When I presented Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI with his 90th Birthday Di Clara vestments.

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“To have Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI hold your hand and thank you, and describe your vestments as “…wonderful, beautiful…” is something I never dreamed could happen 18 months ago when I started my vestments business – Di Clara.”…Read more here: https://www.diclara.co.uk/blogs/news/when-i-presented-pope-emeritus-benedict-xvi-with-his-90th-birthday-di-clara-vestments

Papal Envoy Archbishop Henryk Hoser invites us to “…sign up for some of the seminars here in Medjugorje so that you would be able to discover something that you wouldn’t be able to dream about.”

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Archbishop Henryk Hoser – Papal Envoy to Medugorje.

Yesterday I watched a very positive press conference from Medjugorije given by Papal Envoy to Medjugorje, Archbishop Henryk Hoser.

Archbishop Hoser is not there to comment on the authenticity of the apparitions. His role in the investigative commission is to focus more on the pastoral side of things.

First of all he spoke about the pastoral Initiatives now and for the future to tend to the needs of the many pilgrims who come and will be coming to Medjugorje. He spoke of the many “positive fruits” that have come, and continue to come from Medjugorje.

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St James’ Church in Medjugorje.

“Not long ago, Medjugorje was not very well known.  It was just a little place between two hills which is the meaning of the name “Medjugorje”. Today, Medjugorje is know throughout the whole world. Pilgrims are now coming from about 80 countries from all over the world.   The significance of this place we can compare to Lourdes.  2.5 million pilgrims are coming here, in Lourdes there is 6 million people who come but that has been here for 150 and Medjugorje only 36 years.  It is a time to make a first estimate and for the future growing of this place.  Why so many people coming here?   On one hand they have surely heard about the apparitions in Medjugorje taking place since 1981 on the other hand, those others who are coming are experiencing something extraordinary.”

“First, the atmosphere is an atmosphere of peace and reconciliation, and of inner peace and peace of the heart.  Also what they discover is a huge space for profound religion and spirituality.  They rediscover or discover what something sacred and Holy means.”

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Priests line the front of the crowd during Medjugorje youth festival.

“In Medjugorje they encounter sacred time and sacred space.  That sacred means specially reserved for something that is divine.  Usually it says that Medjugorje is the place where we honor our lady and that is the truth.  But if we look deeper we will see that actually it is all completely turned to worshiping Christ.   For instance at the center is the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, transmitting of the word of God, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, where one discovers the real presence of Jesus Christ and his Divinity and Character.”

“Some discover the prayer of the Rosary that is meditative prayer on the mysteries of our faith.  And when they pray the way of the Cross they enter into the pascal mystery which is the mystery of passion death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

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People queue for the Sacrament of Confession in some of the 61 confessionals in Medjugorje. The queues are regulary 10-15 people deep.

 

“I would like to conclude this with a question of the Holy Sacrament of Confession with the personal and personalized Sacrament.  From the religious perspective, Medjugorje is a very fertile ground.  During the pervious years we noticed and counted 610 priests with vocations that came from medjugorje with the greatest number from Italy, the US and Germany.  When we are aware of crises of Vocations in those countries then we can see that there is something new, something that can touch us in a profound way.  If we look at the distribution of Holy communion, which is the only way we can keep track of the number of pilgrims arriving here, then we can see there were were 37,000,000 Holy Communions that were administered  pilgrims here since 1986 to today.  And we can say that the number of pilgrims is greater because not that all those who come can receive Holy Communion.”

“When it comes to evaluating events in Medjugorje we should differentiate different areas.  The first area is the parish.  The parish takes care of people who live here people who work here and parish is already and then the number of those living in the parish has increased.”

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Confession in Medjugorje.

“The parish in the previous century that built the way of the Cross on Cross Mountain was the parish that accepted Medjugorje.  The story of the parish of Medjugorje that was written is also the phenomenon of the visionaries.”

“The second belongs to the pilgrims.  Up to 2.5 each year that come and that number is also growing.  Of course it is a huge challenge for priests who serve here and this phenomenon has grown to include  the current infrastructure that needs to respond to the increase in pilgrims.”

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Crowds often exceed 10,000 during outdoor Adoration in the summer months.

