Saturday, January 26, 2013

Devotion for today: Jesus waits for us in this Sacrament of Love

I recently spoke with a friend who told me she didn’t see how sitting in front of the Blessed Sacrament for an hour would make any difference in her busy life. I offer you this testimony to the benefits of making a Holy Hour:

“Jesus waits for us in this Sacrament of Love.” These words were addressed to us by our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, in his first letter entitled On the Mystery and Worship of the Holy Eucharist, April 1980. In speaking of the aim of what the Pope called “authentic renewal” intended by Vatican II, he said, “The Church and the world have a great need of Eucharist adoration. Jesus waits for us in this sacrament of Love. Let us be generous with our time in going to meet Him in adoration and in contemplation that is full of faith and ready to make reparation for the great faults and crimes of the world. May our adoration never cease.”

Jesus waits for us to visit Him in the Blessed Sacrament with the same enthusiasm with which the father in the parable of the prodigal son waited for his child to return home. The parable is meant not only to express the joy with which Jesus receives us in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, but also to express the joy with which Jesus receives us in all the sacraments, especially the Holy Eucharist.

“But while he was yet a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with compassion, and ran and fell upon his neck and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before thee. I am no longer worthy to be called thy son.’ But the Father said to his servants, ‘Fetch quickly the best robe and put it on him, and give him a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet and bring out the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and make merry, because this, my son, was dead, and has come to life again; he was lost and is found.” And they began to make merry.” (Luke 15:20-24)

This is the divine enthusiasm which welcomes us in the Blessed Sacrament. No matter if we are the greatest saint or the greatest sinner on earth, Jesus welcomes us with all the divine yearning of His Sacred Heart. Here He gives us a thousand kisses of His grace and mercy. Here He puts a robe of glory on us. For each holy hour we make will leave our soul everlastingly more beautiful in heaven because Jesus bathes our soul in his own glory for every moment we spend in His Eucharistic Presence. He remains hidden in the Blessed Sacrament because He asks us to come to Him in faith.

….The ring He puts on our finger is the bond of a deepened friendship with Him. Each holy hour we make increases our union with Him, and deepens the personal relationship we have with our Savior. The sandals on our feet are the wisdom and strength which He gives us in this His holy will. The feast is the rejoicing of the angels and saints because you responded to our Lord’s call to show your appreciation for the gift of His total Presence in this holy Sacrament where day and night He waits for us to visit Him because His delight is to dwell with the children of men. No matter how alive we are with sanctifying grace, Jesus gives us an influx of His life when we come into His Eucharistic Presence and this life is the life of love that is the very life of the Holy Trinity.

Prayer: A Prayer of Consolation to Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament
Most Holy Soul of Jesus, make me holy,
Body of Jesus, save me.
Most pure Heart of Jesus, make me pure,
Give me light, set me on fire.
Sacred Water from the Side of Jesus, wash me.
Passion of Jesus, make me strong.
Jesus, hide me in Thy wounds.
Do not permit sin ever to separate me from you.
Defend me from the evil spirit.
Bid me come to You at the hour of death
That with all the saints
I may praise You in heaven eternally. Amen
(entire selection taken from Come to Me in the Blessed Sacrament, Fr. Vincent Martin Lucia, Apostolate for Perpetual Adoration, Mt. Clemens, Michigan)

Friday, January 25, 2013

Devotion for today: Let us pray to the Lord: Lord, end abortion

Deuteronomy 30:19
 This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.

Today is the annual March for Life in Washington, DC. AS thousands of pro-life advocates descend upon the nation’s capital, thousands more will be spending the day in prayer and fasting for the end to abortion. If you are not a front line warrior in this battle against the assault on human life, then become a prayer warrior. Spend an hour in front of the Eucharist today, go to Mass, say an extra rosary, and spend the time in your car or at lunch asking God to save the lives of the babies in their mothers’ wombs, once considered the safest place on earth, but no longer. Pray for the mothers who feel this is the only recourse they have, that they may find one loving person to help them out. Pray that if you are being called to be one of the loving, caring people who can turn a mother’s heart from stone to love, that you answer that call with a resounding “YES! Lord, here I am; use me.” And pray for the courage to always, always, even when friends and family are against you, stand up and say, “Abortion ends a life.” 

