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Confraternity of Penitents Newsletter - May 2024



The Confraternity of Penitents Holy Angels Gift Shop is an online store available 24 hours per day at Once in a while, the shop receives a call from a local customer.


Recently a woman (we’ll call her Mary) phoned. “Do you have a Saint Jude pendant? I’m a hospice nurse and someone referred me to you. I have a patient who is asking for a Saint Jude necklace. The one he’d been wearing since he was eighteen was lost by the hospital when he had a health emergency. He wants to die wearing a Saint Jude pendant and be buried with it.”


“What’s his name? Is he actively dying?” I asked, thinking that, if he were, we would immediately send his name out to our CFP Prayer Warriors who immediately will pray for him.


Mary paused. “His name is Mike. He’s been my patient for 3 years. Last night he suddenly started transitioning.” In hospice, this word means that Mike entered the actively dying process.


We had a Saint Jude Necklace. Within fifteen minutes, Mary was at the door to pick it up. The pendant was $15.95 plus tax, making the cost a little over $17. She handed us a twenty dollar bill.


“We’re an online store,” I said. “I don’t have any cash in here so I can’t give you change.” I was going to explain that I could get change from the house, but Mary interrupted.


“Keep the change. This morning when I was leaving for work, I saw this bill on the counter, and something told me to take it. I’m a religious person and God speaks to me sometimes. I thought maybe one of the patients would need it. But now I know why I was supposed to take it.”


“God does things like that,” I said.


Mary smiled. “God does things like that.”


“Tell Mike that we will be praying for him.”


“I will,” Mary said. “Thank you so much.”


When she left, I sent out Mike’s name to our Prayer Warriors. One emailed back, “Praying with All that Christ our Lord take from Mike pain, fear, suffering, sadness and loneliness, shame and regret, doubt and despair - and fill him instead with the Love, Joy, Consolation, and Salvation of His Presence unto everlasting paradise with Him.” Mike, may St. Jude welcome you to God’s presence.--Madeline Pecora Nugent, CfP

To sign up to receive urgent prayer requests via email (people in immediate danger of death), email 


The CFP Spiritual Guardian, Fr. Joseph Tuscan, OFM Cap, is also the Father National Director General of the Archconfraternity of Christian Mothers, headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA. He will appear on EWTN on June 19th and 20th on a show called "At Home with Jim and Joy" Pinto to talk about the Christian Mothers. 

Mothers play a vital role in upholding Christ’s presence in the world through their high mission to the family. They nurture souls, teach their children, serve and strengthen their families, model Christian self-sacrifice, and witness to the unfathomable parental love God bears for each of His children.

The Confraternity of Christian Mothers is a pious association intended for mothers, which has for its special object the promotion of the good Christian and Catholic education of their children. The members join their hearts in love with the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin, the Mother of Sorrows, and unite under her patronage in mutual prayer and solicitude for the welfare of their children and families.

The prayers and good works a mother performs in her daily work are of inestimable value. A Christian Mother and her children share in the grace and merits of the prayers and good works of all other members, as if she had performed them herself.

Members are endowed with all the spiritual benefits of the Confraternity of Christian Mothers, which includes a share in all the prayers and Masses offered for the members and access to special plenary and partial indulgences available to Christian Mothers.

Any Catholic woman in good standing, married or unmarried, with or without children, can be admitted, provided she seriously intends to promote the aims of the Confraternity, especially that of the Christian education of children, and to comply with the rules of the Confraternity.

Mother Love.jpg

For nearly 150 years, the book Mother Love has served as an invaluable spiritual resource for generations of Christian Mothers. I am indebted to my predecessors for their contributions to the many previous editions of this beautiful devotional book. We have striven to provide for you, the best of those previous volumes. In assembling the current edition, I asked members of the Archconfraternity who have been very familiar with the many editions we have published in English and German since 1880 to draw from them the prayers and readings they found most helpful and to suggest additions as well. We are proud to present to you this current edition of Mother Love, confident that you will find in these pages the formational and spiritual inspiration so needed for the support of your vocation and your family. May Christ our King, true Savior and Ruler of the world, bless and consecrate your hearts and homes! Mother of Sorrows, Queen of Peace, pray for us!

Mother Love is available to Christian Mothers and the general public through the CFP Holy Angels Gift Shop at Cost $29.95 plus shipping. Leather cover. Gilt edges. Ribbons.


