Venerate Relic of St. Peregrine at Assumption Catholic Church in Chicago

I was in downtown Chicago on business this week and only had a small window of free time.  I looked up the closest Catholic Church in walking distance to my hotel and found that Assumption Catholic Church was only a few blocks away.  I hurried down there hoping to catch a few minutes of quiet prayer in the church before heading off to my meetings.  I happened to arrive while mass was going on and sat in one of the pews in the back.

After the mass was concluded I spent some time in prayer and then walked around admiring the beauty of church.  I was immediately struck by statues of St. Peregrine kneeling as though he is seeking intercession before Jesus on the cross with the Blessed Virgin Mary by his side.  There is a relic of St. Peregrine, patron saint of cancer patients, in a cross shaped reliquary and there is a kneeler there so that you can spend time in prayer and venerating the relic.  On Mondays they have a 10 minute service in honor of St. Peregrine after the 12:10 mass that includes prayer, petitions, litany, and a blessing with the relic of the saint. I apologize the pictures aren’t the best quality.  I only had my phone on me and the lighting wasn’t very good.

St Peregrine Relic

There are other large statues of saints, 10 in all, including St. Anne, St. Patrick, and Mother Cabrini.  Beautiful stained glass windows line each side of the church and the ceilings have multiple paintings.

Assumption Catholic Church Saint StatuesAssumption Catholic Church Ceiling Paintings

Assumption Catholic Church was founded in 1881 and ministered to the Italian Catholic immigrants that settled in the area.  Today, it serves the diversity of downtown Chicago.  If want to go outside of mass, call before you go to make sure the church doors will be unlocked.  I happened to arrive while the 12:10 mass was going on, but I think they were locking the doors while I was leaving.

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Portiuncula Plenary Indulgence August 2nd

An important opportunity is coming up to receive a plenary indulgence on August 2nd.  I don’t know about you, but I need all of the help I can get.

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church 1471:

“An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain prescribed conditions through the action of the Church which, as the minister of redemption, dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions of Christ and the saints.”

“An indulgence is partial or plenary according as it removes either part or all of the temporal punishment due to sin.” The faithful can gain indulgences for themselves or apply them to the dead.

The conditions for the Portiuncula Indulgence are:

  1. Receive a sacramental confession with 8 days before or after the day the indulgence is sought
  2. Receive holy communion at mass on August 2nd
  3. Enter a parish church and with a contrite heart pray the Our Father, Apostles Creed, and a prayer of your choosing for the intentions of the Pope
  4. For a full or plenary indulgence or the indulgence you must be truly repentant and free, at least intentionally, of attachment to venial and mortal sin.

PortiunculaThe Portiuncula is a small church that is located within the Basilica of Our Lady of the Angels located a couple of miles from Assisi, Italy.  It was old church dedicated to the Mother of God that was abandoned and St. Francis lived there and repaired it.  One night St. Francis was praying the church and Jesus appeared to him and asked him what he wanted for the salvation of souls and St. Francis replied,“Lord, I a miserable sinner beg You to concede an indulgence to all those who enter this church, who are truly contrite and have confessed their sins. And I beg Blessed Mary, your Mother, intercessor of man, that she intercede on behalf of this grace.”

Jesus replied, “It is a very great thing that which you ask Me; but you are worthy of even greater things, Friar Francis, and greater things you will have. So I accept your request, but I want you to go to my Vicar, to whom I have given the power to bind and loose in Heaven and on earth, to ask him on my behalf for this indulgence.”

St. Francis petitioned Pope Honorius for the confirmation of this indulgence.  Up until that point only partial indulgences had been granted.  The Portiuncula indulgence was the first plenary indulgence ever granted in the church.

I hope you take advantage of this indulgence for yourself or the holy souls in purgatory.


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Create a “Purgatory Box” to Pray for the Holy Souls in Purgatory for All Souls Day and Throughout the Year

With All Souls Day coming up, I thought I’d share one of our daily prayer activities for the Holy Souls in purgatory. We have what we call a ‘purgatory box’, which is a box full of the names of those that have died that we want to pray for.  You could include any or all of these as you choose.

  • Family (individual names going back as far as you choose or groups such as “the Smith family”)
  • Friends
  • Acquaintances
  • Groups of people like “first responders” and “people that have no one to pray for them”
  • People’s names from old holy cards
  • Celebrities, historical figures, or people from the news (for example we added Caylee Anthony to our box, a child that was murdered in a high profile case that was on the news)
  • Types of sins such as “people that struggled with addition” or “people that committed suicide”
Purgatory Box Catholic Pilgrimage Sites

Purgatory Box

To create the purgatory box we used a craft box from Michaels (which as you can see I haven’t gotten around to decorating, but that’s not the important part) and some color copy paper to put the names on.  We choose the box instead of a basket or something else because we can close the lid when needed to keep kids and pets out.  We took the colored sheets of paper and folded them in half and half again until we got the squares you see in the photo and used a black marker to write in the names, one name per square.  We like to draw the names randomly from the box and the color paper doesn’t bleed the names through like the white paper does.  The darker the colored paper you use, the less the black marker bleeds through.  We add people to the box as needed.

