Pray therefore…

Man praying

The harvest is great but the workers are few, PRAY, therefore, to the Lord of the harvest to send workers into His harvest”. (Mt. 9:38;Lk. 10:2).

This is the divine command of Jesus when he saw the crowd and He felt compassion for them because they were harassed and dejected like sheep without a shepherd. This is the immediate response of Jesus to that situation to PRAY… His heart was move into action to PRAY- not only for the quantity of workers but for good quality, holy workers for the Church.

St Annibale Maria di Francia in his time, felt the same as what Jesus felt about the lack of holy workers. The prayer of Jesus became his own prayer, praying for holy workers or holy vocations, particularly holy priests or holy ministers for the Church. That is why he committed his entire life to PRAY for holy vocations as the identity, the charism and the spirituality of the two congregations that he founded: the Daughters of Divine Zeal and the Rogationist of the Heart of Jesus.  The secret of saving and the sanctification of souls is through PRAYER.

We imagine a single holy person can make a world of difference – how much more of a difference can be made, then, when we pray for a holy priest or a holy consecrated person because it is in them to guide and lead us to God. If a priest, consecrated or lay person is holy, everything follows that all workers in God’s vineyard become holy and, therefore, there will be a holy nation. Even one holy person can affect a nation and the whole world – look at the lives of the saints.  They are holy because their life is a life of prayer and that their prayer was transformed into loving service for others. The challenge is now handed to us to be one of the holy workers in the Church.

The secret of holiness is revealed.  Let us  be faithful to our prayer. A prayer without action is useless so let us also commit ourselves to pray and our prayer can be transformed to doing any charitable acts, especially for those who are most in need of our help.

I invite you to pray every day this short prayer for holy vocations:

Send  O Lord, Holy Apostles into your Church!

Lord, help!… please show me the way

Vocation is a gift from God. Each individual has a particular calling. It is not just a simple calling but a divine calling that comes from God.

Which way am I being called

Which way am I being called

To answer a particular vocation is one of the biggest, final and ultimate decision to make because it is meant to be for a lifetime and beyond. God gives us the freedom to respond to His call with sincerity and trust in Him. It is the cause of our joy when we respond positively to the vocation to which we are called. It is God who destined us to this vocation and He give us the grace to persevere. It is not enough to rely only on our own capacity or power – above all, it is important to pray for a good and right decision.

Any vocational calling, such as married life, priestly or religious life, lay consecrated life and single blessedness, will always lead us back to God. Each call differs in its way we express our love for God and our neighbour. The call will challenge us to become a holy person. Above all, within this calling, God says “You are mine”. Perhaps we are at a crossroad – it is a challenge to choose the right way that it is destined for us. Yet, we need to remember that God is ahead of us, to welcome us to that place.

Be persevering in prayer and ask help from the Holy Spirit for enlightenment and the gift of wisdom to make the right decision. Even when you feel challenged with life’s daily experiences, God assures us that He is with us always, and He will never leave us alone.

Urgent need of …Holy Priests

Rev Wilford Urmaza RCJ prays

Rev Wilford Urmaza RCJ prays.  He will be ordained a priest in October 2015*

Do you pray for your parish priest or any priest?

The divine command of Jesus urges us to pray for good workers in the Church. The prayer of Jesus to ask the Lord of the harvest for holy ministers is urgent, effective, necessary, and applicable at this time.  In particular we have to pray for the holiness of all the priests. As Pope Francis will always humbly say and ask the faithful:

Please don’t forget to pray for me

Our society, nation and the whole world needs holy priests or holy pastors who will guide our spiritual life journey with God.  It is an urgent need to pray for holy priests not only just for the numbers of priests that God will send – we have to ask God for priests according to His Heart. This prayer is urgent and is a necessity because many people are going astray, a lot of troubles are happening around the world because there is no sense of God in people’s lives.

The holiness of a priest or pastor will affect the lives of the people, they have a big role for the sanctity of the faithful. So let us live this commitment daily, to say and spread this prayer so that we too may become one of the holy ones:

Send, O Lord, Holy Priests into Your Church!


*Rev Wilford Ramos Urmaza RCJ will be ordained priests in the Philippines on 24 October 2015.  Please pray especially for him, Rev Ryan Torion Jimenez RCJ and Rev Joel Ribleza Ricafranca RCJ.