Prayer to the Virgin Mary
O Mary, Mother of Jesus and Mother of us all, we turn to you today as the one who said "Yes" to Life. "You will conceive and bear a Son," the angel told you. Despite the surprise and the uncertainty about how this could be, you said yes. "Be it done unto me according to your word."
Mary, we pray today for all mothers who are afraid to be mothers. We pray for those who feel threatened and overwhelmed by their pregnancy. Intercede for them, that God may give them the grace to say yes and the courage to go on. May they have the grace to reject the false solution of abortion. May they say with you, "Be it done unto me according to your word." May they experience the help of Christian people, and know the peace that comes from doing God's will. Amen.
Litany in Response to Abortion By Fr. Frank Pavone
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God the Father, Creator of the world, have mercy on us.
RESPONSE: Have mercy on us!
God the Son, through whom all things were made,
God the Holy Spirit, Lord and Giver of Life,
Lord Jesus, the Beginning and the End,
Lord Jesus, the Way, the Truth, and the Life,
Lord Jesus, the Resurrection and the Life,
Lord Jesus, Eternal Word of Life,
Lord Jesus, living in the womb of the Virgin Mary,
Lord Jesus, Lover of the poor and weak,
Lord Jesus, Defender of the helpless,
Lord Jesus, Bread of Life,
For every sin against life,
For the sin of abortion,
For the daily killing of innocent babies,
For the bloodshed throughout our land,
For the silent screams of Your children,
For the killing of Your future disciples,
For the exploitation of women by abortion,
For the silence of Your people,
For the apathy of Your people,
For the cooperation of Your people in this tragedy,
For our pre-born brothers and sisters killed by abortion,
RESPONSE: Lord, hear our prayer.
For our pre-born brothers and sisters threatened by abortion,
For our brothers and sisters who have survived abortion,
For mothers who have had abortions,
For mothers tempted to have abortions,
For mothers pressured to have abortions,
For mothers who have refused to have abortions,
For the fathers of aborted babies,
For the families of aborted babies,
For the families of those tempted to have abortions
For abortionists,
For all who assist and cooperate in abortions,
For doctors and nurses, that they may nurture life,
For government leaders, that they may defend life,
For the clergy, that they may speak up for life,
For the pro-life movement,
For those who speak, write, and work to end abortion,
For those who help provide alternatives to abortion…
For those who promote adoption,
For national and local pro-life groups,
For unity in the pro-life movement,
For courage and perseverance in pro-life work,
For those who suffer ridicule and rejection for their stand for life,
For those imprisoned for defending life,
For those who have been injured and mistreated for defending life,
For legal professionals,
For courts and judges,
For police officers,
For educators,
For media professionals,
In thanksgiving for the babies saved from abortion,
In thanksgiving for the mothers saved and healed from abortion,
In thanksgiving for the former abortion providers who have become pro-life,
In thanksgiving for all those who take a stand against abortion,
In thanksgiving for the call to be part of the pro-life movement,
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, graciously hear us,
O Lord, Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.
Let us Pray
Almighty and ever-living God, You have created all things through Your Son Jesus Christ. He trampled the power of death by His Paschal Mystery. May all who acknowledge You promote the sacredness of life and always serve You faithfully, through the same Christ our Lord. Amen. (

For more prayers, please go to the above website. They have pro-life Stations of the Cross, Mysteries of the Rosary, and prayer services with which to fill your prayer time.

Thank you, my friends, for choosing life.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Devotion for today: “Please! You don’t have to do this!”

Scripture for meditation: Proverbs 17:6
Grandchildren are the crown of old men, and the glory of sons is their fathers.

I recently read the book “Unplanned” by Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood clinic manager who now works to spread the pro-life message. In the book, she describes an intense scene where a young woman pulls up to have an abortion, and her mother is at the fence begging her not to do it. It started me thinking. Here is another group of silent sufferers in this world of abortion: grandparents who will never hold the little one on their knees and hear the blissful laughter of a grandson or granddaughter. I recount the scene for you here in an abbreviated form, then follow with an article on the post-abortive effects on grandparents. Lest we ever, ever believe that there are any actions which solely affect us in this world, this aspect of abortion should put that notion to rest. We must include in our prayers and sacrifices this week, the hurting grandparents.