“The Chapel of Adoration, and the huge space in the back of the church was all added in time according to the amount of pilgrims that were coming here.  On the other hand we see the development of this place. There are more and more hotels, and shops that reminds me a lot of Lourdes already.  It might not be widely known but Lourdes is the largest hotel town after Paris. Maybe that is the future of Medjugorje in relation to Sarajevo.”

“The population is growing and what else is growing is the possibility of accommodating pilgrims.”

“The third area,  In Medjugorje there are various humanitarian organizations and there are about 30 of them. Some are from Medjugorje with their roots here and some who have been founded other places who live here so that they could live the Phenomenon of Medjugorje.”

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Sr. Elvira who founded the Cenacalo – a place where young men and woman can come to recover from drug addiction and prostitution and rebuild their lives based on Rosary and Eucharist.

“There have been things that were created here that were initiated from Franciscans like Mother’s village.  It is worth visiting because it is about watching someone’s life in those difficult faces with orphans who have difficulties, addicts, men who are there because of drugs, because of alcohol and those who are disabled.”

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Medjugorje international seminar for Priests.

“That is an expression of an act of love that is related to the faith.   There is another thing that is very important and that is Domus Paces which  is the house for silent retreat and spiritual exercises.  We have more than 1000 to 2000 groups that have passed and more that 42,000 participants over these years.  Those type of spiritual exercises transform people from the inside.  And the seminars are yet another fruit of the Parish of Medjugorje.  The seminars that are held each year and take place once a year already for 23 years  are seminars that are open to everyone. And for 22 years it is exclusively for the formation of priests. For 17 years there is the seminar for married couples and for 4 years seminars for Doctors and medical professionals. Last year first year we had pro-life seminar that was organized for the protection of human life.  And there is one for those with disabilities.”

“I would like to recommend to you to sign up for some of the seminars here in Medjugorje so that you would be able to discover something that you wouldn’t be able to dream about.”

Please visit http://marytv.tv/ to see the full press conference.

For pilgrimages please visit http://www.nationalmedjugorjemovement.com/

The first time I wore a mantilla…

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Rhoslyn Thomas wears a Di Clara Aubergine Mini Mantilla.

By Rhoslyn Thomas.

The first time it ever occurred to me that I might like to veil, I was 21 and walking home from Mass. I admitted to my friend that I was having thoughts about wearing a mantilla. We both laughed: What was happening to me?! This wasn’t ‘me’ at all. But we had both changed a lot in that last year and we were slowly getting used to the idea of letting God take the reins in our lives.

A few weeks later, I was living about 60km outside of Rome and attending, almost daily, an Old Rite Mass celebrated by the FSSP. I wanted so much to cover my head in Mass, not because anyone ever pressured me, but because I thought it was a beautiful gesture. However, I was very nervous and self-conscious.

Someone had once mentioned veiling to me on pilgrimage. She told me that our hair is our glory and that by covering it, we honor God while we are in His presence, i.e. in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. I am ashamed to say that, before this short conversation, I actually thought that women who wore veils were a bit oppressed! As I began to become interested in veiling, I very quickly realized that this assumption could not be further from the truth (if only I could have seen myself now, how I would have laughed!).

The first time I finally worked up the courage to cover my hair during Mass, I was absolutely terrified. I wanted to do it so much, but in my mind I felt everyone was watching me. I sat at the back of the church in Santissima Trinita dei Pellegrini in central Rome and tried to forget all my worries.

I actually felt different when I was wearing it. In a very short time, my mantilla came to be a great help to me in concentrating on the Mass and in helping me to differentiate between the outside world and God’s house, where the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass would take place and where I am in the presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist.

At home, the reaction to my mantilla is almost always overwhelmingly positive. People just realize somehow that it is a very beautiful reverent thing to do in a sacred place. Now it is second nature to me and I would not be without my veil.

For those who are just starting out with veiling, a mini-mantilla might just be the thing for you. It is not as big as a full size mantilla and is also really practical if you are dealing with young kids at Mass. I have promised myself an early Christmas present of a purple one I can wear during Advent!

Until you veil, it’s hard to describe what it will do for you. The best way to find out would be to just try it! If you are feeling nervous then just start wearing it at home while you pray, then you might want to wear it at adoration, and before you know it you will have the desire to wear it every time you step into the church!

Before long, you’ll come to see how much more a veil will be to you than just a piece of material.

