Saturday, February 27, 2016

Feast of St. Gabriel Possenti Range Day

February 27 is the Feast Day of the Patron Saint of Handgunners, so what better reason for a trip to the range? This morning six of us gathered to enjoy some shooting fun.

The thermometer read 27° when Colleen and I arrived, found one of our group already there. He was wisely sitting in his car enjoying his coffee. We quickly set up our targets and loaded magazines and began enjoying ourselves. After the first round of shooting, more folks arrived as we were trying to warm our hands. Soon we had a full line of shooters sending rounds downrange. The sounds of freedom were ringing loud.

Besides shooting, we enjoyed fun banter and conversation on age, politics and the Church. After around an hour and half of shooting, most of us were out of ammo so we reluctantly packed up to leave. Of course, it was about that time the side of the bay I was standing on finally saw some warming sun. At least it made the brass easier to find.

It was a fun morning with like-minded folk. I should do some research on other Saints with associations with firearms for future outings — a Saint whose Feast Day in during the warmer months would be ideal.


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Blessed José Sánchez del Río

[Cross-posted from Musings Over a Pint]

Today, February 10, is the anniversary of the martyrdom of Blessed José Sánchez del Río. On this date in 1928, this 14 year old boy was killed for refusing to renounce his Catholic faith during the Cristero War. The story of this period of Catholic persecution led by Mexican President Calles was told in the movie "For Greater Glory".

After José was captured by government forces, he was forced to witness the torture and execution of fellow Catholics, yet he never wavered in his resolve. He was himself was tortured and urged to shout "Death to Christ the King" with the promise his suffering would be over. On the day of his torturous execution, the soldiers cut the soles of his feet and he was made to walk barefooted to the grave they had dug for him. He was repeatedly stabbed with bayonets as he made his way to the place of his martyrdom.

Even after he had been shot he continued to cry out "Viva Cristo Rey!" ("Long live Christ the King!") The commander of the soldiers was so furious that he was able to resist the government barbarism, he finally shot the boy in the head. As he died he is said to have drawn a cross on the ground with his own blood. Blessed José Sánchez del Río was beatified by Pope Benedict XVI on November 20, 2005.

During the Cristeros War many Catholics were killed by the Mexican government for their faith. This tragic part of recent history is pointedly ignored by the history books in both the United States and Mexico. It is a story that needs to be told and learned by all free people. The people of the United States shared in the tragedy, as our own government supplied both arms and air support for the Federales in their battles with the Catholic faithful.

As the attacks on the Church increase in the United States, with the aggression led by our own government, we would do well to remember the resolve of this strong young man, and pray that we too will remain faithful through whatever trials await us.

Blessed José Sánchez del Río, Pray For Us!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Gabriel Possenti Shooters

A wet morning didn't dampen the fun when local Catholic shooting enthusiasts got together at the range on the morning after Christmas. The "Gabriel Possenti Shooters" annual gathering included a few hours on the pistol range shooting at paper and clay targets, follow by more fun on the rifle range. 

See "Gabriel Possenti Shooters Range Trip" at the Musings Over a Pint blog for more.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Feast of Blessed Miguel Pro

[Reposted from Musings Over a Pint.]

November 23 is the Feast Day of Blessed Miguel Pro. Born on January 13, 1891, in Guadalupe, Mexico, Miguel Pro was ordained a Jesuit priest in Belgium in 1925. He returned to his home country in 1926, in the midst of that country's Cristeros War. After being falsely accused of an attempted bombing, Father Pro was executed by government forces without trial

Blessed Miguel Pro's final request was to be allowed to pray to his heavenly Father.

After which he refused a blindfold and faced the firing squad bravely, proclaiming ¡Viva Cristo Rey!

Father Pro's executioners initially failed at their task, and the deed was finished at point blank range.

I am saddened, but hardly surprised, at the ignorance of the American public regarding the persecution of Catholics, and of the Cristero War that took place in Mexico in 1926 through 1929. Some 250,000 people lost their lives in a persecution that was supported by the government of the United States with both funds and air support. Given the ever-growing intolerance towards Christians, especially Catholics, in the United States, we would do well to remember.

Christ the King, by the intercession of Blessed Miguel Pro, I beg you to answer my prayers. Give me the grace and the strength necessary to follow your heroic example and to live my Catholic faith in spite of all temptations and adversities. Amen.

Images from Wikipedia.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Feast Day of Saint Gabriel Possenti

Today is the Feast Day of our patron Saint, Gabriel Possenti. In his honor, why not take a friend to the range today?


[This February 27, 2013 post at Musings Over a Pint tells of our affinity for the Saint.]

I am often struck by how the Saints work themselves into our lives. One Saint with whom I am feeling a growing connection is St. Gabriel Possenti. Today, February 27, is the Feast Day devoted to this interesting Saint.

St. Gabriel Possenti was a Catholic seminarian in Isola del Gran Sasso, Italy. In 1860 he is said to have used his skills with the pistol to drive off a band of marauding soldiers who were terrorizing the town. Possenti faced the troublemakers after grabbing revolvers from two soldiers. As they laugh at the young student, he took aim and accurately shot a lizard that was running across the road. Impressed, the soldiers left the town, escorted by the seminarian, who had become the hero of the town.

Like many Saints, there's an unclear line between the facts of the Saint's life and the "tradition" associated with him. However, this story about Gabriel Possenti has led to him being promoted as the Patron Saint of Handgunners. The St. Gabriel Possenti Society was created for the purpose of promoting the Saint's cause. The society also promotes the study of the historical, philosophical and theological bases for the doctrine of self-defense.

