Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The Go-To Saint for your Medical Needs

There’s a doctor-saint in heaven that has successfully interceded for several of my medical related intentions.  He promptly answered my request for finding a compassionate pediatrician, helped find treatment to mysterious symptoms, and even obtained a cure for our family.

            Born in Italy in 1880, Saint Giuseppe Moscati practiced medicine in the early twentieth century.  He was a well-loved and renowned “doctor of the poor” who treated poor patients pro bono and sent them home with a prescription and a fifty-lire note.  A brilliant scientist, his research led to the discovery of insulin as treatment for diabetes. He risked his own life by saving would-be victims of the volcanic eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. St. Giuseppe’s extraordinary holiness stemmed from his ardent love for daily Eucharist and devotion to Our Lady.   Aside from teaching science to his students, he taught and modeled spirituality.  To his colleagues, he summed up his lifelong understanding of the medical profession as a “sublime mission,” reminding them:

            “…suffering should be treated not as a twitch or a muscular contraction, but as the cry of a soul, to whom another brother, the doctor, runs with the ardent love of charity.”

            No wonder this saint responds to prayers with speed and compassion from his vantage point in eternal life!

            The book “St. Giuseppe Moscati, doctor of the poor”, written by Antonio Tripodoro, S.J. reveals more details about this saint to admire and emulate.  It contains significant testimonies evidencing his virtues of charity, humility, piety, knowledge, wisdom and chastity. Tripodoro also recounts the miraculous cures St. Giuseppe wrought through his intercession and collates the saints’ private writings, which bare the spiritual heights of his soul.  Most notable is St. Giuseppe’s advice unforgettable advice for workers in the medical field:
             “The sick are the faces of Jesus Christ.  May unfortunate wretches, delinquents and blasphemers come to be admitted to a hospital by an arrangement of the mercy of God, who wants them to be saved! In the hospitals, the mission of the nuns, the doctors and the nurses is to collaborate with this infinite mercy by their help, forgiveness and sacrifice.”

            “St. Giuseppe” is a fast and interesting read, factual more than spiritual or theological.  It is basically a condensation of the documents that were considered in the cause for his canonization. Though not as emotionally powerful as the biographical movie, it's still a thorough source on St. Giuseppe's life.

            I am enthusiastically passing along St. Giuseppe’s inspiring story to both patients and doctors among my family and friends.  The medical profession, and the sick and suffering world in general, needs more heroes like St. Giuseppe.  Anyone who learns about this saint will appreciate why his life story is relevant for contemporary times.  His legacy teaches us:
             “Life is an instant; honors, triumphs, riches and knowledge fail, before  the fulfillment of the cry of Genesis, the cry flung by God against guilty man: ‘You shall die!’ But life does not end with death, it continues in a better world…”

+AMDG+ This post is featured on Catholic Stand.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Organizing Social Media and Book Reviews You May Have Missed

        There are way too many social media accounts to suck up my time.  So I've decided to only use less than a handful to keep my online presence.  As with majority of the bloggers, I've moved snippets of the Hazard homestead to Instagram.  Aside from the fact that I enjoy photography (not just mamarazzi moments), Instagram is just an easier way to post and keep in touch.  So let's mingle over there if you want to peek at the Hazard behind the scenes and my attempt at photography.

          As for Facebook, I'll post important moments that family and friends will appreciate.  All my worthwhile post re-sharings will probably be over there. 

         The blog will host writings (spiritual reflections and devotions mostly), book updates, opinion and consolidate what I'm writing elsewhere. Though I've not updated here lately, I assure you (or threaten you), I still reflect and opine and this blog is not going away.

         The book reviews and more formal articles will still be on Catholic Stand.  Speaking of, here are the last four you probably missed:

1.  How to Be Holy by Peter Kreeft

2.  Chiara Corbello Petrillo's Love Story by Simone Troisi and Cristiana Paccini

3. We'll Never Tell Them by Fiorella de Maria   + Interview!

4. "The Gate"by Nancy Carabio Belanger + Interview!

       I don't see the value of periscope or Snapchat yet.  Twitter was in hospice when I first joined so I won't unecessarily prolong its life.  Anything else I need to know about or avoid?


