Tuesday, September 27, 2005


The most popular devotion in the Catholic Church is the most holy Rosary. In our churches on any given morning, one can find the faithful clutching their Rosaries and fervently invoking the intercession of the Virgin Mother of God. The Rosary is deeply embedded in the Catholic mentality.

At the turn of the nineteenth century, Pope Leo XIII established October as the month of the Rosary. He ardently desired that Christ’s faithful should have an annual reminder to persevere in the pious practice of praying the Rosary. This method of prayer, Pope Leo said, is so arranged that it will recall all the mysteries of our salvation. Moreover, it moves the faithful to a great spirit of piety.

All of the modern Popes have earnestly exhorted us to the recitation of the Rosary. They have taught, authoritatively, that the Rosary always leads us to the Lord, through Mary. Pope Pius XII called the Rosary a, "compendium of the Gospels." He urged the faithful to turn in confidence to the Virgin Mother of God. John XXIII said that the rosary is a wonderful meditation and that in saying it we: "Weave a garland of Ave Maria's, Pater Noster's, and Gloria Patri's."

Paul VI called the Rosary a: "Gospel prayer and, as such, it is an unceasing praise of Jesus Christ." Pope John Paul I, in his charming way, said that the recitation of the Rosary’s Hail Mary's: "Sweetens the soul like a song." Finally, everyone is aware of the profound devotion that Pope John Paul II had for the Rosary.

One of my fondest memories was that of being one of a small group of Priests who concelebrated Mass with Pope John Paul II in his private chapel. After Mass, he pressed into the hand of each priest a Rosary. When he came to me he said: "Father, I would like you to pray this rosary every day!" So you see, I have a personal mandate from the Holy Father to pray the Rosary every day. And I do!

May I now extend the same exhortation to you? Pray the Rosary every day! I assure you that Our Blessed Mother will preserve in you always the truths of Catholic faith. She will listen to your prayers and intentions. She will protect your families and keep a watchful eye on your children.

Countless blessings flow on families who get on their knees each day and, as a family, recite the Rosary. At Fatima, Our Blessed Lady asked us to say the Rosary every day. Let us respond to this request of Our Blessed Mother. She will never forget that we heeded her invitation!


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

Monday, September 19, 2005


The reading of the Twenty-Sixth Sunday from the Letter of the Letter of St. Paul to the Philippians provides us with the solution to living our faith in a way that is pleasing to Almighty God. Obedience, which is the corollary of humility, is that key ingredient. Without obedience and the humility that characterizes it, we cannot please God. One could conquer the universe for Christ, but if it is done in pride, it cannot please God.

Obedience is the basic virtue of Our Blessed Mother. At the Annunciation Our Lady said: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord. Be it done unto me according to thy word.” When God’s will had been made known to her, she placed herself in complete accord with His will. This was the basis for her every thought, word and deed in life. The same was true of the great Saint Joseph. When the angel appeared to Joseph with instructions from heaven, Joseph obeyed immediately.

Our Blessed Lord said: “It is not to do my own will that I have come down from heaven, but to do the will of Him who sent me (John 6:38). In the profound mystery of our redemption, the Father willed that His Son would become man and offer up His life in atonement for our sins. Saint Paul tells us today that Jesus “humbled Himself, obediently accepting even death, death on a cross!” Why? Why the Cross? Couldn’t there have been another way? Yes, If God so willed it to be! But He did not! He willed the sacrificial death of His beloved Son on the Cross of Calvary.

Just as it is impossible for our limited intelligence to comprehend this mystery, so too is it impossible for us to understand the mystery of sin and of the enormity of its offensiveness to God. By contemplating the mysteries, we can come to some limited understanding. Yet, not until the Day of Judgment will the wisdom of the Father be revealed to those “who have been washed clean in the Blood of the Lamb.”

Like Our Divine Savior, we must accept the will and the wisdom of the Father both in regard to Jesus’ Passion and Death and our own sufferings in this life. The saints understood this to a much higher degree than we do. Only Our Blessed Mother understood it completely. As we read in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Mary, “His mother was associated more intimately than any other person in the mystery of the redemptive suffering (Catechism N. 618).

