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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St Josemaria Escrivá (10)

In February 1933, St. Josemaría Escrivá began to teach catechism to university students. He brought an image of Mary to class which he had found on the floor of an anti-religious place, ripped from a catechism textbook. In a spirit of love and reparation, he dubbed it “Our Lady of the Catechism” and framed it. After class, he took his three students to a chapel for Benediction – ten years later, he described feeling that God was blessing not just those students, but innumerable people of all races. More students came and they began to teach children themselves. In June, he founded a college in a small apartment – there were two classrooms, a reading room, a guest room, a living room, a kitchen, and his own office. He taught law, architecture, math, physics, and languages. While studying a doctorate in law himself, he still found time to teach, correspond by mail, hear Confessions, provide spiritual direction, visit the sick, and pray three Rosaries a day.
Publish date: 2019 - 1 - 19


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St Josemaria Escrivá (9)

In 1931, St. Josemaría Escrivá served as spiritual director to some Augustinian nuns and would carry their statue of the Child Jesus in his arms. In 1932, the anti-religious Spanish government banned the Jesuit order and the teaching of religion in government schools. Many parents begged St. Josemaría to teach their children catechesis. One of his students, a girl who later became a nun, remembered that he would come twice a week and use pictures as teaching aids. In January, he met a prostitute who repented on her death bed. After giving her Last Rites, he whispered, “Suffering is blessed. Suffering is beloved. Suffering is sanctified. Suffering is glorified.” She repeated these words and died. A month later, he found a stabbed man who wanted to say his confession and on receiving a Rosary, kissed it reverently. Later that year, St. Josemaría visited some Catholic students in prison from an uprising. He exhorted them to continue studying and working, and to frequent Mass and venerate the Blessed Virgin. He also told them to act kindly to the irreligious prisoners and transform them with their good example.
Publish date: 2019 - 1 - 12


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St Josemaria Escrivá (8)

St. Josemaría started to focus on the matters at Opus Dei. He also started to write down his meditation and issued reflection books. One of the books he has written is called 'The Way'. He also later recruited the first woman member of Opus Dei. St. Josemaría continued to care for the sick people and the needy, and his work has gained many support.
Publish date: 2019 - 1 - 5


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St Josemaria Escrivá (6)

In 1928, God finally answered St. Josemaría Escrivá’s prayer and revealed his mission while he was on retreat. A nearby church bell rang and he clearly saw himself teaching all nationalities and races to attain holiness amidst everyday life. St. Josemaría immediately thanked God despite thinking that, other than the grace of God and a sense of humour, he had nothing. He knew that the best reparation for sin was to do his best in all things. He also practiced self-denial: keeping silent to deny his curiosity, not complaining, not indulging his appetite. In 1930, he realized his mission was also to women and invited women to join Opus Dei. St. Josemaría thought himself useless, so he constantly asked for others’ prayers that he might complete his God-given mission. He also had a bad temper, so he kept a funny picture of his own angry face as a reminder.
Publish date: 2018 - 12 - 22


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St Josemaria Escrivá (5)

In 1924, St. Josemaría Escrivá was ordained a deacon and was struck with awe when he first touched the Eucharist, praying that he would not get used to it. In 1925, he was ordained a priest and his family members moved to Saragossa as well. He was sent to serve at a local parish and he prayed with the parishioners, taught catechesis, visited the sick, and heard confession. When he returned to Saragossa, he was given no pay, so he had to find other means of finding money. However, his uncle, a priest, wanted him to disobey his father’s wish that he study law and take up a priestly position to support his family. He was transferred to Madrid in 1927, where he obtained his doctorate in law of Law and administered the Sacraments to local nuns and convincing the most obstinate to repent. That year, his family members joined him in Madrid. In order to support them, he took up a job teaching law. When the other professor told the students that St. Josemaría spent much time helping the poor, the disbelieving students followed him around the poor districts comforting and administering the Sacraments to the poor and sick.
Publish date: 2018 - 12 - 15


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St Josemaria Escrivá (4)

