LEAVES Website for the March-April 2017 Issue

Excerpted from “Leaflets” column:

        We are in the midst of the Lenten Season. Most parishes have increased devotions available this time of year. If you have not attended a “Stations of the Cross” service, consider going to one. If a local church has extended times for the Sacrament of Reconciliation, avail yourself of the opportunity of making a good confession.

Our celebration of Easter is far greater if it is preceded by earnest sacrifices in Lent. In addition to abstaining from meat on the Fridays of Lent, let us abstain from gossip or other uncharitable words. Let our voices ring out with only those words that uplift others.

Just as we avoid wasting food, we ought also to be conscious of wasting our time. Time is such an invaluable commodity that simply is not renewable. Once it is gone, it is gone. We don’t get it back. Do we spend an inordinate amount of time in front of our televisions or cellphones or in playing video games? Can we cut back on the number of programs we watch or the amount of time we are on Facebook or Instagram or YouTube?

Instead of downloading only silly videos online, we might sign up to receive devotional daily emails or postings. Let your internet consumption increase your spirituality or even your information about the Faith. Reading about Church history or stories of the saints can be fascinating and enlightening.

As Pope Francis advised us:
Lent is a fitting time for self-denial; we would do well to ask ourselves what we can give up in order to help and enrich others by our own poverty. Let us not forget that real poverty hurts; no self-denial is real without this dimension of penance. I distrust a charity that costs nothing and does not hurt (Lent of 2014).

It is not enough to give of our excess. True sacrifice requires that we pay a greater price. Whether we are donating our treasure or our time, let us be as generous as we possibly are able. Remember that the Lord is never outdone in generosity to us.

      April 16 is Easter this year. This is the greatest day of the Church Year! If there were no Easter, there would be no Faith. Our Faith depends on Jesus’ Resurrection. Let us give appropriate attention to this “Feast of Feasts” - the Sunday of all Sundays!

Easter Mass should be a joyous celebration. Light overcomes darkness, eternal life overcomes death. A somber Lent is replaced by the happy Alleluias of Easter. Even the songs of Easter are filled with joy and confident hope in the Lord.

The earth itself joins in the Easter festivities by celebrating with buds on the trees, grass that becomes a velvety green, and lilacs and colorful flowers that are blossoming brightly. New life abounds in the spring and is striking all the more after the dull grays and browns of winter.

After the feasting and the egg hunts at Easter, spend some moments in quiet gratitude for the precious gift of our Faith. Reflect on your own Lenten sacrifices and also all the uncountable sacrifices that have been made throughout the ages that enable us celebrate Easter. Some have even sacrificed their very lives for the Faith. Recall that our Lord certainly did.

How blessed are we to be able to freely attend Mass whenever we wish without fear for our lives or the lives of our loved ones. This is not the case in some places of the world today, so be sure to offer sincere thanksgiving for such a tremendous gift.

From all of us at LEAVES to all in our dear LEAVES family, we wish you abundant blessings at Easter and always - Fr. Thomas Heier, C.M.M.

Food for Hungry Children

In July Archbishop Alex Thomas of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, sent us a report of the weather and economic conditions in that country, and they show that people there are poor and their children are hungry.  This is what was reported:

“The political and economic situation is not that good.  Due to the erratic rainfall pattern, many people in rural areas do not realize [enough] agricultural produce to sustain themselves.  The economic hardships have also taken their toll, affecting both rural and urban dwellers so much that some families have only one meal per day.  In order to nourish school pupils and sustain their attention span, the archbishop has obtained funds for supplementary feeding [of these children].”

At the end of August the archbishop wrote: “Our third and final school term for this year begins next week.  The food situation is quite bad.  The school feeding program has greatly helped the pupils to reach schools and concentrate on studies.”  The beneficiaries of this supplementary feeding program are the pupils in eight diocesan primary schools and one secondary school.

Your donations to this appeal have sustained the archbishop’s feeding program for several years already.  May God reward you for them.  The program continues year after year and needs financial support.  You may contribute to it again by sending your donation to LEAVES, PO Box 87, Dearborn, MI 48121-0087.  Mark the donation: HUNGRY CHILDREN.

