It’s #RIAuthor Month! Meet Paul Caranci


Promise of Fatima

A Miracle for All Time

The day began as most any other, but on this morning, August 6, 1945, the world was about to change. At 8:15 am, the first-ever atomic bomb was dropped in Japan. The blast was felt as far away as 37 miles. Two-thirds of the city’s buildings were destroyed and estimates are that between 80,000 to 140,000 people were killed instantly. A thermal pulse ignited a firestorm so intense that it incinerated everything within a 4.4-mile radius of ground zero. Yet, just eight blocks from ground zero, in defiance of all odds and science, eight German Jesuit priests walked out of their home with only minor injuries. Theirs was one of only a few buildings still standing. Not only were the priests virtually unharmed, but over their rather long lives, they suffered no ill effects of radiation exposure, no loss of hearing, no diminution of sight, nothing.

Secular scientists are incredulous and cannot explain the miracle of Hiroshima. Fr. Hubert Schiffer, however, speaking on behalf of all eight men, had only one explanation. “We believe we survived because we were living the message of Fatima.”

Fatima, a small rural village in Portugal, was relatively unknown prior to 1917. In that year, however, against the backdrop of the horrors of World War I, a Lady from Heaven appeared to three young shepherd children as they played and tended sheep in the Cova de Aria. The subsequent series of heavenly visits reverberated around the world and were crowned with arguably the greatest miracle of the 20th century.

This was not the cure of a single person from some questionable disease, but rather a celestial event witnessed by 60,000 to 70,000 people gathered in anticipation of a miracle promised by the mysterious Lady over three months earlier. The spectacle was witnessed by people as far away as 25 miles, even by those who had no idea that it was supposed to take place. Today, one hundred years later, over 4 million pilgrims descend upon Fatima each year as a testament to the extensive power of the events that took place in 1917.

You see, at the request of 10-year old Lucia dos Santos, the oldest of the three visionaries, the Lady promised a miracle for all to see during her final appearance on October 13, 1917. She even promised the hour at which it would occur. And she promised these things the previous July. The children relayed her message both to the faithful and skeptics alike, placing their lives in extreme danger if the promised miracle did not occur. But such is the faith and innocence of children.

As promised, the 70,000-plus were not disappointed. They watched, first in amazement and then in horror as the sun danced in the sky, then fell toward earth, completely drying the rain-soaked ground and the drenched clothes of all assembled. As the sun returned to its rightful place, atheistic journalists from the secular newspapers, there for the sole purpose of debunking the story of the apparitions as childish nonsense, wrote front-page stories about the miracle they experienced. There was simply no denying that a miracle, one promised by Our Lady of the Rosary, had occurred.

But there is more to the story of Fatima than miracles and apparitions, for during her six visits with the children, Our Lady shared with them three secrets and several promises, revelations that will alter the course of history if her requests are heeded by the people.

The complete story of Fatima, the apparitions, the miracles, the secrets and the promises are examined in extraordinary detail in the newly-published book, The Promise of Fatima: One Hundred Years of History, Mystery, and Faith. This hour-by-hour, day-by-day accounting of the events are chronicled in the book that has already changed lives as the message of Fatima promises to transform the world. Learn for yourself the extraordinary secrets and the miraculous promises revealed in this book, or give it to a loved one as a holiday present and perhaps you will witness your own Christmas miracle. Both Kindle and paperback copies are available on Amazon.com at https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_1_12?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=paul+caranci+books&sprefix=paul+caranci%2Caps%2C152&crid=ENW0OFAXQMGH.

paul-caranci

Paul F. Caranci is a third-generation resident of North Providence, Rhode Island, and has been a student of history for many years. He is an author with seven published books to his credit including two award-winning books. The Hanging & Redemption of John Gordon: The True Story of Rhode Island’s Last Execution (The History Press, 2013) was voted one of the top five non-fiction books of 2013 by the Providence Journal. Scoundrels: Defining Corruption Through Tales of Political Intrigue in Rhode Island (Stillwater River Publications, 2016) was the winner of the 2016 Dorry Award as the non-fiction book of the year. Paul’s book Wired: A Shocking True Story of Political Corruption and the FBI Informant Who Risked Everything to Expose It (Stillwater River Publications, 2017) tells his own story of courage in the face of the political corruption that surrounded him.

GIVEAWAY! The author is offering a print copy of The Promise of Fatima to one lucky winner (US residents only, please). All you have to do is comment below. The winner will be selected at random and the author will contact you directly. Contest ends one week after blog publication.

Meet over 100 local authors on Saturday, December 2! The Fifth Annual RI Authors Expo

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The Saddest Day of the Year


I posted this blog a couple of years ago, but am reposting it today, Holy Saturday. And in remembrance of my dad, who died unexpectedly – 35 years ago this past Wednesday.

confessional

 

“What’s the saddest day of the year?” My dad was driving the Ford Country Squire station wagon, and I was sitting in the front, because my sister wasn’t with us. Otherwise, I’d be in the back, staring at his head. We were headed downtown for confession at Saint Francis chapel.

I thought about his question. “The day after Christmas?” That seemed logical.