St. Josemaría Escrivá knew that God was calling him to the diocesan priesthood, so he attended minor seminary as a day student in 1918. In 1920, he attended major seminary in Saragossa. St. Josemaría loved to pray at the chapel and the shrine of Our Lady of the Pillar. But seminary life was not easy – he was made fun of by other seminarians for bathing so often, calling him a “little gentleman”, and that he didn’t smell like a man. Despite all the teasing, he believed that if one cannot praise another, it is best to keep silent. And he later always spoke highly of the virtues of his fellow seminarians, many of whom were martyred in the Spanish Civil War. Once, some girls tried to get his attention, and rumours spread, but he brought the matter to his superior. Before he was ordained a priest, his father died and, lacking the money to bury him, a relative, Fr. Daniel, lent him money. After he became a priest and Fr. Daniel too died, St. Josemaría would pray for him at every Mass.
Publish date: 2018 - 12 - 8


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St Josemaria Escrivá (2)

The parents of St. Josemaría Escrivá taught him how to pray, and he used these methods all his life – he would make his Morning Offering every day to Jesus through Mary and was devoted to his Guardian Angel. In 1912, he received his First Communion and an elderly priest taught him a spiritual communion prayer: “I am willing, my Lord”. When he was younger, St. Josemaría Escrivá was very stubborn – once, he refused to come out of his room because he thought his new suit looked ugly. After his father forced him out, his mother told him, “The only thing to be ashamed of is sin.” He was aware of his stubbornness, but also knew that it could be a good thing too – in spiritual matters, we need to constantly persevere. His parents loved and cared for St. Josemaría Escrivá like friends. But between the ages of eight and twelve, his three younger sisters passed away from youngest to oldest. He cried for his sisters, but his mother told him to be happy, because his sisters were in heaven. He worried that he would die next, but his parents consoled him, saying that they had consecrated him to Mary when he was 18 months old. His mother said, “Before you recovered, you looked more dead than alive. You will certainly do great things.”
Publish date: 2018 - 11 - 24


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St Josemaria Escrivá

St. Josemaría Escrivá, the founder of Opus Dei, loved the Eucharist and the Virgin Mary, and exhorted people to live out their vocations to holiness and evangelization. Born in 1902 in Spain, he was baptized four days later; his name, Josemaría, honours St. Joseph and the Virgin Mary. Aged 18 months, he fell gravely ill and the doctor said he was on the verge of death. His mother prayed to Mary, pledging that if her son was healed, she would bring him to the pilgrimage site of Our Lady of Torreciudad. Little Josemaría recovered quickly and when the doctor returned, thinking to ask the parents about the baby’s time of death, he was shocked to find the baby alive and playing. True to their promise, his parents brought him to Torreciudad, which had housed a statue of Our Lady since the 11th century. When St. Josemaría was an elderly priest, he made the treacherous journey back to Torreciudad to thank the Virgin Mary for her healing and donated his surplus earnings to build a chapel there. In 1970, since the statue was temporarily moved to Madrid, St. Josemaría finally saw the statue again. He saw himself as a pitiful person, but he whole-heartedly loved the Virgin Mary. St. Josemaría Escrivá died in 1975, and the Shrine of Torreciudad was completed not long after.
Publish date: 2018 - 11 - 17


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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. 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 Blessed Manuel González García

Blessed Manuel González García was born in Spain in 1877, the fourth of five children, to a well-off family. He loved to make reparations for Jesus, forgotten in the Eucharist, and entered the seminary with his parents’ support, but he had to work to support himself. In 1901, he was ordained a priest and in his newly-appointed church was told about the poor state of the administration. Manuel prayed before the Tabernacle and felt Jesus tell him about the many issues he would face, and the even more things demanded of him. Three years later, Blessed Manuel was transferred to another parish to combat the indifference of the parishioners. In 1910, he invited a group of women to imitate Mary and the other few companions of Jesus at His Crucifixion, and console Jesus in the Tabernacle. Over time, the group grew into male and female religious orders. In 1915, he was consecrated a titular bishop and was consecrated a diocesan bishop of Málaga in 1920. He built many diocesan schools and seminaries. In 1931, he was attacked by revolutionaries who lit his episcopal palace on fire and was moved in 1932 to administer from Madrid until 1935, when he was appointed bishop to another diocese. His wrote about prayer, the Eucharist, and pastoral work. In later years, his health worsened but through patience and sacrifice maintained his joyful spirit. In 1940, he died and requested to be buried in the Cathedral. His wish was: “I ask to be buried next to a tabernacle, so that my bones, after death, as my tongue and my pen in life, are saying to those who pass: there is Jesus! There it is! Do not leave him abandoned!” In life and death, Blessed Manuel brought people before the Tabernacle to be united with God.
Publish date: 2018 - 10 - 20