During our earthly sojourn, let us personalize the words of Our Lord: “I always do what is pleasing to Him” (John 8:29). It is only in accepting the trials and crosses that the Lord sends that we can find the peace of Christ. Like Peter, we have an aversion to suffering. We too seek the glory and not the trials. We too falter and fail. But, just as Peter repented of his sins and failures, we too must live a supernatural life of faith.

How will we find the strength to carry our crosses? In Christ Crucified! In contemplating His Passion and Death on the Cross! This is where Saints Peter and Paul found the strength to suffer martyrdom. This is where St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher found their strength as they waited to be hung, drawn and quartered for their allegiance to Jesus Christ and His Holy Catholic Church. This is where every follower of Jesus finds strength, courage and hope, in Christ Crucified.

We adore Thee O Christ and we praise you. Because by your holy Cross, you have redeemed the world!
Father Richard J. Rego

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


My Dear Friends,

Last week I wrote to you of the feast of Our Mother of Sorrows. This week let us reflect on another wonderful feast celebrated by the Church during the month of September, "The Exaltation of the Cross."

The most important event in human history was the Redemption. Jesus Christ, the Son of God shed His blood for us on the Cross of Calvary. Each year on September 14th, the Church recalls His redemptive crucifixion with a special feast called the Exaltation of the Cross.

The Entrance Antiphon sets the theme of the Mass: “We should glory in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, for He is our salvation, our life and our resurrection; through Him we are saved and made free.”

Jesus Christ is our Savior. He, and He alone, is our life and resurrection. It is only through Christ Crucified that we are saved. By His death, we are freed from sin, Satan, and eternal death. Jesus Christ is the Redeemer of Man.

This doctrine is expressed in the Opening Prayer of the Mass: “God our Father, in obedience to you your only Son accepted death on the Cross for the salvation of Mankind.” The key word is obedience. Because of the disobedience of our First Parents, sin, suffering and death came into the world. By His complete obedience of Jesus Christ to the will of the Father, Jesus overcame sin and its dreadful effects. Thus, Jesus Christ is the New Adam.

The First Reading of the Mass is from the Book of Numbers. After God delivered the Israelites from the bondage of the Pharaoh in Egypt, they complained against God and doubted His love for them. For this, God punished them. He sent saraph serpents, which “bit the people so that many of them died.” The people repented and appealed to Moses who interceded for them. God said to Moses: “Make a saraph and mount it on a pole, and whenever anyone who has been bitten by a serpent looks at the bronze serpent, he will live.”

There is rich symbolism here. The bronze serpent represents Jesus Christ while the pole represents the Cross of Calvary. When the Israelites who were bitten by the serpents looked on the bronze serpent mounted on the pole, they were healed. In like manner, we who have been bitten by falling into sin, look to the Cross of Christ. It is through the Cross of Calvary that we are healed.

The Responsorial Psalm recalls the 78th Psalm: “Do not forget the works of the Lord.” The Church is calling us to remember Christ Crucified. Do not forget our Redemption. Do not forget that Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!

Jesus Christ took upon Himself the sins of the world. Every sin possible comes under the umbrella of the Cross. Jesus on Calvary forgave every sin that was ever committed from the sin of Adam to the sins of the last man who will ever walk the face of the earth. An old preacher once said that it is as though one single match represented all the sins of the world. Light that match and throw it into the heat of the sun. That solar inferno would swallow it totally. On the Cross of Calvary, Jesus Christ swallowed all of our sins. He, who was without sin, as Saint Paul says, became sin. Our Savior, with His arms outstretched in an embrace of love, took our sins upon Himself. We are saved by the Blood of the Lamb. The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Praised be Jesus Christ!

Father Richard J. Rego

Tuesday, September 06, 2005


During the liturgical year, the Church often celebrates related feasts on successive days. For example, we celebrate successively the feasts of the Sacred Heart of Jesus & the Immaculate Heart of Mary and Saint Monica and her son, Saint Augustine. This year we celebrate The Exaltation of the Cross on Wednesday, September 14 and Our Lady of Sorrows on Thursday, the 15th.

On Calvary, Our Blessed Mother united her sufferings with those of her crucified Son, as He offered His life for our redemption. The Opening Prayer for the Mass of Our Lady of Sorrows reads: “Father, as your Son was raised on the Cross, His Mother Mary stood by Him, sharing His sufferings. May your Church be united with Christ in His suffering and death and so come to share in His rising to new life, where he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.”