Family …seed bed of vocations

Family is the seedbed for vocations

Family is the seedbed for vocations. Artwork by Sr Cielo Tanio fdz

The family is the smallest group of people in the society. Even though it has a small number of people, it is the most important in the community, to the Church, society, nation and, in general, to the whole world because it is the family unit that builds its future.

Family must be strengthened in the wisdom and the knowledge of God because it is the seedbed of good vocations, it is the seedbed for holy labourers. The family is the first school of learning about God. Putting God at the centre,  good values manifest in the lives of each member of the family. Mothers, fathers and other adults in the family have a great and important role to play in teaching their children or the young the Christian values in life like love,  respect, sacrifice, value of prayer and work, etc. When parents demonstrate and live these Christian values, this produces good and holy vocations for the community, society, nations and the whole world.

What a wonderful world it would be if each one of us had God at the centre of our lives? Everything starts in the family – that is why the Holy Father delivered one of his most inspiring speeches when meeting with families:

…make a home for Jesus.  You make a home for him in your hearts, your families, your parishes and your communities.

His challenge to families is not to leave prayer life; to put God always at the centre of everything,  we expect the seed of holy vocations that is planted in the fertile soil of a prayerful family life will produce good fruit, holy vocations in the Church. For these, let us continue praying to the Master of the Harvest …Send O Lord Holy Parents, Holy Men and Women into your Church!

See Also: Pope Francis to families: be examples of holiness, prayer

Rogate…

Rogate in the wheatfield

Rogate or prayer… is the key for the sanctification and the salvation of souls. This is the command of Jesus to pray to the Lord of the harvest to send labourers into His harvest.

This command was born from His heart because when He saw the crowd He felt compassion for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd.

The harvest is great, the labourers few
(Matthew 9:35-38)

Send O Lord, Holy Apostles into Your Church!

Image of ROGATE key drawn by Sr Cielo Tanio, FDZ

Falling in love with Jesus…

God is love.  He is simply love in itself. Knowing how Jesus loves, experiencing His love is a great joy in one’s heart. His love is unfathomable and never ends, meaning it is everlasting. Contemplating Him as a God of love, the source of all love, I am drawn to Him. His love is limitless such that words are just not enough to describe everything about Him. His heart communicates only with and for love.  His heart touches people’s lives.  His heart always sings a lovely song for us.

Image of painting by artist Greg Olsen

Image of painting by artist Greg Olsen*

God walks with us in love and we always feel assured that He will never leave us alone nor lonely. His heart listens to our stories of success, pain and difficulties.  His love is perfect.

Falling in love with Jesus is a journey of life. When we listen to the beats of our heart they sound like this:

love God, love God, love God

He is there in our hearts reminding us of His love for us.

Thinking of Jesus’ love, we are in His presence and we intimately feel the deep joy, peace and love within us. I think I am on the ongoing process of loving Him and although my love is not perfect, it is He who makes it perfect.

Falling in love with the unseen God is the delight of my heart and anybody’s heart who sees and feels for Him.  His  mysterious heart is burning with love and affection. Loving Him again and again surpasses any other human love that I have experienced in life. I know that He chose me to love Him and there is no reason not to choose Him too. I am falling for Him above any other things here on earth. For me, to say  forever is not just enough to say, “I Love You Jesus, Lord or God”. He is always faithful in His love and what I am praying for is that I may be able to respond to His love with generosity and perseverance, until the end of my life, and that I always choose Him above any other things.  I pray also for all those who follow Jesus, that their love will never fade in the midst of temptations, difficulties, trials and anything else that can separate them from Jesus.


*Image of Greg Olsen’s painting, Forgiven, found in a gallery at turnbacktogod.com

“From an early age I have always been fascinated by paintings that create mood, emotion and atmosphere; especially those paintings that lift me and transport me to some far off place. These are the elements I strive to create in my paintings. My paintings in many ways record what is most important to me: my feelings and experiences with family and friends along with the spiritual aspects of my life. My hope is that in these images you will find something familiar, something which will resonate and remind you of what is important in your own life.”  — Greg Olsen | You can find more of his beautiful paintings on Greg Olsen’s Official Site

A look back in time: Padre Annibale’s Relic comes to Australia

The Richmond FDZ Community welcomes the Relic

The Richmond FDZ Community welcomes the Relic

Saturday 10 November 2001 marked the most important event that transpired in the life of the Daughters of Divine Zeal (FDZ) in Australia.  On that day, the Relic of our Founder, Padre Annibale Maria Di Francia, touched the soil of Australia.  The Relic had been accompanied by a Rogationist priest, Fr Carmelo Capizzi RCJ, who had come from Korea.  Fr Carmelo and Sr Floriana Lapolla FDZ were the official escorts of the Relic while it toured Australia, visiting the places where the Daughters of Divine Zeal were ministering.