“No. Think about it.” He took a drag of his Kent cigarette. To a Frenchman, it’s the Eiffel Tower, to a Dutchman, it’s a pretty flower, to an Indian, it’s a mon-u-ment, to a smoker, it’s a Kent!

“The last day of summer?” He shook his head, and looked exasperated. We pulled up next to the curb. Providence was quiet on a Saturday afternoon. He turned off the engine and faced me.

“No, the saddest day of the year is next Saturday. Holy Saturday. And do you know why?” He didn’t wait for me to try to figure it out. “It’s because Jesus is dead. He died on Good Friday, and didn’t rise from the dead until Easter Sunday. So Holy Saturday is the saddest day of the year. Come on, let’s go.” We got out of the car and walked on the sidewalk to the chapel. My dad wasn’t a hand-holder; he just expected you to keep up, so I walked fast to stay with his long strides.

He pushed the door open. The door to the chapel was on the side of the building. You went inside and walked down a flight of stairs to the chapel, in the basement. It smelled like wax and vinegar. I wrinkled my nose. My dad put his hand on my shoulder and marched me to a pew in front. There were four confessionals in Saint Francis, one at each corner. The one in front had a green light shining, which meant there was a priest inside. On either side of the priest’s closet, there was a place to go and confess your sins. The confessionals had the most beautiful velvet curtains: thick and soft and dark. I loved to stroke the velvet and thought it would be nice to have a pillow made of this material. If someone was inside and confessing, there was a red light above, and you couldn’t go in. You really weren’t even supposed to sit too close, because listening to another person’s sins was a sin. One time when my sister was with me, I was sitting in the pew and could hear her whispering, but I couldn’t tell what she was saying. I slid farther away, but really I wanted to move closer, because someone broke the arm off my Barbie and if she did it, I wanted to hear her confess it. Then I’d know. But even if I did, I couldn’t tell her, because then she’d know I was listening, and listening to someone’s confession was a bigger sin than breaking the arm off a Barbie.

