The Pope Francis challenge: consult the Bible as often as your cellphone


This past Sunday Pope Francis challenged Catholics (again) to keep a pocket-Bible and return again and again to it throughout the day. He reflected, “What would happen if we turned back when we forget it, if we opened it more times a day, if we read the message of God contained in the Bible the way we read messages on our cellphones?”

Pope Francis explained how, “If we always carried God’s Word in our hearts, no temptation would distance us from the Father, and no obstacle would take us off the path towards good.”

He then encouraged the faithful to carry a pocket-sized Bible so that it would be easy to consult throughout the day.

This is the not first time Pope Francis has brought up this subject, going so far as to distribute free pocket-sized Bibles during Lent of 2014. He explained to those gathered for the Sunday Angelus, “Last Sunday I suggested that you get a little copies of the gospels, to carry with you during the day, to read often. Then I thought over the ancient tradition of the Church, during Lent, to give the gospel to catechumens preparing for baptism. So today I want to offer to you who are here in the piazza – but as a sign for all – a pocket-sized gospel. They will be distributed to you freely…Take one, carry it with you: it is truly Jesus who speaks to you.”

During that same year Pope Francis suggested that the morning commute would be a perfect time to open up your pocket-sized Bible and read a few verses from the Word of God.

What Pope Francis suggests is something many saints practiced. It consists of immersing a person’s entire life with the Word of God to find comfort and inspiration on a daily basis. The beauty of the practice is that anyone can do it and it can take a matter of minutes to complete

There are many different versions available, including an English version of the pocket-Bible that Pope Francis distributed. It is available through the USCCB. Otherwise there is a very durable version available through Ignatius Press that is also a good option.

At the same time, there are numerous apps that have the entire Bible and so even though you may be looking at your cellphone, you are actually reading the Word of God.

In the end, it is a wonderful practice and something we should all consider during this Lenten season.

St. John-Paul II’s Scriptural Stations of the Cross

The following stations of the cross are based on those celebrated by Pope John Paul II on Good Friday 1991. They are presented here as an alternative to the traditional stations and as a way of reflecting more deeply on the Scriptural accounts of Christ’s passion.


The presiding minister may be a priest, deacon, or layperson. This minister prays the opening and closing prayers, leads the acclamation, announces the stations, and says the prayer that concludes each station. One or more readers may read the Scriptural reflections. A period of silence should be observed between the Scripture reading and the prayer. A crossbearer accompanied by two candlebearers may stand in front of each station as it is announced. As the cross- and candlebearers move between the stations, all may sing a verse of the Stabat Mater (At the Cross Her Station Keeping – traditional) or an appropriate antiphon.


Before each station:

Minister: We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.


All: Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.


After each station:

All: Lord Jesus, help us walk in your steps.



Opening Prayer:


God of power and mercy,

in love you sent your Son

that we might be cleansed of sin

and live with you forever.

Bless us as we gather to reflect

on his suffering and death

that we may learn from his example

the way we should go.


We ask this through that same Christ, our Lord.




First Station: Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane


Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to feel sorrow and distress. Then he said to them, “My soul is sorrowful even to death. Remain here and keep watch with me.” He advanced a little and fell prostrate in prayer, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will.” When he returned to his disciples he found them asleep. He said to Peter, “So you could not keep watch with me for one hour? Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

(Matthew 26:36-41)



grant us your strength and wisdom,

that we may seek to follow your will in all things



Second Station: Jesus, Betrayed by Judas, is Arrested

Reader: Then, while [Jesus] was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived, accompanied by a crowd with swords and clubs, who had come from the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders. His betrayer had arranged a signal with them, saying, “the man I shall kiss is the one; arrest him and lead him away securely.” He came and immediately went over to him and said, “Rabbi.” And he kissed him. At this they laid hands on him and arrested him.

(Mark 14: 43-46)




grant us the courage of our convictions

that our lives may faithfully reflect the good news you bring.


Third Station: Jesus is Condemned by the Sanhedrin

Reader: When day came the council of elders of the people met, both chief priests and scribes, and they brought him before their Sanhedrin. They said, “If you are the Messiah, tell us,” but he replied to them, “If I tell you, you will not believe, and if I question, you will not respond. But from this time on the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the power of God.” They all asked, “Are you then the Son of God?” He replied to them, “You say that I am.” Then they said, “What further need have we for testimony? We have heard it from his own mouth.”