Excerpted from “Our Family Album”:

LEAVES Article
Offers Inspiration

I have been a member of the LEAVES family for close to 35 years. In the past several days I have suffered from intense worry and deep depression about my youngest daughter, 29 years of age, afflicted with mental illness. With no means of support, other than her step-father and I, she fails to embrace daily habits (other than her medications) that can heal her (proper nutrition, exercise, wearing her CPap air mask at night, and faith in general). Although kind and intelligent, she can’t hold a meaningful job. Although she has other outlets, I am the mainstay of her emotional support, often answering her calls up to six times a day.

I was cleaning and came across my misplaced copy of the Mar-Apr 2016 issue of LEAVES. I found unexpected inspiration in the article “Seek God’s Mercy” with the advice to pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy in the morning and evening, especially for the dying. In that instant I realized that my fear that she will commit suicide means that she is dying inside. I recalled that my deceased sister who suffered from more severe mental illness seemed better when I prayed the Divine Mercy Chaplet for her.

I have placed my daughter in the care of the Divine Mercy, making her chaplet the first prayer of my day following my daily offering. And because she shuns my advice on daily habits and practice of faith, I leave it all to our Blessed Mother and Lord Jesus to bring her into the fullness of life. And I thank them.

The Prayer to the Holy Spirit from Cardinal Mercier also caught my eye. I have added this five-minute meditation and prayer to my daily regimen of prayer for the calming of my nerves, desperately desired healing and direction to understanding and submitting to God’s will.

I named my daughter Anne Marie after St. Anne and her daughter, the Blessed Virgin Mary. Please pray for success in getting social security disability benefits for her, as attempts in the past have failed. Please pray for those who live with mental disorders and for the families and friends who support them. Despite their behaviors, the mentally ill have so much love in their hearts but are hampered greatly by emotional grief and confusion.

My donation is in thanksgiving for the renewed inspiration that the Holy Spirit has provided through LEAVES magazine, and for the novena to St. Anne. May God’s Will be done in our lives - Diane.

Missing Items Returned

Our son lost a pouch that held his wallet, phone and all his keys, including those to his car. He travels for a living. We were praying to Ss. Anthony and Francis of Assisi, Bishop Sheen and Mother Luisita who founded the Carmelites in southern California. I sent an urgent call for prayers to Mariannhill. Two days later a man called and said he found them and our son could pick them up at a certain bar. Well, he went there and no one knew anything about it - the man who had called was no longer employed at that bar.

Two days later our son called again and said that legal action was being commenced. He then got a call back to pick up the pouch. Everything in it was intact! Thanks be to God, our Lady, Ven. Solanus Casey and Bl. Engelmar. Fr. Engelmar is going to be my “go-to” saint from now on - Ann E.

Excerpted from Blessed Engelmar Testimonies:

A Life of
Blessed Engelmar

There is now available a booklet of the life of Blessed Engelmar Unzeitig, C.M.M. You may receive a free copy of it by sending a stamped (postage for one ounce), self-addressed envelope to us at: LEAVES, P.O. Box 87, Dearborn, MI 48121-0087.

Fr. Engelmar is the very opposite of the spirit of vindictiveness and personal gratification that is so prevalent in our world and, yes, in the USA also. May he pray for all of us that God have mercy on our world and its inhabitants - A.C.

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My donation is in thanksgiving to St. Anthony for helping find keys and to Fr. Engelmar for helping my grandson find a job - C.Z.

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I am reporting two very special favors through the intercession of Fr. Engelmar that we received. The first favor was that our son, Samuel, brought up his grade point average to a C. Sam struggles with school and he is really trying to make a success of college. We are so thankful that he made Bs this past semester.

The second favor was for safety during a long trip with an old car for four young men who wanted a short break from college. One of those young men was my son. The weather was bad-a Colorado storm in January; however, they had a safe trip there and back.

I wish to add that I really like the novena prayers in honor of Fr. Engelmar. They are inclusive of all mankind in all circumstances, so as they make intercession for us, we intercede for all. Thank you - Mrs. S. R-T.

Fr. Engelmar’s Beatification Homily
By Right Rev. Friedhelm Hofmann
Bishop of Wuerzburg, Germany

Some days ago there was once again a powerful earthquake in central Italy. More than 290 people lost their lives. Immediately afterwards the oft-repeated complaint grew loud: “Where is God? How can the God who loves us stand by and watch such a catastrophe without stepping in to help?” Perhaps you too, dear sisters and brothers, have asked this question. In the first speechlessness in the face of such great suffering, an answer can hardly be formulated. 