The Relic first came to the community of the FDZ Sisters in Richmond and, along with a number of friends,  they welcomed the Relic with a sense of gratitude and awe.  Moments later, all gathered together in the FDZ Chapel for a Welcome Liturgy.

Padre Annibale painted on the ceiling of St Anthony's Shrine, Hawthorn VIC

Padre Annibale painted on the ceiling of St Anthony’s Shrine, Hawthorn VIC

Saint Annibale was a fan and devotee of St Anthony of Padua.  He placed St Anthony as the celestial benefactor and protector of all his works of charity, especially among children.  He even named his orphanages in honour of St Anthony and maintained a pious devotion to this saint as a regular observance of the Institutes he founded.

Hawthorn, a suburb adjacent to Richmond, is where the National Shrine of St Anthony of Padua is located.  Feasts of different saints are celebrated in this Shrine and the portraits of many saints and blesseds are painted on the Shrine’s ceiling.  On the occasion of the coming of Padre Annibale’s Relic to Australia, his portrait was added to those already there, with the permission from the Capuchin Fathers.  Indeed, all the devotees of Blessed (as he was at the time) Annibale rejoiced as he joined the company.  The first Mass in honour of Blessed Annibale was celebrated at St Anthony’s Shine on 10 November 2001 at 5:30pm.

Mass at St Ignatius' Church, Richmond VIC

Mass at St Ignatius’ Church, Richmond VIC

On Sunday 11 November 2001, several Masses were celebrated at St Ignatius’ Church in Richmond in honour of Blessed Annibale.  After the last Mass at 5:30pm, the Relic was brought in procession from the Church to the FDZ Chapel just across the road, under a drizzling sky.  People who had attended the Mass at the Church formed part of the procession.

Sr Isabella Carlone FDZ, the Superior of the Daughters of Divine Zeal Community in Richmond at that time, expressed her gratitude to the people who had joined the Sisters’ community in celebrating the presence of the Founder’s Relic.  She also shared the Mission that the Lord had entrusted to Blessed Annibale: to pray and work for more holy labourers in the Church.

Congregation venerates the Relic in the FDZ Chapel in Richmond VIC

Congregation venerates the Relic in the FDZ Chapel in Richmond VIC

As an expression of their homage to Blessed Annibale, the Sisters with several friends sang a song to our Founder: “How Wonderful You Are O Blessed Hannibal“.  The song describes the blessed man’s heart that loves, especially the orphaned children and the poor.  By his life and work he inspired men and women to

labour in love… Pray, pray for us, that we may keep God’s love forever burning… that in our hearts is His divine zeal

Congregation venerates the Relic in Our Lady of Dolours Catholic Church, Chatswood NSW

Congregation venerates the Relic in Our Lady of Dolours Church, Chatswood NSW

On Sunday 18 November 2001, a Mass in honour of Blessed Annibale was celebrated in Our Lady of Dolours Catholic Church in  Chatswood, New South Wales, where the Daughters of Divine Zeal had been ministering to the community in the Parish.

The congregations attending these Masses around Australia had the privilege of kissing and venerating the Relic.  There was also a “Book of Intentions” available for them to write their particular intentions through the intercession of Blessed Annibale.  This book was later sent to Italy.

The Relic of Padre Annibale Maria  Di Francia

The Relic of Padre Annibale Maria Di Francia

To this day, in the midst of this fast-changing world and advancing technologies, the Church still needs committed people to work for their brothers and sisters around the world.  Let us, therefore,

Pray to the Lord of the harvest to send labourers to His harvest (Mt 9:38)

Do you have any memories of the visit of St Annibale’s Relic to Australia?  Feel welcome to share them here or on our Facebook page.


With Thanks
  • Bernadette for asking about the Relic’s visit to Australia
  • Sr Cielo Tanio FDZ for her research in our community archives
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