Or order by mail from CFP Holy Angels Gift Shop, 1702 Lumbard Street, Fort Wayne IN 46803 USA

Please pray for all Christian Mothers and their children. They are the future of our faith. --Fr. Joseph Tuscan, OFM Cap, CFP Spiritual Guardian


At the last Supper, when Peter at first refuses to have his feet washed by the Lord, Jesus convinces Peter that it was necessary that He wash Peter’s feet. Peter then goes to the other extreme and asks Jesus to wash his whole body. Jesus refuses, and states that since Peter had already bathed, only his feet need to be washed. (Jn 13:6-11) Jesus assumed that before the Passover ceremonial meal, Peter and the other apostles would have bathed. Only their feet would be dirty from walking over dusty roads with sandals.

Of course, this is much more than a discussion of personal hygiene. In his book Jesus of Nazareth, Pope Benedict XVI guides us to the deeper meaning of this exchange. Yet in this context, the washing of feet acquires another more concrete meaning, over and above its fundamental symbolism, one that points to the practicalities of life in the early Church. What is it? The complete bath that was taken for granted can only mean Baptism, by which man is immersed into Christ once and for all, acquiring his new identity as one who dwells in Christ. This fundamental event, by which we become Christians not through our own doing but through the action of the Lord in his Church, cannot be repeated. Yet in the life of Christians-for table fellowship with the Lord-it constantly requires completion: "washing of feet". What is this? There is no single undisputed answer. Yet it seems to me that the First Letter of John points us in the right direction and shows us what is meant. There we read: "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us" (1:8-10). Since even the baptized remain sinners, they need confession of sins, "which cleanses us from all unrighteousness". While the Lord’s washing of the feet of the Apostle is not a sacrament, this act of the Lord’s points to the Sacrament of Confession.

Pope Benedict points out that the “complete bath” refers to the Sacrament of Baptism. While a normal bath needs to be repeated, Baptism can only be done once. Baptism is analogous to circumcision in the Old Covenant which also could only be done once. Circumcision meant that the person was part of the Chosen Nation of Israel and heir to the promises made by God to Israel through the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God did bless Israel by giving them the Law and the Prophets. Even Gentiles were blessed by the Law and the Prophets. However, the Law and the Prophets was not God’s “last word” to humanity. God’s “last word” to us is Jesus Christ. “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth.” (Jn 1:14) Baptism is the way in which one “dwells in Christ”, as Pope Benedict states above, just as circumcision is the way males became a part of the God’s Chosen People, Israel.

While circumcision meant that the Israelites were God’s Chosen People, circumcision alone did not make them holy. They often rebelled against God and sinned. They were punished by being defeated by enemies or by going into exile from their Promised Land. They had the Law and the Prophets which the Gentiles did not have. They knew who God was and what He expected of them, yet they did not do it. Why not? The problem is what the Church calls original sin. Adam and Eve knew who God was and what He expected of them, yet they disobeyed Him and ate from the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. They took it upon themselves the right to decide what is good and what is evil instead of leaving that to God. That tendency, to decide what is good and what is evil without God, has been passed down not only to the Israelites but to everyone. The Gentiles knew God and what He expects of us in a vague way, but this knowledge was distorted by time and traditions. God restored this knowledge of Himself and His Laws to the Israelites through the Law and the Prophets. Even Gentiles such as Ruth in the Book of Ruth or Naaman in the 2 Kings Chapter 5 recognized that the Israelites worshipped the True God. However, knowing what God wanted did not give the Israelites the power to do what God wanted. St. Paul tells us this very thing. “I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. For I do not do the good that I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do.” (Rm 7:18-19) A little later in this same chapter, St. Paul gives us the answer to this problem. “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Rm 7:24-25) The answer to the problem of original sin is Jesus Christ.

We get access to Jesus Christ though the Sacrament of Baptism. This is the “bath” which cleanses us of original sin. Through Baptism, we are “immersed into Christ once and for all” as Pope Benedict tells us. The first Baptism, the Baptism of John the Baptist, was a Baptism of repentance from sin using water. Christian Baptism also uses water as symbol of our actual Baptism with the Holy Spirit. John the Baptist tells us, “I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” (Mt 3:11, Mk 1:7-8, Lk 3:16) Both water and fire are symbols of the Holy Spirit. This is how Baptism differs from circumcision. Circumcision is a mark on the body which sets a person apart as belonging to the Chosen People. Baptism is a mark on the soul which sets a person apart as belonging to Jesus Christ. Only males can receive the physical mark of circumcision. Both males and females can receive the spiritual mark of Baptism. Just as a bath cleanses us from dirt, Baptism cleanses us from the sin of Adam and Eve, original sin. The Gift of the Holy Spirit is how Baptism differs from circumcision.