Surprisingly the Milan newspaper Corriera della Sera did just that. Here is its answer: “He (God) is present in the new Guardian Angels, i.e. in all the volunteer helpers, in the fire fighters, in all the men and women of good will who became neighbors and who let themselves be guided not by the clock but by the heart. They are those who do not run away, but respond to the human cry of pain and desperation. He (God) is the answer of hope to fear, of faith to our weakness.”

In the face of the unimaginable suffering in the Nazi concentration camps, the question was asked and, now again especially, is being asked again and again: “Where was God?” I must admit that I too cannot avoid the question. But can we not point to the angels in Dachau, as the Milan newspaper did? We rightly speak of the “hell” of Dachau. Unimaginable suffering was inflicted on people there. But I remember the word of the recently deceased Msgr. Scheipers who survived his stay in this concentration camp and who was here in this cathedral on May 15, 2011, for the beatification of our Fr. George Haefner from Wuerzburg. He said, “God was also present in Dachau.”

Along with many others, 2,700 priests were imprisoned and tortured there. For this reason Cardinal Vincent Nichols, archbishop of Westminster, England, called Dachau the “largest monastery in the world” in his sermon on Feb. 2nd of this year. Fr. Engelmar was one of those 2,700 priests. He was just 30 years old and only two years a priest when he was imprisoned in this human hell, where the priests were herded into barracks just for them. Although they were allowed to say Mass, depending on the mood of their captors, they were all the more tortured and beaten to death.

May we not recognize here also the presence of God in our Fr. Unzeitig? As much as possible, he continued to pray and study in the concentration camp. In loyalty to the motto of the Mariannhill Missionaries, “If no one will go, I will,” he helped as unassumingly and effectively as possible. He learned Russian just so he could teach catechism to the young Russian prisoners in their own language. He gave up a portion of his already meager rations so he could help the young Russian prisoners who were even shorter on food then he.  

When a typhus epidemic broke out in 1945, he and 19 other priests were ready to go into the infected barracks and help the sick and dying. And he was ready to do this, although he most likely knew that he could catch the disease and thus was going to his own certain death. He nevertheless found the strength to do it and thus gave witness to the mercy of God.

He wrote to his sister from the camp: “Whatever we do, whatever we will, it is all simply grace that carries and leads us. God’s almighty grace helps us to overcome obstacles. Love doubles our strength, makes us inventive, satisfied and interiorly free. If people would only understand what God has prepared for those who love Him.”

Dear sisters and brothers, what can we recognize as exemplary for us in this new Blessed? 

Firstly, however desperate my own situation may seem, I, as a “new creation of God,” can give witness to the reality of heaven. Fr. Engelmar did not withdraw into himself but communicated with God in prayer and the celebration of Holy Mass and, as a consequence, was able to assist other suffering people. In fact, it is reported that sometimes he nearly missed roll call because he was deep in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. We stand today before the immense task of a re-evangelization of Europe. We can only be successful when we realize, i.e. make visible in prayer and action, the new creation granted to us in baptism.

Secondly, Fr. Engelmar kept his promise of readiness expressed in his Adsum at his ordination and he did this in a situation that humanly speaking should have broken him. Likewise as weekend assistant priest, he had concerned himself with French prisoners of war, just as he did with prisoners of the Dachau concentration camp. He had gotten involved where it could have cost him his life. How is it with us, when it comes time to keep our promise to God? I am thinking here not only of our promise in the Sacrament of Matrimony or Holy Orders, but also of our basic Christian attitude toward people who need our help now, e.g. refugees and displaced persons. Are we serious about the message of the Gospel even when we have to suffer some personal loss for it?

Thirdly, Fr. Engelmar joined the Mariannhill Missionaries because he wanted to go to the missions and plant the Faith in faraway lands. After his ordination to the priesthood on Aug. 6, 1939, shortly before the outbreak of World War II, he was able to work as a priest in Wuerzburg, Linz, and then as parish administrator in Gloeckelberg for only a short time. On Apr. 21, 1941, he was arrested and, after six weeks in jail in Linz, Austria, he was sent to the concentration camp in Dachau. Although his wish to go to the missions never materialized, he was not depressed. He realized that even here, “in this God-forsaken camp, where evil rules and we could easily believe that in our suffering we are deserted by God and the world,” as he himself wrote, he could still live his missionary vocation.

And we? Do not we above all have the possibility today to live our faith authentically, humbly and thereby effectively? We do not need to fear persecution, punishment or even execution. Cannot this glowing figure from a very dark time help us to the necessary understanding?