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about Sister Consolata Betrone

Sister Consolata Betrone was born in Italy in 1903; when she was 13, she devoutly prayed, “My God, I love You!” and consecrated herself to the Virgin Mary. That day, after receiving the Eucharist, she heard a voice, “Are you willing to belong to me?” She tearfully replied, “I am,” and offered herself totally to Jesus. Over time, she felt God’s calling grow stronger but still felt doubts and spiritual dryness. Aged 21, she realized her calling to the religious life and, after being rejected three times by different convents, was accepted to the Capuchin Order’s Convent of the Poor Clares in 1929. In 1934, she professed her religious vows and was assigned to work as a portress, kitchen helper, secretary, and nurse. At this time, Jesus revealed a special ejaculatory prayer to her: “Jesus, Mary, I love you! Save souls!” He explained that the “souls” included those in Purgatory, those in the Church Militant, even those of atheists. Each prayer, when said all day long, would save one soul. Jesus also told her, “The souls I love most are those who love Me most.” And again, “The more you love Me, the happier you will be.” He told Sister Consolata, “Do not limit your trust in Me, and I will not limit My graces to you. Once suffering is accepted with love, it is no longer suffering, but joy.” In 1945, Sister Consolata fell sick and passed away – she had dedicated her life to praying for sinners.
Publish date: 2018 - 10 - 6


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about Blessed Solanus Casey

21, he entered the seminary and loved the lifestyle, but theology was taught in German and Latin, so he struggled, and eventually his superiors suggested that he enter a religious order. He applied to the Jesuits, Franciscans, and the Capuchins and all three orders accepted him, so he prayed a novena with his mother and sister, hearing Mary distinctly tell him on the last day, “Go to Detroit”, the headquarters of the Capuchins. After journeying through a snowstorm, he fell asleep at the door of St. Bonaventure Friary. Awoken by bells, he joined the procession to Christmas Midnight Mass. He joined the Capuchins as Friar Francis Solanus, but as his grades were so poor, his superiors ordained him in 1904 as a “simplex priest” – one who can say Mass but not preach or hear confessions. He also served as porter to the Friary and was able to console the sick and the poor. Fr. Solanus supported the Seraphic Mass Association, which would pray for donors to the Capuchins, and every time he enrolled a donor, miracles would occur. Fr. Solanus died in 1957, having served God with the little gifts given to him. His last words were “I give my soul to Jesus Christ.”
Publish date: 2018 - 9 - 15


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about Pope Pius XII

Born in 1876, the “Marian Pope” Venerable Pius XII was ordained a priest and then consecrated bishop on May 13, 1917 – the day of the first Fatima apparition. In 1939, he was elected Pope and, following Mary’s command at Fatima, consecrated the world and Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in 1942 and 1952 respectively. Sister Lúcia believed that this consecration helped end the Second World War. Throughout the war, he worked for peace and helped the Jewish people escape Nazi atrocities. In Rome, an important rabbi was so moved by this that he was baptized into the Church as “Eugenio Maria”, the Pope’s birth name. In 1950, he defined the dogma of the Assumption and saw the Sun dance miraculously four times. In the aftermath of the war, many bodies were never recovered, and the dogma of Mary’s bodily assumption into Heaven reminded people of God’s promise to resurrect the bodies of all the dead, thus consoling the grieving families. Pope Pius instituted two important Marian feasts. First, he instituted the Feast of the Immaculate Heart in 1944, to bring about world peace, freedom to the Church, and conversion of sinners. Then in 1954, he established the Feast of the Queenship of Mary, for the veneration of Mary’s mercy and motherly authority. The same year, he instituted a “Marian year” and in a message to the Philippine people proclaimed the Rosary their “national Marian devotion” and their country the “Kingdom of the Rosary”. He also wrote an encyclical to promote the praying of the Rosary in families, and so promote a devout spirit of prayer and family unity. Pope Pius XII loved Mary deeply and brought the Church “through Mary to Jesus”.
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 Apparition of Mary in Banneux, Belgium (2)