”As I approached the girl’s car, she got out on one side… Her mom was standing just outside the fence calling to her, obviously in real emotional pain. The rest of the family stood in a semicircle behind the mom… The mother’s voice, through her weeping, was filled with desperation. “You don’t have to do this,” she called, her voice anguished. “We want to help you. We can support you. You can live at home. We’ll give you money – whatever it takes! Don’t do this!” … And as I stood waiting, the back door of the car opened and a little girl got out – maybe two years old. It was the daughter of the girl who’d come in to have the abortion! And as she stepped up beside her mother, she saw her grandmother on the other side of the fence. “Hey, Ma-ma!” she called innocently. The grandmother wept even harder….” (Unplanned, by Abby Johnson, Tyndale House Publishers, 2010).

And now this from Ramah International: Grandparents can be separated into several categories as well:
1)      Parents who encouraged/forced their child to abort.
2)      Parents who did not know their child was pregnant and aborted.
3)      Parents who allowed their child to make their own choice about aborting.
4)      Parents who actively tried to stop the abortion but had no legal standing.

For the parents who encouraged/forced the abortion, there are many similarities in pain to the other demographic groups. Guilt, anxiety, mourning, grief, depression, etc. can all result because the person sees himself or herself as having the blood of this child on their hands. In many cases, the healing process can be similar to a mother's process. By acknowledging their sin, reaching out to God and grieving the loss of this child, they can also find peace. Yet they may still be confronted with anger from the aborting child because the child was either helpless or overruled in making their own choice.
For parents who never discover their grandchild was aborted, there is no specific grief. The family often experiences a dysfunctional relationship with the aborting daughter/son but rarely suspect a past abortion could be the reason for their difficulties. This daughter might become angry when a sibling presents the family with the first grandchild, secretly knowing that her child should have received this esteemed position.
When the parent allows the child to make the abortion decision, many times the grandparent feels guilt for not being more actively involved. This is especially painful when history shows the aborted child to be the only grandchild. Peace may be obtained by acknowledging the sin, and asking God to help them through the grieving process.
Parents who actively tried to stop the abortion but had no legal standing are especially vulnerable to pain and family dysfunction. This is more often the case when their son's girlfriend/wife has the abortion. Denial is not a part of dealing with this pain. Grief is immediate and profound.
(October, 2012 newsletter,

Prayer: Dear Lord, I claim this scripture. Please heal all who have been affected by abortion.

 I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back from captivity. (see Jeremiah 29:11-14)



Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Devotion for today: When Fathers Weep