A couple of years ago, our parish was presented with a relic of St. Gabriel Possenti, under the name St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows. It was an exciting moment when I saw the blurb announcing the displayed relic in our weekly bulletin. Since then, I've enjoyed sharing the story of Gabriel Possenti with many parishioners.

When some local Catholics were looking for a name for a blog devoted to Catholicism and self defense,  we were naturally drawn to honor the Saint by creating Gabriel Possenti Shooters. I dare say most of our Catholic friends who also enjoy shooting are familiar with the Saint and his story.

Recently, I was looking at my Virginia Concealed Handgun Permit when I was struck by the anniversary date printed on the permit — February 27. Wow, my permit was issued on the Feast Day of the Patron Saint of Handgunners! That's some "coincidence." It would appear the Saint has been watching out for me longer than I have been aware of him.

St. Gabriel Possenti ora pro nobis!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Day After Christmas Range Trip

Sitting around Christmas evening, I got an email from a friend who was arranging a trip to the range for Friday morning. He had included a few fellow parishioners from our church as well. The temperature was expected to be in the unseasonable 50's the next day, making the range trip all the more attractive.

The morning dawned cool, my car dashboard read 30° when I left the house, and the frost was thick on the ground. When I arrived at the range one friend and his son were already there but surprisingly no one else was using any of the ranges. Very soon, two more friends arrived, one also with his young son. Everyone set up their targets, we loaded guns, and got quickly to the shooting to work off the chill.

We shot for just over an hour. There was a lot of camaraderie and friendly banter. There was a variety of firearms on the bench so it was also a good chance shoot some different guns. I took the opportunity to try out another SIG I had never shot, a P229 in .40. Everyone was most generous in sharing, as gun folks generally are.

I've known all of the guys, and their sons, for a long time, but had only shot with one of them previously. I was very pleased, but not surprised, to see everyone was very conscientious regarding muzzle awareness and safety in general, even the kids. The head Range Officer had been sitting in his car watching us for a long time and after I finished, I went over to talk to him. The first thing he said was "I love sitting and watching a group of shooters all being safe and doing what they are supposed to do." That was indeed a compliment coming from him.

There's already talk of making this an annual "Day After Christmas" event, and perhaps we can expand the event to include more of our fellow parishioners. (And of course, making it more frequent would be welcome too.) I look forward to shooting with these guys again. Catholic and armed, my kind of people!


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Remembering the Battle of Lepanto

[Originally posted at Musings Over a Pint.]

October 7 marks the anniversary of The Battle of Lepanto in the year 1571. In this historically significant battle, the Fleet of the Holy League defeated the much larger fleet of the Ottoman Empire. This Christian victory stopped, for a while, the aggression of the "religion of peace" into the Mediterranean, and into Europe as well. Untold hundreds of thousands of innocent people were saved from slavery, execution, and other barbarisms the moslems were bringing to conquered lands as they spread their violent and tyrannical agenda.

We have a good idea what an islamist victory at Lepanto would have brought to Europe and the rest of the world. Witness the genocide of Christians in the Middle East and the application of "islamic law" in those same lands, as well as the growing islamic unrest in Europe. We should offer a prayer of thanksgiving for those Christian warriors of long ago, even as we face the resurgence of islamic conquests at home and abroad.

Lest we be complacent, heed the words of Robert McMullen,
Many Christian knights, soldiers, and sailors have died defending Christendom against the onslaughts of Islam down through the centuries. Today, the borders of many European countries, Canada, and the United States are practically wide open, and the old enemy is invited to come in and make himself at home. And many 'Christians' in the West are just too busy enjoying their material prosperity to be bothered with unpleasant history. 

But the enemy has not forgotten history. He remembers it all too well, and he is still deadly serious about his religion. His goal over the years has not changed in the slightest, and he is very patient. The enemy within is now smiling, just biding his time.

And also the reminder from Theodore Roosevelt, writing at the start of the 20th Century,
Christianity is not the creed of Asia and Africa at this moment solely because the seventh century Christians of Asia and Africa had trained themselves not to fight, whereas the Moslems were trained to fight. Christianity was saved in Europe solely because the peoples of Europe fought. If the peoples of Europe in the seventh and eighth centuries, and on up to and including the seventeenth century, had not possessed a military equality with, and gradually a growing superiority over the Mohammedans who invaded Europe, Europe would at this moment be Mohammedan and the Christian religion would be exterminated.

The uninformed, the willfully ignorant, along with the islamic mouthpieces in our own government, continue to spout off about the "peaceful muslims." Yet history shows us islam is not, and has never been, peaceful. That a majority of muslims aren't actively killing Christians and other non-mulsims, does not mean they don't support those who do. It in no way changes the true basis of the islamic creed. The truth is, you cannot separate terrorism from islam. There is nothing in islamic theology that proves this aggression as un-islamic. All of Christendom once knew this, but sadly over the centuries many have forgotten, or surrendered to political correctness.

The violent acts of faithful followers and imitators of mohammed, those who actually do as their "faith" commands, are occurring daily around the world, ignored by the leftist media, and excused by inept politicians and the clueless Hollywood elite. The "lone wolf" attacks on our country have been occurring for decades. How long before we face a renewed, and modern, version of the moslem fleet that sailed against Lepanto? The head of the FBI says, "very, very soon." Let us mark this anniversary of the Battle of Lepanto with an increased awareness of the very real threat to civilization from this satanic and barbaric ideology.