Monday, July 25, 2005


The Holy See is preparing for a Synod of Bishops to be held in Rome marking the close of, “The Year of the Eucharist.” Among the matters to be discussed by the Bishops is the notable lack of respect and devotion for the Blessed Sacrament that has become evident in many places.

The renowned theologian Fr. John Harvey wrote that the greatest challenge that the Church faces today is the catechetical illiteracy of many Catholics. Do we really believe the Lord Jesus when He said: "I am the Bread of Life?"

This Sunday’s Mass formulary (July 31, 2005) provides us with a liturgical reminder of the Church’s doctrine regarding the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. We read in the Responsorial Psalm: "The hand of the Lord feeds us; He answers all of our needs.” The Eucharist is Our Divine Savior’s supreme gift to us. It is the Gift beyond compare!

The Gospel describes the manner by which Jesus prepared His disciples for the mystery of the Eucharist. By an act of His divine power, He feeds many thousands with, “five loaves and two fish.” This miraculous multiplication manifested that Jesus, the Son of God, had the power to change bread and wine into His own Body and Blood. On Holy Thursday night, He bestowed this exact same power to His Apostles when He ordained them the first Priests of the Catholic Church.

The Universal Catechism reaffirms the unambiguous teaching of the Council of Trent, promulgated on October 11, 1551. The Council of Trent taught infallibility that Jesus Christ is really present in the Holy Eucharist, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. He is truly and substantially present.

On the night of the Last Supper, Jesus took bread in His Sacred Hands and said: "This is My Body." With these words of consecration, the entire substance of the bread ceased to be bread and became His Body. Then He took the cup filled with wine and said: "This is My Blood." Instantly, the entire substance of the wine ceased to be wine and became His Precious Blood. A substantial change took place. Bread ceased to be bread; wine ceased to be wine. Only, the appearance of bread and wine remained. This change is known as the transubstantiation.

In the Blessed Sacrament, our senses see, smell, touch and taste bread and wine. Yet, we know by our faith that this is the Body and Blood of Christ. Jesus, the God-Man, is true to His word. He is truly present in the Eucharist. He is present, Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity. Moreover, Catholic faith teaches us that we must adore Our Divine Lord in the Blessed Sacrament with a worship that can only be given to God. Jesus Christ is the Son of God!

At the Closing Prayer of this Sunday’s Mass, the Priest prays: “Lord, you give us the strength of new life by the gift of the Eucharist. Protect us with your love and prepare us for eternal redemption.” Eternal redemption! Yes! The Holy Eucharist is Our Lord’s pledge to us of eternal salvation!

The essential mission of the Church is the salvation and the sanctification of souls. It accomplishes this mandate through the Mass and the Sacraments, principally the Blessed Sacrament. Without the Eucharist, our safe journey into eternity heaven would not be possible. Without the Eucharist, we would not have the strength to resist the wickedness of Satan. Without the Eucharist, we would become captives to the world, the flesh and the Devil. It was precisely for this reason that Our Divine Savior insisted that we must eat His Body and drink His Blood. “Unless you eat my Body and drink my Blood, you will not have life in you.”

May Mary, The Woman of the Eucharist, teach us to have a deep and abiding love and devotion for the Gift Beyond Compare, Jesus, truly present, in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar.

Father Richard J. Rego, S.T.L.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005


On Tuesday, July 26, the Church honors Saints Joachim and Anne, the Parents of Mary, Our Blessed Mother. What a wonderful feast it is for the old venerable couple is an inspiration to all! We feel as though they are part of our own families.

The Scriptures have revealed nothing of their lives to us, not even their names. All that we know comes completely from pious tradition. Yet, for centuries Catholics have revered the holy couple. With a “Catholic eye,” we perceive their love for God, for each other and for their wonderful daughter, Mary.

Like us, they were ordinary people who led day-to-day, simple lives. There were no extra-ordinary accomplishments. Too often, I believe, we associate sanctity solely with marvelous miracles, great deeds, converting nations to Christ, and the like. Yes! Some saints have done this! However, most did not! For this reason, the Church has always exhorted us to sanctify our lives by fidelity to our state of life.

Joachim and Anne did precisely this; their lives were filled with holiness. They obeyed the Law of Moses in all of its moral and ceremonial precepts. When Anne prayed to be delivered of her infertility of many years, God answered her.

Behold how God blessed them! Mary, the child who God sent, was to be the Mother of the Messiah. Their own daughter was, as the scriptures tell us, “the apple of the Father’s eye.”

Nothing would have indicated to them that their child would be the mother of the promised Messiah. Although Mary’s profound love of God and her totally virtuous life were apparent to all, how could they have suspected that one day their own daughter would be called, The MOTHER OF GOD? Yes! God blesses us, His people! His blessings are beyond our wildest imaginings.

Saints Joachim and Anne are a compelling example of Catholic piety. They inspire us to live holy lives. Their influence in heaven is beyond measure for they are the Parents of Mary, The Mother of God. Saints Joachim and Anne! Pray for us!