While Baptism cleanses us from original sin, we still sin. Baptism does not take away the Gift God gave to all humanity, free will. We are still free to spurn the Gift (grace) of the Holy Spirit living in us and sin. We live in a world where sin is pervasive. The pull of sin on us, like the pull of gravity, is always present on this earth. Even with the pull of sin, the Holy Spirit is present in us to protect us or call us back if we give in to the pull of sin. While Baptism is the “bath” which cleanses us from original sin, we still need to have our feet washed because of our continual contact with a sinful world. Confession is the Sacrament which Pope Benedict is pointing us toward when he quotes the letter of St. John. Of course, this “second cleansing”, unlike the cleansing of Baptism, can be repeated many times. Just as Baptism is the Lord’s remedy for the original sin which we inherited from our first parents, Adam and Eve, Confession is the Lord’s remedy for the sins which we personally commit. However, just as Peter needed to give the Lord permission to wash his feet, we need to give the Lord permission to cleanse us by our repentance. We also need the Church to receive this “second cleansing”. After His Resurrection, the Lord told His Apostles “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” (Jn 20: 22-23) The Lord was empowering the Church to be the instrument of His cleansing us from our own sins. While most of us did not give our permission to be Baptized, we do, of course, need to repeatedly repent of our sins in order to be forgiven by the Lord.

This is why the Church requires the Sacramental Confession of mortal sins in order to receive the Eucharist. Just as the Lord washed the feet of the Apostles at the Last Supper before they received the Eucharist, we need to make sure we are “clean” of mortal sin before we receive the Eucharist. St. Paul tells us: “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself.” (1 Cor 11:27-28)


While the Church does not require us to go to Confession every time we receive the Eucharist, we do need to “examine ourselves” to make sure we are not in the state of mortal sin. Traditionally, Catholics did go to Confession before receiving the Eucharist. More recently, however, reception of the Eucharist has gone up while Confessions have gone down. The Eucharist has become detached from Confession so that the Eucharist is more about community and belonging to the Church than about eating at the table of the Lord and belonging to Him. If we eat at His table, we certainly must love Him. How can we love Him if we do not obey Him? “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (Jn 14:15) If we are in the state of mortal sin, we need to allow the Lord to wash our feet (go to Confession) before we receive the Eucharist. If we love Him, we will surely do that. – Jim Nugent, CfP


I got a Walmart Money Card in the mail the other day along with a note saying I was receiving it because I had previously had a Walmart Money Card. That was news to me; I don’t recall ever having had such a card.

Nonetheless, I decided to take a look. Was this a good deal? After all, as Penitents our Rule and Constitution require us to follow St. Paul’s admonition to the Romans (13:8) to owe nothing to anyone except the love of neighbor that we owe anyway. Our rule goes a bit further and explicitly directs us to pay off our debts and not incur new ones!

The only effective way to pay off our credit card debts is to not buy things on a credit card. So let’s jump ahead to a debit card which our Rule does not forbid. A cash back debit card will let you pay with the plastic card, immediately debiting your bank account, while also giving you a small percentage back. The Walmart Money Card does this, but so do other debit cards, many of which give a higher percentage cash back than Walmart. You need to investigate to find what works best for you.

If you have credit card debt, the only way to pay it off and not build it up again is to not use it. But many places don’t accept cash, so a debit card is a wise alternative.

How to Pay Off a Credit Card

Once you have a debit card, you’re ready to begin paying off your credit card debt. Step 1 is to stop using the credit card for anything.

For many people, switching from using credit cards to using debit cards can be a difficult transition, especially in the first few months. I suggest you maintain your current checking account, but use it only for those expenses that must be paid – rent or mortgage, utilities, etc. Pay for everything else using your cash-back debit account.

Step 2: If you don’t already have an emergency account of at least $1,000 you will need to build it. This is a three-step process:

1. Open a high-yield savings account.

2. Have your cash-back bonus transferred into a high-yield savings account. This should be at the bank which holds your debit card account.

3. Transfer an additional amount into the account each month. How much? That’s up to you – but to deposit a total of $1,000, you’d need to put $50 a month for 20 months or $100 a month for 10 months.

However, you can speed this process up significantly. Between the money you’re putting in each month, your cash-back bonus and interest, you’ll reach your goal fairly quickly. For instance, if you choose to deposit $50 a month and you deposit 1% cash back, or $30, on $3,000 a month of spending, you’ll be depositing a total of $80 a month. Over the course of a year, you’ll deposit just about $1,000, including interest.

Step 3, once you have your emergency fund set up, begin paying down your credit card balance. Remember, you’re no longer charging anything to the card, so every payment you make reduces your balance. It will pay you to pay off that balance as quickly as possible. 