May the new Blessed, Fr. Engelmar Unzeitig, be a powerful intercessor and helper for us. His memorial day from now on will be Mar. 2nd. Amen. (Sep. 24, 2016)

Intercessory Prayer of
Blessed Engelmar

Jesus, with the help of Your Mother Mary, Blessed Engelmar Unzeitig’s faith grew stronger, his hope more sure and his love more ardent in the concentration camp of Dachau. He became an intercessor for his own country and for the entire world.

Hear our prayers and grant what we ask through Blessed Engelmar’s intercession, so that You may be glorified in Your martyrs and saints. We ask this in Your name and in the name of all the martyrs of the twentieth century.

Fr. Engelmar DVD

We have available a DVD of the life of Bl. Engelmar in English and Spanish. The 48-minute-long DVD is entitled “Stronger than Death: Father Engelmar Unzeitig.” It is a fine exposition of his holy life, the life of a modern-day martyr. It is a program you may want to share with others, for instance, your prayer group, Bible study group, RCIA group, parish men’s club or ladies’ altar society, or even your garden club!

We will be glad to send a DVD to you. Please specify how many copies you would like in your preferred language and your name and shipping address. The suggested donation for the DVD is $3.00, including shipping and handling. Please send your request to us at LEAVES, P.O. Box 87, Dearborn, MI 48121-0087. Those who wish to make a donation through our website using Pay Pal may contact us at www.mariannhill.us/leaves.html <http://www.mariannhill.us/leaves.html> with the previously mentioned information. Find the section entitled DVD available on the life of Fr. Engelmar Unzeitig, and follow the instructions given there.

Novena in Honor of
Abbot Francis Pfanner

Abbot Francis Pfanner founded Mariannhill Monastery, and 108 years ago its monks became the Congregation of Missionaries of Mariannhill. He was not only a great missionary, but also a holy man. The cause for his beatification has begun. We have available a novena in his honor and will send you a free copy of it when you send a stamped (postage for one ounce), self-addressed envelope to us at: LEAVES, P.O. Box 87, Dearborn, MI 48121-0087.

Chaplet of Divine Mercy

Sign of the Cross
Opening prayer (optional) - You expired, Jesus, but the source of life gushed forth for souls and the ocean of mercy opened up for the whole world. O Fount of Life, unfathomable Divine Mercy, envelop the whole world and empty Yourself out upon us.

O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fount of mercy for us, I trust in You! (3x)

The following prayers are said on the Marian Rosary beads: 1 Our Father, 1 Hail Mary, 1 Apostles Creed.

On the Our Father beads - Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.

On the Hail Mary beads - For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

Repeat for all five decades.

Conclusion - Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.  (3x)

Closing prayer (optional) - Eternal God, in whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us, that in difficult moments we might not despair nor become despondent, but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your holy will, which is Love and Mercy itself. Amen.

Prayer to St. Joseph

O St. Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God, I place in you all my interest and desires. 

O St. Joseph, do assist me by your powerful intercession, and obtain for me from your divine Son all spiritual blessings through Jesus Christ, our Lord. So that, having engaged here below your heavenly power, I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of Fathers. 

O St. Joseph, I never weary contemplating you and Jesus asleep in your arms; I dare not approach while He reposes near your heart. Press Him in my name and kiss His fine head for me and ask Him to return the kiss when I draw my dying breath. 

St. Joseph, Patron of departed souls, pray for me. 

(This prayer was found in the 50th year of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In 1505 it was sent from the Pope to Emperor Charles, when he was going into battle.) 

New Life
By Bernice Laux

Day became like darkest night.
The earth was filled with dread,
For Jesus in stillness of death
In Mary’s arms lay dead.

Jesus broke the chain of death
On that brilliant Easter morn,
For by His resurrection
New life for all was born.

And now our blindness gone,
Eternal life with Him we’ll know,
For as He arose, so will we,
For His resurrection has made it so.

He Washed Our Feet
By Kathleen Fessler

It was a special holy feast -
Passover meal was served -
When Jesus said He’d wash our feet,
And I became unnerved.

“That is a menial task,” I said;
“My feet you will not swab!
Our honored teacher and our Lord
Will do no servant’s job!”

But Jesus took a towel in hand
And wrapped it round His waist.
“Unless I wash your feet,” He said,
“With Me you’ll lose your place.”

“Then wash my head and hands!” I cried.
“Pour water on my feet!”
To all His wishes I complied,
The cleansing now complete.