At the third Banneux apparition, Mariette asked Mary, “Who are you?” Mary replied, “I am the Virgin of the Poor.” She brought Mariette to a spring, saying, “This spring is for the sick of all nations.” On January 20th, Mary indicated that a chapel ought to be built at the site. The day after, Mariette dipped her Rosary into the spring. Mary told her, “I have come to lessen the sufferings of others.” On February 15th, Mary said, “Trust in me. I will trust in you.” On March 2nd, it rained heavily in the afternoon and stopped suddenly once Mary appeared at 7pm. Mariette spread her arms to welcome Mary, who looked even more beautiful, but had a stern unsmiling expression. She said, “I am the Mother of the Saviour, the Mother of God. Pray more.” She made the Sign of the Cross above Mariette’s head and said, “Farewell, until we meet again in God.” Mariette, knowing this was the last apparition, wept. Although Mary is in heaven, she still continually cares and intercedes for her children on earth.
Publish date: 2018 - 8 - 11


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about Apparition of Mary in Banneux, Belgium

Mary also appeared to Mariette Beco at Banneux, Belgium in 1933 as Our Lady of Banneux. Mariette was the eldest of seven children. Her family was not pious and she stopped attending First Communion classes. But on January 15th, 1933, at 7pm, the eleven-year-old Mariette saw a woman clothed in white, wearing a blue sash, holding a Rosary, and with a flower at her feet through her kitchen window. Her mother also saw the white figure, but thought her a witch. Mariette, though, knew that she was the Virgin Mary, and began to pray the Rosary. The woman spoke inaudibly, and gestured to come inside, but Mariette’s mother would not allow it, and the woman disappeared. The next day, Mariette’s friends encouraged her to tell the priest about the apparition. After Mariette decided against it at the last minute, they did so in her stead. The priest initially believed that Mariette’s imagination was merely fuelled by the Beauraing apparitions. But Mariette began to seriously prepare for her First Communion, impressing the priest, who encouraged Mariette to tell him the truth. He said, “The woman you saw sounds very similar to the Lourdes apparition. Did you not just see a statue?” That night, Marita was moved to kneel in prayer at her family’s garden. Mary appeared again, and directed Mariette to run to a stream, and said, “Submerge your hands in it – it has been reserved for me. Farewell.” That night, the priest arrived at their home and Marita’s father, formerly a lukewarm believer, inspired by his daughter’s example, declared his intention to become a fervent believer again to the priest, and made a general confession.
Publish date: 2018 - 8 - 4


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about Apparition of Mary at Beauring, Belgium

On November 29, 1932, Mary appeared to children in Beauring, Belgium as a blue-eyed, 18 to 20-year-old woman, holding a Rosary. One of the children asked, “Are you the Immaculate Virgin?” Mary smiled and nodded. “What do you want?” he asked. “Always be good.” Mary answered. The children would meet Mary again in the garden of their convent school. Once, Mary asked them to come on December 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. A large crowd followed the children at the place, and they saw the garden bathed in light by Mary. Some doctors examined the children and found them in the Spirit. Then, Mary disappeared, and the children tearfully cried, “She has left!” On December 17, Mary asked for a chapel to be built at the site, and four days later, she declared herself the Immaculate Virgin. On December 29, she bid the children farewell, extended her arms, and revealed her golden heart, hence the name “Virgin of the Golden Heart”. On January 3, her 33rd apparition, Mary said to Andree, “I am the Mother of God, the Queen of Heaven. You must pray constantly. Farewell.” To Fernande, she asked, “Do you love my Son? Do you love me?” She replied, “Yes.” Mary said, “Then sacrifice yourself for me.” Then Mary disappeared.
Publish date: 2018 - 7 - 28