You can speed the process up further by making a payment every time you get paid. Suppose you get paid every other week, a common arrangement among companies. Divide your monthly payment in two. A 52-week year includes 26 paydays, but there are only 12 months in a year. So, by making a half-month payment every paycheck, you’ll be making 26 payments – the equivalent of 13 months of payments.

Why pay off our debts?

This simple answer is our Rule and Constitution say we should, and part of penance is obey our Rule and Constitutions.

But paying off debts – and especially credit card debts – is a good idea for anyone, even atheists and (shudder) Devil-worshippers. Why? Inflation is high, and it’s going to remain high. It’s baked in the cake. Remember, the definition of inflation is too much cash chasing too few goods and services.

The Inflation Reduction Act is pumping out trillions in additional spending. The world situation suggests that in addition to the domestic spending funded by the IRA the government is going to step up its spending on the military, regardless of who wins the election.

Almost no one wins during inflation. The only people who do have the cash to swoop in and buy property at fire-sale prices when high interest rates drive others to the wall. Being debt free protects yourself and your family during inflation. It enables you to give more to help those who need help.

St. Paul tells us to owe no man anything except the love of neighbor. Perhaps he had in mind what had happened earlier in Hebrew history during the time of Nehemiah, when there was an economic crisis. Three groups who were unable to manage their debt emerged. The first couldn’t buy food. The second could only buy food by mortgaging their property. The third group needed to mortgage their property or sell their children to pay the Persian taxes. (Nehemiah 5:2-5).

William Shakespeare echoed the same warning in Hamlet, crying, “neither borrower nor lender be, For loan oft loses both itself and friend, and borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.” During Shakespeare’s time, the gentry were selling off their estates piecemeal to sustain their life in London.

Being debt-free is a good idea for anyone. For a penitent it is a religious obligation. The best place to begin is by paying off credit card debt. – Joel Whitaker, CfP



The state mandated fire sprinkler system for Guadalupe Men’s Vita Dei House is nearly completely installed. Everything needs to be inspected and passed before any certificate of occupancy is issued for Guadalupe House.


Can you help pay for this unanticipated expense?


Donations can be made at on the Donations to Vita Dei House link.


To sponsor a priest for the Chapel of 1000 priests, use the Donation to Chapel Fund link. Sponsorships will be applied to the fire sprinkler payment.


More forthcoming on raising funds to complete Guadalupe Men’s Vita Dei House.


God bless you for your prayers and support.

CFP Photo Album: Small World
Br. John Michael.jpg

We live in a very small world!


When Dave Vaughn, one of residents at Guadalupe Men’s Vita Dei House, learned that our Confraternity of Penitents was holding our yearly Life Pledged Chapter (retreat and council meeting) at Mount Saint Francis Hermitage in Endicott, New York, he was bubbly with excitement.


“That’s where my friend John entered the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate. He’s a late vocation and tall guy. A really faithful follower of Christ. Maybe you’ll see him. If you so, tell him I said hello.”


As it turned out, Fr. Joseph Tuscan, our retreat master and spiritual guardian, was not arriving until late Wednesday night. Since he could not offer Mass for us, we asked the friars if they could provide Mass. Fr. Jacinto agreed and a tall, older friar welcomed us to Mass.


"Was your name John?" we asked.


Beaming, he said, "My name is still John. Br. John Michael."

Br. John Michael did, indeed, remember Dave with great fondness. “Dave was always at Eucharistic Adoration,” Br. John Michael said. “He’s a great guy.” We agree! “Give him my regards.” And we did!

Br. John Michael is pictured here with part of the Fort Wayne contingent to the Life Pledged Retreat. Left to right: Jim Nugent, CfP, Madeline Pecora Nugent, Cfp, Br. John Michael, and Elizabeth Lemire, CfP.

New Items: CFP Holy Angels Gift Shop

These and more available from the CFP Holy Angels Gift Shop at All proceeds support the Confraternity of Penitents in its mission to spread the message of penance (conversion) worldwide.



·         Now Hiring People That Show Up

·         When chickens communicate, do they use fowl language?

·         Do you know how weird it is being the same age as old people?


·         Glass coffins? Will they be popular? Remains to be seen.

·         I’ll never forget the look on the cashier’s face, when she scanned the packet of bird seed and I asked her, “How long does it take the birds to grow once I plant them?”

·         Let me forget to think about it and get back to you when it’s too late.

·         I would like to apologize to anyone I have not yet offended. Please be patient. I will get to you shortly.

·         I bet aliens ride past earth and lock their doors.

·         I thought growing old would take longer.

·         So when is this “old enough to know better” supposed to kick in?

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