THE KISS IN THE DARK NIGHT by Joseph Castorino

As I awaken in the

Dark Night,

The swirling, twirling

Tempest of menacing fear

Violently threatens to

Throttle me.

But brimming with

The Messiah’s magnificent mercy,

Our Lady appears and

Gazes at me with a

Sweet, serene smile

And sparkling aquamarine eyes;

Then, with her soft, rosy lips,

She wonderfully warms my cheek

With a pure, gentle, loving

Kiss.

Suddenly the surging

Tornado of terror

Silently ceases as

The Spirit

Blows in the breeze

And soars through

My soul.

THE STAR IN THE DARK NIGHT by Joseph Castorino

O heavenly Star,

I am living in the dark night

Of unknowing,

Searching for peace in uncertainty.

O Lighthouse in the sky,

I am living in the dark night

Of the unseen,

Trying to die slowly to myself.

With your beacon of light,

Like a laser sword from Heaven,

You strike and slay

All my enemies.

I rejoice in the source

Of your powerful light,

Christ the Courageous,

Your only Sun.

SCRUFFY ON TOP OF EUROPE by Joseph Castorino

I’m just a little bichon frise on top of the

Jungfrau, and I feel like I’m super special;

I’m now the highest dog in all of Europe,

And my heart is strutting, filled with pride.


But I really can’t take any credit for it at all,

Because my Master carried me up all the way;

I’m like a fluffy little lamb, and the only reason

I’m special is because He makes me feel special.


The view is beautiful, and way down in the

Valley below, lovely cowbells ring their melody;

I feel like I’m in Heaven, and my heart serenely

And sweetly sings, because I know that I am loved.

FIRST TRIP by Joseph Castorino

Dedicated to my father

Me and Dad were at

Knott’s Berry Farm and

he couldn’t wait to share

his favorite attractions with me;

the torch of his enthusiasm

burned even hotter

than the fiery ashes

of his cigarettes;

but I was like a wet match,

soaking wet,

and Dad had no chance,

no chance at all --

my whole world was

Disneyland;

hot words of anger

gathered in his mouth

like fierce storm winds,

but then he hesitated,

thought pensively for a moment,

and, finally, swallowed them;

with a smile of selfless surrender,

he took my hand in his own

and, together,

we walked towards the exit.

TO ST. NICHOLAS by Joseph Castorino

You are the merry Christmas saint,

You tried to live without complaint;

A bishop with a cheerful heart,

Your words pierced like a loving dart;

Your gift of gold saved three sweet maids,

Who always feared the Roman raids;

With holiness you beat the foe,

Your jolly laugh goes ho, ho, ho.

OUR LADY, UNTIER OF KNOTS by Joseph Castorino

Their perplexed brows are

knitted into knots

as they impatiently try to

conquer the unconquerable,

and so they slowly slide down,

down the slippery slope

of depression and despair

into the murky darkness

of melancholic misery;

but Our Lady touches their hearts,

and most lovingly leads them

along a path trustworthy and true,

through the White Way of Light,

and up the majestic mountain;

then as they drink the delicious

new wine of Divine Mercy,

their wrinkles of worry dissolve,

their souls serenely smile,

their hearts are made whole,

and, to their utter amazement,

they are absolutely and totally

born again.

OUR LADY OF THE ROSARY by Joseph Castorino

When I squeezed the rosary with my

Tense fingers, my soul was bone dry;

I prayed too fast, as if trying to speed

Through Death Valley at high noon.

I pitched my prayers with fear, and they

Wildly eluded the spiritual strike zone;

It was as though they were frantically

Fired from a rickety machine gun.

Then you taught me how to pray, Madonnina,

More slowly, and more meaningfully;

I peacefully sprinkled the rosary throughout

The day, watering my soul’s garden.

I threw sizzling strikes with love, which you

Crisply caught and brought to Jesus;

As God’s holy warrior, Padre Pio spoke the

Truth: “Lord, give me my weapon.”