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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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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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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about Apparition of Mary at Lourdes, France (4)

On July 16, 1858, the day of the final Lourdes apparition, the grotto was closed off. Accompanied by her aunts and neighbours, Bernadette saw the Virgin Mary at 8pm in a nearby field. That day, Mary appeared as in the brown scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and, just as in the final Fatima apparition in 1917, was silent. After this apparition, Bernadette became increasingly famous, and she retreated to a life of contemplation at a Sisters of Charity of Nevers convent. There, the Mother Superior was especially strict with her and gave her menial tasks, thinking the visions had made her proud. Later, her health failed, so she was assigned to stitching vestments. Once, a sister asked her whether she had ever been tempted to pride; she replied, “How could that be? Mary picked me because I am most ignorant!” Suffering from tuberculosis in her right knee, she grasped the cross, crying three times, “Repent!” and finally, “Blessed Mary, Mother of God, pray for me, a pitiful sinner!” Bernadette passed away on April 16, 1879, aged 35, and the people, on receiving the news, flocked to the convent, singing, “The saint has passed away!” In 1808, her body was exhumed at Nevers and discovered to be incorrupt. And in 1933, she was canonized.
Publish date: 2018 - 7 - 7


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about Apparition of Mary at Lourdes, France (3)

On March 25, 1858, Mary appeared once more to Bernadette. First, Bernadette asked Mary for forgiveness for arriving late – Mary’s expression showed that she did not mind. Then, Bernadette thanked Mary for graciously appearing to her, and prayed the Rosary on her knees. After the idea strongly prompted her, she asked Mary three times for her name. The first two times, Mary merely bowed her head and smiled. But on the third time, Mary humbly folded her hands, gazed to Heaven, then spread her arms out, and said, “I am the Immaculate Conception.” Four years prior, Pope Pius IX had pronounced the Immaculate Conception as dogma. But the uneducated Bernadette did not know what the Immaculate Conception was, so she immediately went to the parish priest and said, “I am the Immaculate Conception.” The priest sent her home – he was now certain she had seen the Virgin Mary. On April 17, Bernadette held a candle which burned up to her hand for the fifteen minutes of the apparition in the sight of doctors but was unharmed. To test her, the doctors touched her hand with another candle after the apparition and Bernadette flinched, saying, “Why are you trying to burn me?”
Publish date: 2018 - 6 - 30


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about Apparition of Mary at Lourdes, France (2)

In total, there were 18 apparitions at Lourdes in 1858. On February 21, as more than a hundred people gathered, Bernadette saw the Virgin Mary look over her head and tell her to pray for sinners. But on seeing Mary’s beautiful face, she felt assured. Three days later, Bernadette tearfully recounted Mary’s words, “Repent, repent, repent!” From now on, she was to make reparation for sinners by walking to the grotto on her knees and kissing the ground. On February 25, Mary said, “Go, draw water from the spring. Drink and wash.” After some digging, some water came forth from the left side of the grotto. Onlookers began to mock her, but to this day, the same spring delivers 32,000 gallons of water to the local river. This water had healing properties. On March 1, Catherine, a 9-months pregnant woman walked 9 kilometres to Lourdes. After immersing her lame arm, she was healed and on returning home, gave birth shortly afterward. The next day, Mary told Bernadette to tell the local priest to build a chapel at the grotto. The priest told Bernadette to ask for the name of the woman in the visions. On March 3, Mary merely responded by smiling. The priest told Bernadette, “If she wants the chapel built, she must reveal her name and make roses bloom at the grotto.” But the next day, Mary once more responded by smiling and nodding. Today, Lourdes is a major destination for pilgrims to pray the Rosary for the reparation of sinners and immerse themselves in the holy waters for healing.
Publish date: 2018 - 6 - 23