marist congregation and eventually served as provincial. He promoted Eucharistic devotions with success, especially the Forty Hour Devotion. Fr. Eymard knew that every mystery of the Faith had a congregation dedicated to it, except for the Real Presence. With the permission of the Pope and his Marist superiors, he founded a new congregation to adore the Blessed Sacrament. The order faced many problems, but Fr. Eymard had faith that if this was God’s work, it would be done, and the congregation began to flourish with orders for male and female religious, parish priests, and lay people. Fr. Eymard died in 1869, was beatified in 1925, and was canonized in 1962.
Publish date: 2018 - 10 - 27


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about Marie Rose Ferron (II)

Marie Rose Ferron used the pains of her illness to pray for the salvation of souls. Once, when asked about her pain, she said, “Use a patient and pure heart to grind up your suffering. The fire of your love with naturally burn it.” Physically, “Little Rose” suffered paralysis. Spiritually, she suffered darkness and humiliation. Many misunderstood her and said mean things to her. She said to her siblings once, “Jesus was dragged in mud. I do not want to be better treated than Him.” One person asked her, “How is it that Jesus whom you love so much permits you to suffer?” But Little Rose replied, “The caresses of Heaven are not like those of earth.” Once, a woman saw Little Rose and cried out, “Poor girl, you are gravely ill!” But Little Rose said, “Do not cry for me, you are even more ill – you have left Jesus for 35 years now!” The woman cried again and repented. At age 22, Little Rose fell gravely ill after eating some bread, and from then on could not eat solid food. In 1931, the Holy Wounds of Christ began to appear on Little Rose’s body – the Five Wounds, those of the Crown of Thorns, those of the Scourging, and those on the shoulder. She would also experience ecstasies on Fridays and sing hymns and pray for the reparation of sins. In 1936, Little Rose died; around 15,000 people came to pay respects, and 4,000 attended her funeral Mass. She once wrote, “I am willing to offer myself as a sacrifice, so as to live in eternal love. O my Jesus, I beseech You, make me a martyr for Your love.”
Publish date: 2018 - 9 - 29


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St. Marguerites and Montreal

Montreal, Canada was very different from what it is now when the city was first founded more than 370 years ago. The cross at Mount Royal reveals the deep Catholic roots of this city. Fountain of Grace takes a look at how two saints, both named Marguerite - St. Marguerite Bourgeoys and St. Marguerite d'Youville - contributed to the early developments of Montreal.
Publish date: 2018 - 9 - 8


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about Blessed James Alberione

Blessed James Alberione was born in 1884 in Northern Italy. As a child, he spent hours praying at Marian shrines, seeing Mary as helper of Jesus, and sharer of Jesus’ life with the Apostles – this he developed into a special devotion to Mary as Queen of the Apostles. He was a pioneer of Catholic media, called by Pope John Paul II the “first apostle of the new evangelization”. In 1900, he was inspired during prayer to serve the people of the new century. He established the Pauline family of ten religious organizations, including the male Society of St. Paul and the female Daughters of St. Paul. Through modern telecommunications (such as periodicals, movies, television, radio), they promoted living holy lives and spread holy doctrine. In 1954, he founded the Basilica of St. Mary Queen of Apostles at Montagnola in Rome, which was designated a titular see in 1965, and assigned to Cardinal John Tong Hon of Hong Kong in 2012. Blessed James would pray the Rosary constantly, even on the streets, in the bus, on the train, or in the waiting room. Every day, he would rise at 3:30am, pray for seven hours, and recommended spending a Holy Hour before the Eucharist daily. He refused to be lazy, was always vigilant, and extended his prayer to action, sensing the signs of the times to touch people’s souls. He died in 1971 and was beatified in 2003.
Publish date: 2018 - 9 - 1


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St. Maximilian Kolbe

In the early 20th century, the Church responded to Freemasonry and Modernism with two lay movements – one from Western Europe and another from Eastern Europe. In 1917, St. Maximilian Kolbe from Poland founded the Knights of the Immaculata, a group of Catholics dedicated to proclaiming the message of Mary in a society of error and indifference, taking the Miraculous Medal as their symbol. Fr. Kolbe was recognized early for his sanctity, and his hair was secretly collected for relics. In 1941, he was brought to the Nazi concentration camps and became a light in the dark – he led the praying of the Rosary and was executed after voluntarily taking the place of another prisoner. In 1921, Frank Duff founded the Legion of Mary in Ireland. In 1917, he read Louis de Montfort’s “True Devotion to Mary” and used his spirituality to lead his group “to Jesus through Mary”. Every year, the members of the Legion reconsecrate themselves – body, soul, possessions, and fruits of work – for Mary to use as she sees fit. The Legion of Mary spread throughout the world, especially in mission territories. Members pray the Rosary at weekly meetings, as Frank Duff believed its mysteries to be the work of the Holy Spirit. In 1965, he attended the Second Vatican Council as a lay observer and died in 1980, aged 91.
Publish date: 2018 - 8 - 25