A PROFILE OF COURAGE by Joseph Castorino

Eugenio Pacelli is consecrated a bishop,

In Italy’s historic city of Rome,

But he is flung like a javelin into Germany,

And Munich is now his home;

Egelhofer sends Commander Seiler

On a mission filled with human hate,

The truth is Mr. E. thirsts for blood,

And Pacelli he wishes to assassinate;

Commander Seiler and this gang selfishly strut

To the bishop’s place of residence,

They’re planning a brash bold attack,

Plotting his murder with confidence;

They threaten the servant with weapons,

So he reluctantly lets them in,

Now they await the bishop’s return,

Thinking victory they will win.

Seiler stands ready at the door,

With his thugs in a semicircle around,

Armed with loaded guns and grenades,

Their faces are rather frowned;

When the bishop opens the door,

Seiler points a pistol at his pectoral cross,

Yet Pacelli fearlessly stands his ground,

And shows him who is boss;

The holy bishop speaks as soft as an abbot,

Or even a most prayerful friar,

But his courageous words rip into them,

Like relentless machine gun fire;

The bishop’s eyes are two spear tips,

That pierce right through their souls,

And in a daze they gape back at him,

As motionless as telephone poles.

With empty hands the would-be assassins

Return to Egelhofer the Extreme,

To his surprise, Pacelli still lives,

And in the Munich diocese reigns supreme;

The bishop bravely swatted their plans,

As if they were harmless flies,

Never before had they looked at a priest

With such powerful paralyzing eyes;

During the Second World War,

He saved countless lives from Nazi extermination,

And many Jewish people commended him,

For his covert operation;

This lean, stately figure ran the Church,

Though he never sought out fame,

He is better known as Pope Pius,

The Twelfth who has held that name.

THE ROSARY: SPIRALING IN LOVE by Joseph Castorino

He leads me

back to you once more,

and I am awed by your

breathtaking beauty,

for you are full of gladness

and wondrous gracefulness,

with the truth shining forth

from your humble heart,

you are filled to the brim with

the sweet wine of wisdom,

your fruit is bountifully blessed,

feeding a famished world;

you tenderly take my hand

and lead me towards the Light,

for you are the morning star

that generously gave birth to the Light,

the smiling sun warms me

with radiant rays of love,

and then

TO ST. ANDREW THE APOSTLE by Joseph Castorino

Your mariner’s heart hungers to know the truth,

And your saltwater soul is satisfied with John’s words;

But the brave Baptist has spoken of a greater one,

And you are thinking about what he will be like;

You hope that he will be the promised messiah,

Who will handily harpoon and sink the Romans;

And you hope he will be the holy and majestic king,

Who will restore peace and prosperity to his people.

One morning the Baptist paternally points towards the

Shore of the Jordan, at the fearless Fisher of Men;

Your eager eyes are alert as you race after Jesus,

With sweat dripping from your shaggy beard;

As you reach him, he turns and smiles at you with warm,

Welcoming eyes, and your heart is mystically awakened;

It feels like a beautiful balmy breeze is sweetly caressing

The sails of your fisherman’s soul.

TO ST. JUDE THADDEUS THE APOSTLE by Joseph Castorino

You had fabulous fun playing with Jesus,

Your second cousin who knew no guile,

You loved to visit His mild mother,

Who always had the sweetest smile;

Through the patient passing of the years,

You saw the magical messiah mature,

And He chose you and your brother James,

To be apostles who strive to be pure;

In loving loyalty your mother agonized,

With Jesus’ mother at the foot of the cross,

Your father Cleophas was monstrously martyred,

And his death was a dire loss;

But you steadfastly served the Lord,

And were famous for physical healing,

You happily sought out holiness,

And spent much time prayerfully kneeling;

In a foreign land you were beaten to a pulp,

Until you were door-nail dead,

But it wasn’t satisfying enough,

So your murderers lopped off your head;

Now you wear a martyr’s golden crown,

And live in Heaven’s perennial jubilation,

Interceding for the Church Militant,

You help it become a new creation.