 Luke 11:11-12: What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?
There is a silent victim of abortion who weeps inside his heart. He may have tried to stop the abortion, or he may have stood silently by and “out of respect for his girlfriend or wife” went along with the abortion. He may have encouraged or even demanded it. Not surprisingly, books are being written and testimonies are now surfacing from men who are suffering the long-term effects of being a partner in the death of their son or daughter. Men have an innate sense of being a protector, a defender of life, a provider, and abortion strips them of all that. If you or anyone you know is a silent victim of abortion, a man who can’t quite figure out why his life has derailed, then please refer to the articles attached to excerpts I have contained in today’s blog. Please contact Rachel’s Vineyard for post-abortion help and healing. God forgives everyone; we need only seek to confess our sin and receive His mercy. Please do. For the rest of us, as we spend this week of prayer, fasting and sacrifice to heal the nation and the world of the devastating effects of abortion, please include the would-be fathers in your prayers. Since by law they have no say in a woman’s right to abortion, they are the silent suffering mass of humanity forgotten in the debate. Let us not forget them.
According to recent research, men do grieve following abortion, but they are more likely to deny their grief or internalize their feelings of loss rather than openly express them. Then too, in our culture men are typically discouraged from expressing their feelings. When men do express their grief, they tend to do so in culturally prescribed "masculine" ways, i.e., anger, aggressiveness, control. Men typically grieve in a private way following an abortion. Because of this, men's requests for help may often go unrecognized and unheeded by those around them. Research evidence now suggests that following the loss of their unborn child some men may in fact grieve more than the mother. According to this same research, men are more likely to feel despair after a pregnancy loss, including a pervasive sense of hopelessness, one of the signs of chronic grief (Stinson, et al., "Parents' Grief Following Pregnancy Loss: A Comparison of Mothers and Fathers," Family Relations 41(1992): 218-223). Men's lives contain greater attachments and are more profoundly affected by fatherhood than is usually assumed. One father whose child died from abortion described his grief this way: "I wasn't in the room; I wasn't even in the clinic that day. But in my mind, I've been there a million times since. I've been there watching, breaking, wanting to rescue you. In my mind I need to be a hero not a killer, the man who didn't flee. But I am not. I am the man I fear I see." The lamentable reality of abortion is a fundamental index of our failure as a society to read and follow our moral compass. Only now are we beginning to see the extent of the harm abortion visits on women, men and the surviving children. It is clear that in addition to the other victims of abortion, men too suffer. They too pay a high price for reproductive "freedom." They too lose in the high stakes world of reproductive "choice" guided only by the self and expediency. Killing hurts the living too. It knows no gender bias. by Vincent M. Rue, Cynthia Tellefsen© National Catholic Bioethics CenterThis item 8089 digitally provided courtesy of
In an L.A. Times survey of 3,600 men, 66% reported guilt and anxiety after their involvement with an abortion; other research indicates that men do indeed struggle with feelings of guilt, depression, anxiety, sexual dysfunction and anger after an abortion. Perhaps men are better equipped to stuff these feelings, or compartmentalize their grief, but this has its emotional and relational cost. Like women, unless they connect their pain and their symptoms to the complicated grief around the abortion wound, they are destined to continue to act out that pain in their lives -- often with destructive consequences for their spousal, family and work relationships. Many men are in deep but often quiet pain about their involvement in an abortion decision. It is important to look at their role as men in the abortion decision. For those who communicated ambivalence, manipulated or pressured for abortion, or in other ways abandoned the mother and child during this time of vulnerability and fear, a major issue is their failure as men to fulfill a fundamental aspect of their vocation -- the protection and care of mother and child. When the reality of their actions is clear, when it breaks through their workaholism, pornography addiction, extramarital affairs, depression, alcohol abuse and other ways they stuff down the pain, it is a very painful moment -- but it is the beginning of healing and reconciliation.They come to the full realization of what was lost and they face the deep grief of losing their precious child. This is when they need the support of other persons who understand their pain, and the reconciliation and healing of the Church. The statistics from the pro-abortion Alan Guttmacher Institute show that by the age of 45, 43% of all women, and hence about the same number of men, will have lost a child to abortion. Women who abort are sometimes called the "walking wounded," but there are millions of men as well who carry this pain in their hearts. We are everywhere, yet almost all of us remain alone in our pain.The Rachel's Vineyard Men's Page, Kevin Burke,
Harry Blackmun and six of his colleagues said the "right" to "terminate a pregnancy" was guaranteed by the Constitution. We can believe that they knew what "terminating a pregnancy" would do to the baby. Yet nowhere in the 60-plus pages of their opinion does it address what aborting a child would mean to the relationship between a man and a woman, and to the child's father. Nor did Blackmun and the rest discuss abortion's long-term effects.To grieve, we have to face what happened. That can be very difficult, because it means reliving the events of many years ago. In my case, I needed to be in a safe environment where I would not be condemned for what I had done. I am very blessed because I found this refuge with many people - - my parish priest, my best friend, and the loving staff at a Rachel's Vineyard retreat. Though he died before birth, I understand that he is still my son. He is part of the family. Even though I never got to hold him or talk to him, I was blessed with him. Fr. John Patrick Riley, my pastor, surprised me one day when he said my Matthew Peter was in heaven praying for me. What a wonderful thing to know, what a great comfort. The loss of Matthew and Emma(his wife, my note) was the loss of my family, and the sorrow will remain. But while I shall never forget, I am no longer incapacitated by that memory nor am I tortured by guilt and shame. The process of grieving and healing has taught me much, such as why abortion is in this land, and the importance of restoring legal protection to our unborn children. I know that we must also change the culture that allows abortion to exist. I understand why people mistakenly choose abortion, and that those who do are hurt people in need of our love and care. I understand the beauty and value of the gifts that we all need: healing, hope, rest, and peace. I am now free to live my life again, fully and happily. Free to love and laugh, to hope and dream. Free to start anew and to build better than ever before. By David A. Wemhoff,
Psalm 143: Hear my prayer, O Lord,
Give ear to my supplications! Answer me in Your faithfulness, in Your righteousness! And do not enter into judgment with Your servant, For in Your sight no man living is righteous. For the enemy has persecuted my soul; He has crushed my life to the ground; He has made me dwell in dark places, like those who have long been dead. Therefore my spirit is overwhelmed within me; My heart is appalled within me. I remember the days of old; I meditate on all Your doings; I muse on the work of Your hands.
 I stretch out my hands to You; My soul longs for You, as a parched land. Answer me quickly, O Lord, my spirit fails; Do not hide Your face from me, Or I will become like those who go down to the pit. Let me hear Your lovingkindness in the morning; For I trust in You; Teach me the way in which I should walk;
For to You I lift up my soul. Deliver me, O Lord, from my enemies. I take refuge in You. Teach me to do Your will, For You are my God; Let Your good Spirit lead me on level ground. For the sake of Your name, O Lord, revive me. In Your righteousness bring my soul out of trouble. And in Your lovingkindness, cut off my enemies And destroy all those who afflict my soul, For I am Your servant.