Fr. Richard J. Rego, S.T.L.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005


It was one of the most moving moments in all of Sacred Scripture. “She stood beside the tomb, weeping,” Saint John records. Mary Magdalene struck the figure of a soul sheathed in the agony of loss.

A few months earlier, in the house of Simon the Pharisee, Mary, The Penitent Woman, had anointed Our Savior’s feet. Now she would anoint His lifeless body. But the tomb was empty! His body was gone. Who had taken it? Mary was in a state of frenzy!

Suddenly, a voice broke the early morning still: "Woman, why are you weeping? Who is it that you are looking for?" It was the Lord! But, Mary, in her anguished tears, did not recognize Him. Thinking it was the gardener, she pleaded: "Sir, if you are the one who has carried Him off, tell me where you have laid Him and I will take Him away." Jesus responded with one electrifying word: "Mary!"

Who is this Mary who expressed such intense love for Jesus of Nazareth? Most Church Fathers believe that she is the sister of Martha and Lazarus, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Pious tradition buttresses this belief.

Lazarus and Martha were dear friends of Our Blessed Lord. Profoundly devout Israelites, they faithfully followed the Law of Moses. Mary, their youngest sister, suddenly went astray. With the recklessness of youth, she left home for the town of Magdala, located by the Sea of Galilee.

Because of its sunny, picturesque shores, Magdala was the playground of the wealthy. They flocked there with their riches in pursuit of pleasure and vice. With abandon, Mary plunged into the self-indulgence of this decadent city of sin. Because of her beauty and charm, she soon became known as Mary of Magdala. Seven demons, Saint Mark tells us, had possessed her. The hearts of Lazarus and Martha were broken.

Then one day Mary met the Lord. Perhaps it was merely a chance meeting. Perhaps, disillusioned in the frenzied world of her futile loves and paltry pleasures, she had sought Him out. However, when she met Jesus, He penetrated the shield of her sensitive, tormented soul. The gentle but firm eyes of the Savior of the World looked into Mary’s eyes. Filled with shame, she recalled the faith still lodged in her soul. With tears of repentance, Mary instantly became a disciple of Jesus Christ. The Good Shepherd had found His lost sheep. Never again would Mary Magdalene leave the Lord.

During this Year of the Eucharist, let us pray that Saint Mary Magdalene will help us to deepen our devotion to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. Aside from our Blessed Mother herself, no one ever had a greater dedication to the Eucharist than did Mary Magdalene. Every time a priest, “Broke the Bread,” an indescribable devotion consumed her. Could anyone have understood the Eucharistic Sacrifice more than Mary Magdalene?

It is also significant that on her feast day the Church, at Evening Prayer, offers the prayer in honor of Virgins. Yes! Virgins! In the redeemed Body of Christ, great sinners can become great saints. Innocence lost can be found!

May this tremendous lover of Our Lord teach us true devotion to Jesus in the most holy Sacrament of the Altar. Saint Mary Magdalene! Pray for us sinners!

Father Richard J. Rego, S.T.L.

Monday, July 04, 2005


On Saturday, July 16, the Church celebrates the Memorial of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. On this date in 1251, Our Blessed Mother designated the scapular to Saint Simon Stock as the special mark of her maternal love. This feast is also known as the Feast of the Scapular. Aside from the Carmelite Order, many religious orders wear the scapular as a sign of Our Lady’s special protection. Scores of lay people wear it for the same reason. Many of you, I am sure, wear Our Lady’s Scapular.

The renowned liturgist, Fr. Pius Parsch made this interesting observation about wearing the Scapular: “The Scapular of the Blessed Virgin should remind us that Christians have an apostolate against current extremes and extravagances in modes of dress. Clothes are a symbol of the person. Like the Christian heart, dress must be chaste and simple, for one judges the interior from the exterior. It should not be necessary to add that special attention be given this matter when preparing for church attendance.”

Modern fashions betray the blatantly pagan mentality of our times. Rather than resist the trend, many Catholics now dress as immodestly as nonbelievers. The dreadfully immodest dress of many at Mass is an absolute outrage. Without doubt, the Hearts of Jesus and Mary are grieved exceedingly.

Our Lady revealed to Blessed Jacinta Marto, one of the seers of Fatima, that sins of the flesh offend Almighty God greatly. Blessed Jacinta said: “The sins which cause most people to go to hell are sins of the flesh. Fashions offend Our Lord greatly. People who serve God should not follow the fashions of the world.”

Who could deny that the modern world is obsessed with sins of lust? In all of its forms, the Media gives abundant evidence of this sinful behavior. Many television programs are utterly obscene and unfit to enter Christian homes. The afternoon soap operas are an absolute affront to Catholic morality.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel gave us the Scapular to wear as a constant reminder that we are of Christ and must live as His followers. Let us pray to Our Blessed Mother to be our protection and our strength in our struggle against evil. Our Lady of Mount Carmel! Pray for us!

Father Richard J. Rego, S.T.L.