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

What To Do When Pope Francis Trumpets Immigration ...and Aliens!

So the Media, Donald Trump, Pope Francis, Vladimir Putin, and opinionated Catholics walk into a cyber bar, and here’s how it went down:

MEDIA:  Mr. Putin, with the parliament’s recent dress code demand on the media, what do you think about requiring the Duma to wearing wigs like the British parliament and barristers did?

PRESIDENT PUTIN:  I’m not a fan of unnatural hairstyles.  Some people get away with it, but most hair pieces or implants make people look, what is the word...  alien?... no ODD, like an alien.


DONALD TRUMP:  That’s disgraceful! Next thing you know, Russia will be insulting the Scottish tradition of wearing kilts.  If I become president, I’m going to patrol nuclear ships around Russia, and let Russia pay for it.  Who’s with me? England? Scotland?

MEDIA:  Oooh its Pope Francis! Pope Francis, do you think it’s abnormal for men to wear wigs or kilts?

POPE FRANCIS:  I think it’s a lovely tradition in certain English and Scottish customs. Tradition is very important and we should respect that.  Jesus himself, and his apostles, wore long hair and a robe, which you could say is like a dress. Many fine priests still wear the cassock today.


VATICAN: The Pope did not say that.  He said certain traditions should be respected.

TRADITIONAL CATHOLICS: What about the tradition of our pontiff wearing red shoes? Can we talk about that?

CONSERVATIVE AMERICANS:  Wait. Did the Pope just condone illegal immigrants who disrespect not mere traditions,  but disregard US immigration laws?

LIBERAL CATHOLICS: Woohoo! Women can become priests.

LIBERAL AMERICANS: The borders should be open. All aliens welcome!


St. Joseph asleep, dreaming and receiving instructions to take Mary and Jesus and flee to become refugees

            With the cacophony of opinions clashing on the Donald Trump-Pope Francis cyber conversation, another voice is hardly necessary.  But since I haven’t read too many immigrants or immigration lawyers voices in the Catholic blogosphere, I won’t hesitate to regale you with my take away from the controversy.

            The broiling issue of immigration is one to which I am convicted and affected.  Like most aliens (before the days of political correctness, that’s what immigrants were called.), I moved to the United States with a dream.  I entered with proper documents and waited my turn at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service. As did your ancestors and my children's paternal ancestors.

            When I recall skimming my hands down the list of last names of arriving passengers at Ellis Island, I remember the American immigrant saints like St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, St. Francis Cabrini and Blessed Francis Seelos.  They must empathize with the unique experience of living as a stranger between two cultures, becoming a missionary for the Church, and laboring toward a shared dream.

             I am profoundly grateful America took me in.  The more I learn about American history, the more I marvel at the great and noble men who shaped this country and praise God who blessed it abundantly.

             During the years I practiced, I met countless of immigrants who crossed the border illegally.  The situation in their countries of origin is unlike my sheltered middle-class background. Theirs is far from ideal, which explains why they risked lives in crossing the deserts of Nogales or Tijuana, entrusting their future to “coyotes”.  Toilet-less huts without running water, sleeping on dirt floors, neighborhood armed conflict, rebel and drug wars uncontrolled by local police, religious and political persecution, war-torn refugee camps, sex slavery are some real life testimonies I’ve heard.  They hoped a life of toil in America, harvesting potatoes, constructing high rises, driving school buses, cleaning apartments, bussing tables, teaching in classrooms or nursing patients, would secure their children’s future.

            If you heard their before and after stories like I did, you might have gotten emotional when Pope Francis emphasized during his last visit in his address to Congress, “We must not be taken aback by the [refugees] numbers, but rather view them as persons, seeing their faces and listening to their stories, trying to respond as best we can to their situation.” I felt the same surge of emotion when a client hugged me after processing an inter-country adoption and a naturalization ceremony.