(Luke 22: 66-71)




grant us your sense of righteousness

that we may never cease to work

to bring about the justice of the kingdom that you promised.



Fourth Station: Jesus is Denied by Peter

Reader: Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. One of the maids came over to him and said, “You too were with Jesus the Galilean.” But he denied it in front of everyone, saying, “I do not know what you are talking about!” As he went out to the gate, another girl saw him and said to those who were there, “This man was with Jesus the Nazorean.” Again he denied it with an oath, “I do not know the man!” A little later the bystanders came over and said to Peter, “Surely you too are one of them; even your speech gives you away.” At that he began to curse and to swear, “I do not know the man.” And immediately a cock crowed. Then Peter remembered the word that Jesus had spoken: “Before the cock crows you will deny me three times.” He went out and began to weep bitterly.

(Matthew 26: 69-75)


Minister: Lord,

grant us the gift of honesty

that we may not fear to speak the truth even when difficult.

Fifth Station: Jesus is Judged by Pilate

Reader: The chief priests with the elders and the scribes, that is, the whole Sanhedrin, held a council. They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate. Pilate questioned him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” He said to him in reply, “You say so.” The chief priests accused him of many things. Again Pilate questioned him, “Have you no answer? See how many things they accuse you of.” Jesus gave him no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed…. Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barrabas… [and] handed [Jesus] over to be crucified.

(Mark 15: 1-5, 15)




grant us discernment

that we may see as you see, not as the world sees.


Sixth Station: Jesus is Scourged and Crowned with Thorns


Then Pilate took Jesus and had him scourged. And the soldiers wove a crown out of thorns and placed it on his head, and clothed him in a purple cloak, and they came to him and said,”Hail, King of the Jews!” And they struck him repeatedly.

(John 19: 1-3)





grant us patience in times of suffering

that we may offer our lives as a sacrifice of praise.

Seventh Station: Jesus Bears the Cross

Reader: When the chief priests and the guards saw [Jesus] they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him. I find no guilt in him.” … They cried out, “Take him away, take him away! Crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your king?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” Then he handed him over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus, and carrying the cross himself he went out to what is called the Place of the Skull, in Hebrew, Golgotha.

(John 19: 6, 15-17)




grant us strength of purpose

that we may faithfully bear our crosses each day.



Eighth Station: Jesus is Helped by Simon the Cyrenian to Carry the Cross

Reader: They pressed into service a passer-by, Simon, a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross.

(Mark 15: 21)




grant us willing spirits

that we may be your instruments on earth.


Ninth Station: Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem

Reader: A large crowd of people followed Jesus, including many women who mourned and lamented him. Jesus turned to them and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep instead for yourselves and for your children, for indeed, the days are coming when people will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed.’ At that time, people will say to the mountains, ‘Fall upon us!’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us!’ for if these things are done when the wood is green what will happen when it is dry?”

(Luke 23: 27-31)




grant us gentle spirits

that we may comfort those who mourn.


Tenth Station: Jesus is Crucified

Reader: When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him and the criminals there, one on his right, the other on his left. [Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.”]

(Luke 23: 33-34)



grant us merciful hearts

that we may bring your reconciliation and forgiveness to all.



Eleventh Station: Jesus Promises His Kingdom to the Good Thief

Reader: Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us.” The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply, “Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” He replied to him, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

(Luke 23: 39-43)




grant us perseverance

that we may never stop seeking you.


Twelfth Station: Jesus Speaks to His Mother and the Disciple

Reader: Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.

John 19: 25-27



grant us constancy

that we may be willing to stand by those in need.


Thirteenth Station: Jesus Dies on the Cross

Reader: It was now about noon and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon because of an eclipse of the sun. Then the veil of the temple was torn down the middle. Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit”; and when he had said this he breathed his last.

(Luke 23: 44-46)




grant us trust in you

that when our time on earth in ended

our spirits may come to you without delay.


Fourteenth Station: Jesus is Placed in the Tomb


When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea named Joseph, who was himself a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be handed over. Taking the body, Joseph wrapped it [in] clean linen and laid it in his new tomb that he had hewn in the rock. Then he rolled a huge stone across the entrance to the tomb and departed.