For a full range of mantilla veils, I would recommend www.diclara.co.uk who offer flat rate shipping worldwide.

Today I put my wedding rings back on.

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Today I put my wedding rings back on.
I took them off about 15 years ago when the grudge started.

The grudge was because I expected my husband to fulfil my every need. I had idolised him. I put him in the place of God.

My husband was my knight in shining armour when we got married, and I placed this insurmountable burden on him without even realising.

The fact is that I was expecting him to fulfill the parts of me that only God can fulfil. I had placed my husband above God. And because he couldn’t fulfill the God shaped hole in my heart, I unconsciously started to hold a very low level, almost unnoticeable grudge. Subconsciously I must have always been thinking “What am I getting out of this?” rather than “”What can I give to this marriage?”

Over the next 15 years this grudge effected my relationship with God because, without realising, I was not putting Him in the first place in my life. I was not recognising God as provider. I always felt this terrible separation from God, but I didn’t know why.

When my husband became ill 3 years ago, my earthly provider stopped being able to provide. And because I had put him in the place of God, I had no where to turn.

The fear I felt in those years is something only an atheist would understand. I couldn’t feel God near me, and I had no idea it was my own doing.

A few weeks ago it reached crunch point. I had already reconciled that I couldn’t leave, but I felt I couldn’t stay either. Who would provide for me?

It was after reading the ‘Healing of Families’ book that I realised I had been harboring this grudge, and that my relationship with my husband and with God was out of sync. I took all that to confession, along with a few other things.

I felt the fear lift. I felt the grudge go. I felt my relationship with God fall back into place. And I felt free to love my husband – agape Love, unconditional love, for the first time ever in our marriage.

He asked me “Why have you decided to do this now? I can’t provide anything for you right now.”
I told him “This is the perfect time, the FIRST time I have ever been able to love you unconditionally.” 😊

I now recognise God as provider, and the love in my relationship with God, and with my husband has grown immensely. I am now free to love. And my husband is free from the burden of being put in the place of God.

Sr. Lucia Fatima Miracle needed for 4 year old girl – Please Pray!

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This year is the 100th anniversary of the Fatima apparitions. And today, February 13th is the anniversary of the death of the Carmelite nun, Sr. Lucia of Fatima.

It seems fitting that today should be the day we begin praying for her intercession for a a sweet 4 year old girl named Christina Thomas. Last week, Christina was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. The doctors have said there is nothing they can do.

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4 year old Christina Thomas

We need a miracle. Christina’s father – Kenny is a secular Carmelite, like myself, and we both have a great devotion to Fatima. We have informed Kenny’s Bishop that we will ONLY be asking for the intercession of Sr. Lucia, as this is very important in the beatification process.

Please join us in begging for the intercession of Sr. Lucia for little Christina. We want a complete and total healing for Christina and a miracle for the beatification for Sr. Lucia. Please share this post as much as possible and please feel free to use it on your own blog or Catholic publication.

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Sr. Lucia of Fatima

Prayer for the Beatification of the Servant of God Sister Lucia

Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore you profoundly and I thank you for the Apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Fatima, that revealed to the world the riches of her Immaculate Heart. By the infinite merits of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and through the intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I implore You, if it should be for Your greater glory and the good of our souls, to glorify Sr. Lucy, one of the Shepherds of Fatima, by granting us the grace which we implore through her intercession (the total healing of 4 year old Christina Thomas from a terminal brain tumor).

Amen.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be.

With Ecclesiastical approval

Bishops making Catholicism more like Protestantism and Islam.

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Here we see the wonderful Bishop Egan of Portsmouth Diocese UK strongly trying to defend the Catholic Church from falling into chaos.

The issue – if you didn’t already know – is that some Bishops are calling for the divorced and re-married to be able to receive Holy Communion. This of course can never happen because a Catholic marriage is valid unto death do us part – unless an annulment is granted.

“Easy” you might say – “The Pope would never allow that to happen!”

Well, officially the Pope has not actually come out in favor of it, but he has also refused to come out and denounce it – despite several high ranking Cardinals and Bishops pleading with him to do so. This leaves the church in a very vulnerable position.