The Alleluia Verse of the Mass proclaims: “Blessed are you, O Blessed Virgin Mary; without dying you won the martyr’s crown beside the Cross of the Lord.” Our Lady never suffered physical martyrdom. Yet, the Church honors her as the Queen of Martyrs. Saint Alphonsus says that if we combined the sufferings of all the Church’s martyrs, they would not equal the suffering of Our Lady as she “stood” at the foot of the cross.

The Prayer Over the Gifts is: “God of mercy, receive the prayers and gifts we offer on this feast of the Virgin Mary. While she stood beside the Cross of Jesus, you gave her to us as our Loving Mother.” At that moment, Mary gave birth to each of us in the order of grace. You and I can point to the Virgin Mother of God and say: “Behold my mother!”

As we reflect on the feasts of the Exaltation of the Cross and Our Lady of Sorrows, let us ask Our Blessed Mother to grant us the grace to accept our crosses and carry them joyfully. Our Divine Savior said that unless we take up our crosses daily and follow Him, we cannot be His disciples. Standing at the foot of the Cross, Our Mother of Sorrows gives us the example of uniting our sufferings with the sufferings of Christ for the sake of His Body, which is the Church.”

Father Richard J. Rego









Friday, September 02, 2005


One of the great needs of our modern Church is for role models who will inspire us in the pursuit of virtue. Both Priests and Laity alike need role models. It is precisely for this reason that the Church stresses the lives of the saints in the liturgy.

To inspire and motivate Priests, the Church celebrates the Feast of Saint Maximillian Kolbe on August 14th. August 21st is the feast of Pope Saint Pius X who truly was a model Priest. Pope Pius' motto on his Coat of Arms was, "To Restore All Things In Christ."

Let us reflect today on the story of St. Maximillian Kolbe, the saintly Franciscan Priest who had great devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. In a special way, Our Lady is the Mother of Priests because they share in the Priesthood of her Divine Son.

Father Kolbe also possessed the indispensable characteristic of a holy Priest, zeal for the salvation of souls. Like Jesus Christ, our Lord, he was prepared to lay down his life for his sheep. He proved this in a dramatic way.

On July 31, 1941, Father Kolbe was a prisoner at the infamous Nazi concentration camp, Auschwitz. One day a prisoner escaped. In retribution, the commanding officer ordered that ten men were to be shot. The unfortunate ones were selected at random. One of the men broke down crying and said: "I have a wife and children." He pleaded for mercy. But mercy was not to be had!

His cries fell on deaf ears in that infamous place which knew only cruelty without pity. Suddenly one prisoner broke ranks and came forward. Hat in hand and standing at attention he said: "I will take that man’s place." In amazement, the commandant asked: "Who are you?" The man answered: "I am a Priest." It was Father Kolbe. Notice that our hero did not say I am Maximillian Kolbe. Rather, he said: "I am a priest!" How well Fr. Kolbe knew the words of Our Divine Savior: "Greater love than this no man has than to lay down his life for his friend."

Gleefully, granting Father's wish, the Nazis flung him upon the cross of the starvation bunker. There, he was left to die like an animal. But he died like a saint. Father Kolbe, in imitation of Our Blessed Lord, laid down his life for his friend, a friend that he did not even know. Truly, Father Maximillian Kolbe was, Another Christ.

This is the model that holy Church places before us Priests. The Priest's life is not his own. He must do the work of the Church for the salvation and sanctification of souls. This is precisely the reason that celibacy is a demand of the Priesthood. Priests must live, not for themselves, but for Christ's faithful. Very few are called to give the witness that Father Kolbe gave. Yet, every Priest is called to lay down his life for his flock.

Saint Paul puts it this way "Every high Priest is taken from among men and made their representative before God, to offer sacrifices for sins. He is able to deal patiently with the ignorant and erring, for he himself is beset by weaknesses, and so, for this reason, must make sin offering for himself as well as for the people. No one takes this honor upon himself but only when called by God" (Hebrews 5: 1-4).

Saint Maximillian Kolbe, pray for us and especially pray for our Priests.

Father Richard J. Rego