Rachel's Vineyard - Men and Abortion
Please check it out.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Devotion for today: Protection for the unborn Safe in Daddy's Hands.

Today, in the United States of American, we observe the Day of Prayer and Fasting for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children. Although the March for Life will take place in Washington, D.C. on Friday, January 25, we should spend today in deep prayer, fasting and sacrifice to beg God to help us turn the hearts of stone in this country, hearts which refuse to believe the truth of scientific sonograms, of women who tell their stories of post-abortion trauma, of documentaries like Blood Money made by a former abortion clinic owner who states that pressure tactics, unsterile utensils, and severe body trauma were common in her clinic, into hearts willing to take a stand to let our children live. We must become willing to become part of the solution of women pregnant and abandoned, pregnant and poor, pregnant and scared. The Catholic Church welcomes all women to come and partake of a wide variety of services offered to help every woman give birth to her baby, whether she chooses to keep him or give her up for adoption. Let us all search our souls and see if we can become part of these programs, or in some way, through prayer, contributions, or personal sacrifice, bring all babies into loving arms, and not into death. There is no other answer if we are to turn the culture of death in our society around. Death delivered from a mother to her own baby can only create a mentality of violence in the culture where it exists. Why not take time today to call your own mother, or offer a prayer to her in heaven (I have it on the best authority that most moms make it to heaven!!) thanking her for unselfishly sacrificing her body, her soul, her dreams and goals to give you life, to raise you well, and to love you without end. Then say a prayer to Mary, the Mother of us all, to bless each and every woman today who is considering abortion, that her heart be moved to choose life, and not death.

The attack on the innocent and defenseless life of the unborn has its origin in an erroneous view of human sexuality, which attempts to eliminate, by mechanical or chemical means, the essentially procreative nature of the conjugal act. The error maintains that the artificially altered conjugal act retains its integrity. The claim is that the act remains unitive or loving, even though the procreative nature of the act has been radically violated. In fact, it is not unitive, for one or both of the partners withholds an essential part of the gift of self, which is the essence of the conjugal union. The so-called "contraceptive mentality" is essentially anti-life. Many forms of so-called contraception are, in fact, abortifacient, that is, they destroy, at its beginning, a life which has already been conceived."
~ Cardinal Raymond Burke, Advancing the Culture of Life in Hope and With Obedience, October 29, 2011~

 “Destruction of the embryo in the mother’s womb is a violation of the right to live which God has bestowed on this nascent life. To raise the question whether we are here concerned already with a human being or not is merely to confuse the issue. The simple fact is that God certainly intended to create a human being and that this nascent human being has been deliberately deprived of his life. And that is nothing but murder.”
~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer ~