Every night for around 10-15 minutes we each pull a name from the purgatory box and say the St. Gertrude prayer out loud and add “especially [name of person whose name that was drawn]” and then the next person draws a name. We go through the whole box in a couple of nights and it’s a great way to pray as a family. The best part is the 1000 souls that are released from purgatory each time you say the prayer!

St. Gertrude Prayer

Eternal father I offer unto Thee the most precious blood of thy divine son Jesus
in union with the masses said throughout the world today
for all holy souls in purgatory, especially [insert name you drew here]
for sinners everywhere
for sinners in the universal church
those in my own home
and in my  family


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Get a Plenary Indulgence for Making a Pilgrimage During the Year of Faith

Year of Faith logo

There has never been a better time to make a pilgrimage!  During the Year of Faith, October 11, 2012 to November 24, 2013, a plenary indulgence is available to the faithful for making a pilgrimage.  According to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops website a plenary indulgence will be granted under the normal circumstances when:

“Each time they visit, in the course of a pilgrimage, a papal basilica, a Christian catacomb, a cathedral church or a holy site designated by the local ordinary for the Year of Faith (for example, minor basilicas and shrines dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Holy Apostles or patron saints), and there participate in a sacred celebration, or at least remain for a congruous period of time in prayer and pious meditation, concluding with the recitation of the Our Father, the Profession of Faith in any legitimate form, and invocations to the Blessed Virgin Mary and, depending on the circumstances, to the Holy Apostles and patron saints.”

The other ways to earn a plenary indulgence during the year of faith include:

  • “Each time they attend at least three sermons during the Holy Missions, or at least three lessons on the Acts of the Council or the articles of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, in church or any other suitable location.
  • Each time that, on the days designated by the local ordinary for the Year of Faith, in any sacred place, they participate in a solemn celebration of the Eucharist or the Liturgy of the Hours, adding thereto the Profession of Faith in any legitimate form.
  • On any day they chose, during the Year of Faith, if they make a pious visit to the baptistery, or other place in which they received the Sacrament of Baptism, and there renew their baptismal promises in any legitimate form.”

Remember, a pilgrimage does not mean you have to travel a great distance or spend a lot of money.  There are some amazing pilgrimage sites within the United States and quite possibly, within your neighborhood.  See a list of pilgrimage sites by state here.  I am constantly adding new pilgrimage sites, so please check back often.

You can find prayers for the Year of Faith here.

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Making the pilgrimage to adoration

Occupy AdorationA pilgrimage is a personal journey where the primary reason for making it is to ultimately feel closer to God (even if we don’t know it at the time).  There are many amazing pilgrimage sites in the United States and throughout the world.  Places where you can see relics, beautiful works of art, the incorrupt bodies of saints, the places of miracles and apparitions of the saints and the Blessed Virgin Mary.  Places of immense beauty and wonder.  They are worth the trip and the journey can be immensely transformative.  There is a place where you can go to get the closest to God that most of us on earth will ever be and it is probably close to your home. It’s one of the places that God is waiting for us but we overlook – adoration.  Many parishes offer adoration at designated times during the week and there are some that offer adoration 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  You can find where adoration is available near you here.  The site lists over 7185 locations for adoration by state.

I know that many people struggle with how to fit adoration into their day, especially if the times and locations for adoration in your area are limited.  Keep this in mind, you don’t have to go for a full hour.  It’s best to go for an hour if you can, but if you can only go for 30 minutes, 15 minutes, 10 minutes or even 5 minutes it’s worth it.  If you can only walk in and say ‘hi’ to God then do it.  I can only make it for 15 or 20 minutes at a church that’s near where I work, but I try to go every week.  I can’t tell you what a difference its made in my life.

Don’t overlook adoration.  It’s probably the single best pilgrimage you can make.

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Celebrate Feast Day of Mother Elizabeth Seaton by visiting the Bascilica & Shrine dedicated to her

Inside the Basilica & National Shrine of Elizabeth SetonIf you’re in the Emmitsburg, Maryland area today make a pilgrimage to the Basilica and National Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in honor of her feast day.   Her relics are in entombed in a small copper basket in the Altar of Relics.  At the Basilica you can visit St. Joseph’s Cemetary, where Mother Seton was originally buried, the Stone House where she founded the Sisters of Charity, the “White House” which was the first Mother House of the Sisters of Charity, and the Stone Legacy Garden which has 5 reflection areas for each decade of the rosary and walkways with quotes of scriptures and saints for your prayerful stroll.


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A Prayer in Thanksgiving

A Prayer in Thanksgiving

Thank You, O God, for hearing my prayers and granting my requests.  Thank You for all the kindness You have shown me.

Thank You, O Father, for Your great love in giving me my life, for Your great patience in perserving me dispite my sinfulness, for Your protection in the past and for the opportunity to serve and honor You in the future.

Thank You, Lord Jesus, for keeping me numberless times from sin and deth, by the toils of Your life, the sufferings of Your Passion, and by Your victorious Resurrection.

Thank You, Holy Spirit of God, for bestowing so many graces upon my soul and for having so frequently renewed Your life within me.

May my life, from now on, be a sign of my gratefulness.  Amen.

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