(Matthew 27: 57-60)




grant us your compassion

that we may always provide for those in need.

Closing Prayer:


Lord Jesus Christ,

your passion and death is the sacrifice that unites earth and heaven

and reconciles all people to you.

May we who have faithfully reflected on these mysteries

follow in your steps and so come to share your glory in heaven

where you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit

one God, for ever and ever.




Stitchery Guild objet d’art Will Be at Our Lady of Hope Retreat Centre

Debbie Joy Reports: This is the stitched picture that was presented to Sister Rose Setter csm at Belcourt Centre several years ago.

It was a collaborative effort among the stitchery Guilds in PEI, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick and was on display above the coffee counter.

We removed it for cleaning in September and will return it to the new Our Lady of Hope Retreat Centre when it opens.

[There will a place of honour on the east side of the corridor outside the dining room that will be perfect for this stitching. Many snacks were consumed in front of this Psalm Verse. J]

Modified Logo

The Advisory Board met yesterday and approved a new version of the logo…the Bishop this morning concurred with the Board’s recommendation with one suggested change…a lighter shade of blue background.  I just spoke to Kenny Vail and he will send you the revised logo (with a lighter shade of blue) and also the transparent version that you could use when you see the need.


Saint Gilbert of Sempringham

Saint Gilbert’s Story

Gilbert was born in Sempringham, England, into a wealthy family, but he followed a path quite different from that expected of him as the son of a Norman knight. Sent to France for his higher education, he decided to pursue seminary studies.

He returned to England not yet ordained a priest, and inherited several estates from his father. But Gilbert avoided the easy life he could have led under the circumstances. Instead he lived a simple life at a parish, sharing as much as possible with the poor. Following his ordination to the priesthood he served as parish priest at Sempringham.

Among the congregation were seven young women who had expressed to him their desire to live in religious life. In response, Gilbert had a house built for them adjacent to the Church. There they lived an austere life, but one which attracted ever more numbers; eventually lay sisters and lay brothers were added to work the land. The religious order formed eventually became known as the Gilbertines, though Gilbert had hoped the Cistercians or some other existing order would take on the responsibility of establishing a rule of life for the new order. The Gilbertines, the only religious order of English origin founded during the Middle Ages, continued to thrive. But the order came to an end when King Henry VIII suppressed all Catholic monasteries.

Over the years a special custom grew up in the houses of the order called “the plate of the Lord Jesus.” The best portions of the dinner were put on a special plate and shared with the poor, reflecting Gilbert’s lifelong concern for less fortunate people.

Throughout his life, Gilbert lived simply, consumed little food, and spent a good portion of many nights in prayer. Despite the rigors of such a life he died at well over age 100.


When he came into his father’s wealth, Gilbert could have lived a life of luxury, as many of his fellow priests did at the time. Instead, he chose to share his wealth with the poor. The charming habit of filling “the plate of the Lord Jesus” in the monasteries he established reflected his concern. Today’s Operation Rice Bowl echoes that habit: eating a simpler meal and letting the difference in the grocery bill help feed the hungry.

Saint Claude de la Colombière

Saint of the Day for February 15

(February 2,1641 – February 15, 1682)

Saint Claude de la Colombière’s Story

This is a special day for the Jesuits, who claim today’s saint as one of their own. It’s also a special day for people who have a special devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus—a devotion Claude de la Colombière promoted, along with his friend and spiritual companion, Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque. The emphasis on God’s love for all was an antidote to the rigorous moralism of the Jansenists, who were popular at the time.

Claude showed remarkable preaching skills long before his ordination in 1675. Two months later, he was made superior of a small Jesuit residence in Burgundy. It was there he first encountered Margaret Mary Alacoque. For many years after he served as her confessor.

He was next sent to England to serve as confessor to the Duchess of York. He preached by both words and by the example of his holy life, converting a number of Protestants. Tensions arose against Catholics and Claude, rumored to be part of a plot against the king, was imprisoned. He was ultimately banished, but by then his health had been ruined.

He died in 1682. Pope John Paul II canonized Claude de la Colombière in 1992.


As a fellow Jesuit and as a promoter of the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Saint Claude must be very special to Pope Francis who has so beautifully emphasized the mercy of Jesus. The emphasis on God’s love and mercy are characteristic of both men.