            The Catholic Social Teaching on immigration encourages us to welcome the stranger among us, “for in this encounter with the immigrant and the refugee in our midst, we encounter Christ.”  Among the five principles outlined from the teachings, two key polarizing principles surface:

             “When persons cannot find employment in their country of origin to support themselves and their families, they have a right to find work elsewhere in order to survive… The Church recognizes the right of sovereign nations to control their territories but rejects such control when it is exerted merely for the purpose of acquiring additional wealth.”

            Seeing Jesus in the innocent immigrant, migrant or refugee was one of the better moments of my career.   Admittedly, it was not always easy to recognize Jesus in disguise.   There were a handful of foreign-born individuals (the PC term for aliens) who were inadmissible or deportable by law.  Under U.S. Code Sec 1182, an immigrant must not have been convicted with essential elements of a crime of moral turpitude, or other degrees of involvement in money laundering, violation of a drug laws, prostitution, human trafficking offenses, terrorist activities, and other crimes that Mr. Donald Trump rightly believes make an immigrant a questionably upstanding member of society.  

            As with all laws, current immigration laws can stand to be tweaked and improvised.  The details of those I will leave to the American immigration lawyers association to recommend and for Congress to debate.  I don’t have all the solutions and I am not a politician called to implement policies.  But I strive to do three things from where I am as a Catholic trying to live out my religion and politics in an imperfect world. So can you:

            First, read and react responsibly.  This means never taking the secular media news about Pope Francis at face value.  Research on reliable sources, wait for full facts to emerge and place so-called quotes within the proper context before reacting.  Educate or re-educate yourself on the actual Church teaching at issue in question. Understanding the Church’s position on immigration concerns the plight of developing countries and the God-given right of all people to “to conditions worthy of human life and if these conditions are not present, the right to migrate.” (Exsul Familia).  In the encyclical Pacem in Terris, St. Pope John Paul II wrote, “When there are just reasons for it, [human beings] have the right to emigrate to other countries.” Immigration can be reconciled with the right of nations to protect its citizens from harm and provided that “the public wealth does not forbid this.”  Discuss the issues (not the personalities) with kindness.

            Two, be welcoming to immigrants as the Church challenges you.  Scripture says, “You must be merciful to the alien for you were strangers yourselves. (Deut 10:19)” Reach out to the cultural minorities in your parish or workplace.  Who doesn’t ever appreciate a welcome mat extended?  Listen to our stories, sample our culture and teach us some of yours.  We'll both be richer from building bridges; its almost like traveling minus the airfare.

            Three, be charitable to citizens of developing countries. Factor into your budget donations to grassroots organizations for developing countries. Forego getting that brand new RV or boat or cut your wardrobe size to half. You don’t have to get the latest i-phone or flat screen TV. Consuming less means more sacrifices, but freeing up your resources to share.   Five dollars goes a long way in Haiti.   If you and I helped needy people in developing countries more, they won’t need to cross the border.  They will be free to dream big dreams in their homeland.

            Its for good reason that the Old and New Testament make special mention to be merciful and befriend the "stranger."  The Isrealites were "aliens"  Jesus was a refugee, so its not a far stretch to grasp Our Lord's teaching, “Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, you do it to me.”

Friday, February 05, 2016

Kiss Those Chocolates Goodbye and Other Lent Ideas

Lent is closing in and the Hazard homestead is gearing up.  What’s in store for us this year can be broken down in seven well-laid plans:  (Joining  Kelly for seven quicktakes today)

Have you tried the kisses truffles?  You should, but do it after Lent.
1.  Fasting and Abstinence.  Lent is, of course, the season to give up unhealthy attachments and learn detachment.  On top of the required fasting and abstinence days, my family wrote a list of things we are giving up for Lent which include: desert, video games, non-saint movies and social media. 

 Each Lent, our pastor also makes an emphasis to challenge us to do more for our spiritual life during this season.  Our family to-do list is lengthy and varied in case we fail at some of our goals.  

2.   Jar of Sacraments.   For every Sacrament or devotion  (such as Eucharistic Adoration, Divine Mercy or Station of the Cross) the kids can secure a jewel in their jar.