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St. Anthony Claret

St. Anthony Claret was born in 1807, a Spaniard who grew up praying the Rosary with his family and became devoted to the Rosary after reading a book on it. He would often go to church with his younger sister to pray the Rosary, even leading other parishioners. In 1829, he entered seminary and began to pray three decades daily. In 1835, he was ordained as a diocesan priest, having left the Jesuit novitiate due to ill health. He was a prolific preacher, sometimes preaching twelve times in a day. In 1839, he went to Italy, and became devoted to the Immaculate Heart of Mary after seeing the people’s devotion. In 1847, he started a Marian sodality and the Claretian missionary order dedicated to the Immaculate Heart in 1849. In 1850, he was consecrated bishop to Cuba. There, he stipulated that all parishes publicly pray the Rosary on Sundays and feast days, and sometimes made unannounced inspections. He was called the “St. Dominic of the 19th Century”, so great was his promotion of the Rosary. But St. Anthony suffered fifteen assassination attempts on his life. Once, an assailant stabbed his cheek but St. Anthony was able to commute his death sentence to a prison sentence. After seven years as bishop, he was called back to Spain to serve as confessor to Queen Isabella II. With plentiful time, he dedicated himself to printing theological publications. After a revolution in 1868, St. Anthony followed his dethroned queen into exile in France, where he died in 1870, aged 62. St. Anthony Claret taught us to venerate the Immaculate Heart and diligently pray the Rosary.
Publish date: 2018 - 8 - 18


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about Blessed Bartolo Longo (2)

Starting from 1873, Bartolo Longo began organizing a confraternity of the Rosary and invited Dominican priests to preach. He needed an image of Our Lady of the Rosary, so he found an old, dilapidated image at a nearby convent, showing Mary carrying the Child Jesus, handing the Rosary to St. Dominic and St. Catherine of Siena. In 1879, the image was restored and many miracles were subsequently attributed to it. He set up orphanages and sought to form orphans into honest people through work and prayer. He set up a large printing press for propagating the Rosary and arranged for religious brothers and sisters to educate orphan boys and girls in the faith. The widowed Countess Mariana di Fusco funded Bartolos’s charitable works, but many rumours were spread about their close relationship, so Pope Leo XIII suggested they get married, which they did in 1885. Husband and wife remained continent and continued charitable works, donating all their property to the Holy See in 1906. The Countess died in 1924 aged 88, and Bartolo continued fervently promoting the Rosary until he died too in 1926 aged 85. His dying wish was to see Mary, who had rescued him from the clutches of Satan. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1980.
Publish date: 2018 - 7 - 21


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Pilgrimage of Mercy: Tour of the Major Relics of St. Maria Goretti

In 55 days, Fr. Carlos Martins and his team brought the major relics of St. Maria Goretti to 54 cities across the United States. They wish that the story of the saint would inspire people to be more merciful.
Publish date: 2018 - 7 - 14


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about Blessed Bartolo Longo

In 1841, Blessed Bartolo Longo was born into a wealthy family. When he studied law in university, he was influenced by the anti-Catholicism there and became a satanic priest. On hearing the voice of his deceased father, “Return to God,” Bartolo visited his alarmed friend who said, “Do you want to die in a mental institution and lose your soul?” He convinced him to confess to a Dominican priest. After a month of guidance, he once again received the Eucharist. He served at a hospital and saw their patient suffering for God as a manifestation of authentic joy. In 1871, he became a Dominican tertiary, publicly renounced satanism as a “maze of error” at their meeting places, and recounted his conversion story at the university. He went to take care of the affairs of a wealthy widow in Pompei, and saw the people’s religion distorted by superstition and prayed for their conversion. For some time, he despaired and had suicidal thoughts, thinking that his past still bound him to Satan. But he thought of St. Dominic’s promise, “he who propagates my Rosary will be saved.” At that moment, he heard church bells ringing and dedicated his life to spreading the Rosary and making Mary loved and honoured.
Publish date: 2018 - 7 - 14


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A Lesson about Forgiveness: The Story of St. Maria Goretti

Among the saints canonized by the Catholic Church, St. Maria Goretti is one of the youngest. She was just 11 years old when she died. Maria died of a fatal attack by her neighbour Alessandro, after she refused to submit to his sexual advances. Fountain of Grace's production team followed Fr. Carlos Martins to Maria's former residence to learn about forgiveness from this saint.
Publish date: 2018 - 7 - 7