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The strength of the Catholic Church comes from it’s unbroken line of authority. Jesus made Peter the first Pope, and the authority has remained in place for over 200 years. We have the Magesterium – the hierarchy of the Church that keeps belief and teaching centralized and universal. This means that every Catholic, anywhere on earth, will be under the same authority and believe the same thing.

The word ‘Catholic’ means ‘Universal’, and it is this structure of our religion that gives us great strength. We are not at liberty to interpret the scriptures as we please – no, the interpretation has been handed down to us through an unbroken line of Faith, Reason, Scripture and Tradition. You only have to take a look at Protestantism and Islam to see how important this central authority is.

images-2106The Protestant church does not have Tradition as the Catholic church does, but instead allows for personal interpretation of scripture. This allows the individual to take a piece of scripture, and make it fit their wants and needs. It is this personal interpretation that has given rise, amoungst other things, to women priests and the support of active homosexual relationships, which have torn congregations in two in many protestant parishes.

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This freedom of interpretation is also seen within Islam. Like Protestantism, Islam has no central hierarchy, no central interpretation of the holy texts. Within Islam, any man can declare himself an Imam, set up his own Mosque, and effectively declare himself his own Pope. This is why you could have a Mosque at one end of your road full of perfectly nice and peaceful Muslims who ignore the parts of the Qu’ran that say ‘Kill the infidels!’, and a Mosque at the other end of the road in which they stick to the text quite literally and want you dead!

Within both Protestantism and Islam, this ‘freedom’ to interpret the holy texts as one wishes has only led to division, and is the cause of great weakness within the religions.

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Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta

Recently in Malta, the Bishops have taken advantage of the Pope’s silence on the matter of Communion for the divorced and re-married and has made the decision to ALLOW those in a state of adultery to receive Communion based on their own interpretation of whether they feel at peace or not with God.

“a separated or divorced person who is living in a new relationship manages, with an informed and enlightened conscience, to acknowledge and believe that he or she are [sic] at peace with God, he or she cannot be precluded from participating in the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist”. – Bishops of Malta.

This puts the average priest in an impossible situation:

Does he obey his Bishop and administer Communion to those in adulterous relationships?

Or does he obey Rome where the teaching still stands that to do so would be mortal sin?

Should the priest have to go against his conscience – and crucially, the central teaching of the Catholic Church, to remain in line with His Bishop? Would he be at fault if he didn’t? Do the Bishops of Malta not see that this is going to divide the Church and make it weak?

The Magisterium of the Church clearly states that:

85 “The task of giving an authentic interpretation of the Word of God, whether in its written form or in the form of Tradition, has been entrusted to the living teaching office of the Church alone. Its authority in this matter is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ.” This means that the task of interpretation has been entrusted to the bishops in communion with the successor of Peter, the Bishop of Rome. 86 “Yet this Magisterium is not superior to the Word of God, but is its servant. It teaches only what has been handed on to it. At the divine command and with the help of the Holy Spirit, it listens to this devotedly, guards it with dedication and expounds it faithfully. All that it proposes for belief as being divinely revealed is drawn from this single deposit of faith.”

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Of course the obviously simple solution to this is for Pope Francis to stand up and clearly re-state the central teaching on Communion for the divorced and re-married.

Why, oh why is he just sitting on the fence, enabling this confusion to continue and causing enormous anxiety to his good and faithful priests?

 

Crowdfunding for Priests/Seminarians and Pope Benedict’s 90th Birthday vestments – Very Exciting!!

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A representation of the back piece of the chasuble including the embroidery and Papal shield at the base.

Di Clara’s main aim is to help restore beauty to the liturgy. It also enables me to provide for my family at the same time. I absolutely love my job! It is such an honour to know that the sacred garments I am making will be used during Mass. I love getting to know and working with priests and seminarians, and also with their families and sponsors/benefactors.

My latest project is something very exciting. I have decided to launch Crowdfunding through Di Clara to help Seminarians, Priests and Parishes fundraise for their chosen vestments. So many people come to me wanting to bring beauty back to the liturgy through beautiful vestments, altar frontals etc. but are unable to commit to a large one off payment. So I decided to offer a solution to this problem by opening up the cost to those who are financially blessed and wish support them.

If you are interested in starting your own Di Clara Crowdfunding campaign just contact me at crowdfunding@diclara.co.uk and I will be able to set up your very own page that you can share on social media.