Repurposed condiment jar with burlap and twine
 (Slits will be added at the last minute to prevent undue pre emptive jewel dropping) 
3. Work of Mercy. To drum up publicity for the year of mercy, we plan to visit doors of mercy more often and perform a work of mercy for the souls in purgatory.  The kids are also learning that the corporal works of mercy (feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, etc.) can be performed for their (less fortunate) family members. 

4.   New prayers.  We’re ambitiously learning three prayers this year: Prayer before Crucifix, Memorare and Angelus.  The prayer before the crucifix is in our pieta book and the Catholic Prayers which we tote around during Lent so that we can earn a plenary indulgence. The Marian prayers, framed in the homeschool wall, will be prayed after the school day is over.   

These prayers and pictures are from the 2016 calendar of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Concepcion
You can frame the free printables from

5. Crown of Thorns Dough.  The children love this craft of baking salty dough into a crown of thorns, so we’ve been keeping it annually.  For every good deed they do, they get to take out a thorn from Jesus’ head.

6. Lenten Read –The BIS Lenten workbook was my big plan but since that sold out quicker than I could say “Mine!” I’ve conceded that maybe the Holy Spirit has other plans, so I clicked over to Kelly’s list of recommended reading, and our parish lending library, said a short prayer and picked two:


7.  Virtue.  A few Lenten seasons ago, during a parish mission, the fathers of mercy supplied us with a list of virtues juxtaposed to their corresponding vices.  Using that infographic, I'm trying to recall which capital sins I struggle with (those that come up in the confessional regularly) and practice a certain virtue for Lent.   Sloth is my shame and industry is my attempted virtue (more on that later).

I hope you have a blessed Lent!


Thursday, January 14, 2016

The Piano Donor, Near Death and Other Odds and Ends

Did the New year just arrive without a word from me?  My bad. But now that the Christmas decor has been boxed up and ordinary time has begun,  let me share what's been going on of note via 7QT and HPFR link up.  (Thank you for hosting Auntie Leila and Kelly.)

1. My beloved grandmother passed away on the Feast of the Baptism, so before the sun set, I made sure to cross the holy doors of the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament.  The holy doors of mercy, in case you haven't heard from the Catholic sites which I'm sure you subscribe to, is a special privilege granted by Pope Francis in this year of mercy.  Normally reserved for four doors in the Vatican, Pope Francis gave authority to the dioceses around the world to designate a holy door for a plenary indulgence (under the usual conditions- read more here.)

{Happy to do this and the 9 day Mass novena for my grandma}

2.  Did I ever tell you the story of the piano donor?  Last year, while the older girls attended Little Flower class, my youngest and I went to Eucharistic Adoration.  This sweet elderly couple got to know my youngest and decided to donate their piano to her when they downsized.  I've long been wishing for one in our home though never said anything about it, so I'm firmly convinced when we adore Jesus, He hears those silent wishes of our heart, just as much as He hears all those fervent prayers.  Amiright?

3.  Since receiving the piano, it's been overplayed but the decor around it was neglected until a few days ago when I decided to put together a (kind of) gallery wall/piano mantel.  And on top of it is the fitting sign: Praise God from whom all blessings flow! 
(Pretty if I do say so myself) I call it the farmhouse meets coastal religious theme.

4.  On the homeschool front, I heard the 8 year old, "Mom, how do you spell amphibians?"  The kindergartener answered, "Here, I'll show you..."


5.  I found another near death experience worth reading.    Strong caution: it contains adult material, and the person was heavily involved in the occult and new age. But during her illumination of conscience, she hears Our Lady say, " Your life is mine." 

       ... At that moment I understood that the most Blessed Virgin Mary wanted me to consecrate my entire life to her and serve her. To have me fully at her service, she asked me to remain simple, to ignore myself and to be sober in all things. The Blessed Virgin loves humility. She also made me know that she would always be my intercessor near God. When we pray to her and serve her, the Virgin Mary is always grateful.

6.  I said I would write book reviews, so here's the first one I wrote for Catholic Stand.  

{Real} A book too distressingly real for me.

7.   I have more book reviews and author interviews lined up, I can hardly contain my excitement "meeting" all these Catholic writers!  So stay tuned, and if you're visiting from the link ups, I hope to see you again.