" it surprising that today we have become so morally blind (for wickedness blinds) that we save the baby whales at great cost, and murder millions of unborn children?"
~ Alice von Hildebrand, The Privilege of Being a Woman, p.24 ~

Prayer: Prayer to End Abortion
Lord God, I thank you today for the gift of my life,
And for the lives of all my brothers and sisters.
I know there is nothing that destroys more life than abortion,
Yet I rejoice that you have conquered death
by the Resurrection of Your Son.
I am ready to do my part in ending abortion.
Today I commit myself
Never to be silent,
Never to be passive,
Never to be forgetful of the unborn.
I commit myself to be active in the pro-life movement,
And never to stop defending life
Until all my brothers and sisters are protected,
And our nation once again becomes
A nation with liberty and justice
Not just for some, but for all.

Scripture for meditation: Jeremiah 31:15
Thus says the LORD, "A voice is heard in Ramah, Lamentation and bitter weeping. Rachel is weeping for her children; She refuses to be comforted for her children, Because they are no more.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Devotion for today: With malice toward none; with charity toward all…”

Today the United States of America celebrates Martin Luther King. It also holds its inauguration for President Obama. In uniting the two themes, let’s take a look at an excerpt from President Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address.

One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union even by war, while the Government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it. Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with or even before the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding.
 Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. "Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh."
If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him?  
Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether."
With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Devotion for today: Jesus chooses His twelve apostles; Jesus chooses us.

Mk 3:13-19: Jesus went up the mountain and summoned those whom he wanted and they came to him.
He appointed Twelve, whom he also named Apostles, that they might be with him and he might send them forth to preach and to have authority to drive out demons: He appointed the Twelve: Simon, whom he named Peter; James, son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James, whom he named Boanerges, that is, sons of thunder; Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus; Thaddeus, Simon the Cananean, and Judas Iscariot who betrayed him.

The Church honors the Apostles on the following feast days:
Sts Peter and Paul-June 29th
St John-December 27th
St James-July 25th
St Andrew-November 30th
St Thomas-July 3rd
St Matthew-September 21st
Sts Philip and James the Less-May 3rd
St Bartholomew-August 24th
Sts Simon and Jude-October 28th
St Matthias-May 14th

The only sources on the subject of the Twelve Apostles are the four Gospels and the first chapter of the Acts, describing the relationship between Jesus and His Apostles during His ministry on earth. Although the Apostles are the ultimate authors of the Gospels they do not appear prominently in them; they are never magnified in them. The Gospels refer to them only because Jesus Himself was occupied with them, teaching and training them to understand His origin and mission, in order to transmit to others correctly His personality, His Gospel and His deeds.

Whenever they appeared later in their ministry, they spoke with authority and determination on behalf of the Lord Who sent them to present His Gospel to the world. They never usurp or appropriate for themselves the new teachings. It is true that the Gospel took some human aspects of their individual personalities. But these aspects were such that they showed their understanding and limitation of the words and deeds of their Lord; a reflection of the good news in their own simple and humble life. The Apostles are both the preachers and the examples of the New Creation.
The Greek word "apostle" conveys to us the meaning of messenger, delegate, envoy or collector of tribute paid to the temple service. In the Gospels the Twelve were simply to be Christ's envoys. As Jesus was sent by His Father, so the Apostles were sent by Jesus. Jesus Christ used contemporary terms for "apostle" and gave it His own content and interpretation stressing the idea of being "sent," which means that an Apostle is a man with a mission throughout his entire life.

 Jesus Christ Himself gave the title "Apostle" to the Twelve in Luke 6:13 and Mark 3:14, "whom he also named apostles." The term "apostle" ("apostolos" in Greek; a derivative from "apostellein", meaning "to send") signifies a special mission. An apostle is the commissioner of the person who sent him. Therefore, the term apostle is more definite than the term messenger (in Greek "angelos"). The apostle does not merely transmit a message, but he works to put it into practice among the recipients, both to let them understand it aright and to apply its contents in their faith and life. (Rev. George Mastrantonis,

My thoughts:  and now it is our turn.