While my dad was behind the velvet curtains, I walked up to the candles. I loved the candles. They flickered inside little red glass cups, and if you wanted to light a candle, you had to put money in the box. An offering, my dad said. If I had a dime in my pocket, I would put it in the slot and listen to it clink as it fell to the bottom of the metal box. Then I would take a long wooden stick from a little bucket of sand, and hold it in one of the flames until it had a flame, too. Then I would light my candle. My dad said you were supposed to offer a prayer for someone when you lit a candle, so I would offer a prayer for everybody in my family, because I didn’t know anyone who had died.

~~~

Sacrifice


www.devp.org
http://www.devp.org

The official title for Lent, Quadragesima, is Latin for “forty.” Consider it a forty-day retreat.

Starting on Ash Wednesday, faithful Catholics are “marked” with the sign of the cross. The ashes of burned palms signify that we, as mortal beings, will return to dust one day. The outer person is meaningless in death. Who are you inside?

When I was a kid, it was all about giving something up. Candy, usually, and if we made it through those forty days of Lent, there was a big reward on Easter Sunday: a wicker basket filled with foil-covered chocolate eggs, a big chocolate rabbit, jelly beans. Plenty of sugar.

As a teenager, we shifted gears and started focusing on doing something positive, usually for someone in need. Go visit an old person, make an offering for the poor, be kind to your sister. 🙂

Lent is about sacrifice, but not in the suffering and gloomy sort of way. It’s a way to focus on the inner person by depriving oneself of certain extraneous things. You can make a sacrifice for forty days. And if it hurts a little (sugar, caffeine, cigarettes), you’re allowing that opening your heart to God, to good, is more important then what you’ve given up.

I recall a priest once talking about the tradition of going without meat on Ash Wednesday and all Fridays during Lent. “Going without meat does not mean driving to Twin Oaks for the baked stuffed shrimp!” (Okay, local joke, but you get the point).

Here is an excerpt from Pope Francis’s Lenten message: “Dear brothers and sisters, may this Lenten season find the whole Church ready to bear witness to all those who live in material, moral and spiritual destitution the Gospel message of the merciful love of God our Father, who is ready to embrace everyone in Christ. We can do this to the extent that we imitate Christ who became poor and enriched us by his poverty. 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.”

Happy All Saints’ Day!


Oh, you didn’t realize? Are you nursing that sugar hangover?

Today is a holiday in some countries (those that are historically Catholic). Bet you wouldn’t mind a day off today after that crazy party last night…

(from Wikipedia): In the Catholic Church and many Anglican churches, the…day specifically commemorates the departed faithful who have not yet been purified and reached heaven. Christians who celebrate All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day (November 2) do so in the fundamental belief that there is a prayerful spiritual bond between those in heaven and the living.

As for those trick or treaters (who no longer sing and pray for souls in exchange for a cake) – this is cute

more halloween 007

This is not:

matt-lauerEnough said about that. Seriously, adults, what are you thinking?

O is for Flannery O’Connor


Her first name was Mary, but she didn’t use it as an author (remember Harper Lee? Her first name was Nelle, and she also dropped it).

Flannery O’Connor lived from 1925 to 1964.  In her short life, she wrote two novels and thirty-two short stories.   Her Southern roots were evident in her writing, as was her Catholic upbringing, and she frequently examined questions of morality and ethics.

She was an only child, and described herself as a “pigeon-toed child with a receding chin and a you-leave-me-alone-or-I’ll-bite-you complex.”  Her father died when she was fifteen, leaving her totally bereft.

In 1951, like her father, she was diagnosed with lupus.  Although she was expected to live only five more years, she managed fourteen.  She never married, relying for companionship on her correspondences with other writers and on her close relationship with her mother.

Flannery O’Connor was a disciplined writer, devoting each morning to her work and making great demands of herself even in her last years as she struggled with lupus. She possessed a keen ear for southern dialect and a sense of irony and comic timing.  Her dark humor consciously intended to underscore our common human sinfulness and need for divine grace. Even her characters’ names (Tom T. Shiflet, Mary Grace, Joy/Hulga Hopewell, Mrs. Cope) are often clues to their spiritual deficiencies.  These characters, usually deprived economically, emotionally, or both, inhabit a world in which, in O’Connor’s words, “the good is under construction.”

O’Connor was a Roman Catholic in the Bible Belt (Protestant) South; her fiction, though, is largely concerned with fundamentalist Protestants, many of whom she admired for the integrity of their search for Truth.  She attained in her brief life what Sally Fitzgerald called (after St. Thomas Aquinas) “the habit of being,” which Fitzgerald describes as “an excellence not only of action but of interior disposition and activity” that struggled to reflect the goodness and love of God. (these last two paragraphs from the New Georgia Encyclopedia)

She died on August 3, 1964, at the age of 39, of complications from lupus.

 

 

 

 

 

The Saddest Day of the Year


“What’s the saddest day of the year?”  My dad was driving the Ford Country Squire station wagon, and I was sitting in the front, because my sister wasn’t with us.  Otherwise, I’d be in the back, staring at his head.  We were going downtown for confession at Saint Francis chapel.

I thought about his question.  “The day after Christmas?”  That seemed logical.

“No.  Think about it.”  He took a drag of his Kent cigarette. “To a Frenchman, it’s the Eiffel Tower, to a Dutchman, it’s a pretty flower, to an Indian, it’s a mon-u-ment, to a smoker, it’s a Kent!”

“The last day of summer?”  He shook his head, and looked a little exasperated.  We pulled up next to the curb.  Providence was quiet on a Saturday afternoon.  He turned off the engine and faced me.

“No, the saddest day of the year is next Saturday.  Holy Saturday.  And do you know why?”  He didn’t wait for me to try to figure it out.  “It’s because Jesus is dead.  He died on Good Friday, and didn’t rise from the dead until Easter Sunday.  So Holy Saturday is the saddest day of the year.  Come on, let’s go.”  We got out of the car and walked on the sidewalk to the chapel.  My dad wasn’t a hand-holder; he just expected you to keep up, so I walked fast to stay with his long strides.

He pushed the door open.  The door to the chapel was on the side of the building.  You went inside and walked down a flight of stairs to the chapel.  It smelled like wax and vinegar.  I wrinkled my nose.  My dad put his hand on my shoulder and marched me to a pew in front.  There were four confessionals in Saint Francis, one at each corner.  The one in front had a green light shining, which meant there was a priest inside.  On either side of the priest’s closet, there was a place to go and confess.  They had the most beautiful velvet curtains: thick and soft and dark.  I loved to stroke the velvet and thought it might be nice to have a pillow made of this material.  If someone was inside and confessing, there was a red light above, and you couldn’t go in.  You really weren’t even supposed to sit too close, because listening to another person’s sins was a sin.  One time when my sister was with me, I was sitting in the pew and could hear her whispering, but I couldn’t tell what she was saying.  I slid farther away, but really I wanted to move closer, because someone broke the arm off my Barbie and if she did it, I wanted to hear her confess it.  Then I’d know.  But even if I did, I couldn’t tell her, because then she’d know I was listening, and listening to someone’s confession was a bigger sin than breaking the arm off a Barbie.

While my dad was behind the velvet curtains, I walked up to the candles.  I loved the candles.  They flickered inside little red glass cups, and if you wanted to light a candle, you had to put money in the box.  An offering, my dad said.  If I had a dime in my pocket, I would put it in the slot and listen to it clink.  Then I would take a long wooden stick from the little bucket of sand, and hold it in one of the flames until it had a flame, too.  Then I would light my candle.  My dad said you were supposed to offer a prayer for someone when you lit a candle, so I would offer a prayer for everybody in my family, because I didn’t know anyone who had died.

~~~

My friend in Texas is getting married.  We would have liked to go to Austin for the wedding, but since I left my job last year to pursue writing full-time, we’ve had to cut back considerably, especially on travel.  A weekend in Austin for her wedding would have cost us about two thousand bucks, so I had to tell her we couldn’t be there.  She said she’d send us an invitation anyway.

The invitation arrived last week.  She’s getting married on April 7th.  When I looked at the invitation, suddenly it clicked – she’s getting married on Holy Saturday.  And for my friend Vicki, it will be the happiest day of the year.