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A graphic of the embroidery design I created from the statue of Our Lady of Altötting.

The first project to be launched using Di Clara Crowdfunding will be a very special 5 piece set of Roman vestments to be made for  Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in celebration of his 90th Birthday in April 2017. It will be a Roman 5 piece set including Chasuble, Stole, Maniple, Chalice Veil and Burse.

I have taken the design from the statue of Our Lady of Altötting – a personal favourite of Pope Benedict. His Papal coat of arms will sit at the base of the Chasuble. The design will be hand embellished with semi-precious stones including fresh water pearls and garnet. I will also be adding some raised gold work where appropriate. This really is going to be a one-off amazing project.

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Our Lady of Altötting.

And YOU can be part of this! Depending on the amount you wish to donate, your name and thank you message to the Holy Father will be embroidered into the lining of the chasuble, forever being encapsulated into his 90th Birthday celebrations.

Please come and be part of this historic celebration HERE and help us thank this great man for all he has done for God’s Holy Catholic Church!

Clare x

www.diclara.co.uk

UFO spotted above Vatican.

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In a statement issued by the Vatican head of Cosmology, Ukrainian born Fr Ima Sceptic described the recent UFO sighting above the Vatican as “Out of this world.”

Fr. Sceptic has spent the last 30 years heading a team of nerdy clergy known affectionately within Vatican circles  as ‘The Geek Squad’. They can be easily recognised by the sticky plaster that holds the bridge of their reading glasses together, and their rigidity in terms of liturgy.

“When this was first reported we thought it was just another hoax” explained Fr. Sceptic. “It was a very windy day. We rushed to the window and at that very moment witnessed a small black spacecraft floating on the breeze. It went right passed our window! We saw it with our own eyes!”

Fr Sceptic’s account can be verified by his assistant, American born Fr. Al Ien.

“He’s right” said Fr. Al Ien “It was about  40-50cm wide at the brim and looked like it was made out of something like Beaver fur.”

When told about the sighting, Pope Francis reportedly said that the Geek Squad are “notorious” for their “fake news” and that they should stop being so nerdy and rigid and  “get with the programme”.

The Holy Father continued “I’m not saying there aren’t such things as aliens, I’m just not saying there are. If you want to believe in aliens then fine. If you don’t want to believe, then fine. Makes no difference to me. Do whatever makes you feel happy.”

Fr Sceptic thanked the Holy Father for his leadership on this issue and has duly filed the incident under the “Lacking Clear Explanation” file in the Vatican vault.

In other news…

There has been an unprecedented rise in sales of the famous Saturno hat worn by clergy in Rome this week.

Sales staff have advised priests not to wear the wide brimmed hat on very windy days due to an increase in fake UFO sightings this month.

Surviving Advent as a Sinner.

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Cute little baby Jesus, Christmas trees and family gatherings are all the kind of things that give us the warm fuzzies around Advent and Christmas.

The over sentimentality and uber perfectness of TV adverts, and watching your own beautiful children in the school nativity play is enough to make even the most hardened of us cower at the fearful power of purity and innocence.

It is this purity, innocence and stillness of the nativity that, as a sinner, I can find very difficult to deal with. I am aware of my own sin – all too well this year. I am aware of my human weaknesses and can only bury my head in my hands during prayer right now and beg for God’s mercy.

Who the heck can possibly be expected to celebrate the Incarnation when they are suffering from porn addiction, having an affair, a same sex relationship or recovering from an abortion? Well, I’ll tell you who – all of us. We are all sinners. We are all in desperate need of a saviour. And if you think for some reason you do not need to fall on your face at the foot of the manger and beg for mercy from that tiny baby boy, then you have a serious pride problem.

During Advent we are all called to pray and fast to prepare our hearts for the coming of our saviour. I would suggest giving up something like 1 cup of coffee or 1 cigarette per day. No more than that. Tiny steps. It is not about willpower and it is not about discipline – it is about love. Offer it with the entirety of your heart. Give it to Jesus out of pure love and gratitude for His love.

If you can give up one tiny thing per day, and give it with your whole heart, I guarantee this will be the most life transforming Advent you will ever have.

Prayer, tiny fasting, and of course confession. This is the way for a sinner not just to to survive Advent, but to emerge out the other side as a new creature in Christ.

Let’s do this together.