TO ST. SIMON THE APOSTLE by Joseph Castorino

You were a zealot against the Romans,

Whom you terribly wanted to crush,

Perhaps you dreamt of spearing their skulls,

And watching their bright blood gush;

But Jesus of Nazareth was meek and mild,

And he turned the other cheek,

When He healed the Roman’s servant,

Did you think the Messiah was weak?

But Jesus spoke to rich and poor

With an amazing proclamatory power,

And before no man -- Jew or Roman --

Did He ever stoop or cower;

His multitudinous miracles filled your

Heart with amazement and with awe,

Almost imperceptibly you came to realize

That He was the fulfillment of the law.

Some say that you were cruelly crucified,

Just like Our Most Blessed Lord,

Others say you were sawed in two,

With your body savagely and brutally gored;

Either way, the acid anger of hate corroded

The malicious murderers’ brains,

While in your holy heart God’s Spirit

Everlastingly and eternally reigns.

THE MIRACLE OF THE SUN by Joseph Castorino

Like Rosary beads dipped in holy water,

Raindrops are falling from the sky,

Seventy thousand people in the roaring rain

Who would really rather be dry;

The valley of the Cova da Iria is a black

Blanket of umbrellas and hats,

And the drenched, dripping crowd is like

A muddy mob of very curious cats;

Three children kneel before an outdoor altar

As they await the promised sign,

And non-believers mockingly joke that

The children are just tipsy with wine;

The riotous rain finally stops at noon,

As the weather is forced to succumb,

But noon passes, and Heaven is late,

So perhaps no miracle will come.

But then a marvelous, mystical stillness and quiet

Come over this blessed place,

All laughter subsides and totally vanishes,

Without even the slightest trace;

Our Lady appears to all the three children,

Wearing garments dazzlingly white,

Her shape is graceful and delicate,

And her clothing is brighter than light;

Her eyes are like sparkling jewels,

And her sweet voice makes their hearts sing,

Her face is most exquisitely beautiful,

And she is a treasure of the great King;

But after hours and hours of waiting,

The crowd sees nothing at all,

If a Heavenly sign they don’t get,

Then perhaps the children they’ll maul.

After speaking to the three young children,

Our Lady casts a glance up above,

She gently points upwards to Heaven,

With a heart filled with mercy and love;

Then Lucia quickly points at the sky,

And tells everyone to look at the sun,

They only see a thick cloudy darkness,

So their expectations are little or none;

But through the clouds the sun is slicing,

And it’s spinning like a circular saw,

At this very strange and unnatural sight,

The crowd’s nerves really feel raw;

The sun is like a gyrating sparkler,

With sizzling sparks flitting about,

It is held by God’s invisible hand,

He is mighty -- of this there is no doubt.

Then the fickle sun changes colors,

And the many spectators reflect its glow,

The chamelionic sun lights up sky and land,

Putting on an impressive show;

First the sun turns a stunning silver,

And this is followed by a brilliant blue,

Then it turns a glorious, gleaming gold,

Followed by a most radiant red hue;

Every so often there are stellar explosions,

With blinding bursts of light,

The people are starting to tremble,

And are wondering if they should take flight;

They stare at the sun for a very long time,

Yet none of them hurt their eyes,

The whole crowd gapes in surreal wonder,

Observing this sign in the skies.

But suddenly unbolted from the wall of clouds,

The sun moves about in the sky,

It looks like it’s riding on a roller coaster,

On invisible tracks way up high;

The blazing orb dances in a fiery frenzy,

Although there’s not a lot of wind,

And glacial hearts are melting below,

Of those who have seriously sinned;

But now, like a menacing molten meteor,

The sun falls down towards the Earth,

Thousands of people cry out in terror,

Not experiencing any kind of mirth;

Alarmed atheists pray Our Fathers,

As their hearts’ flag of surrender is unfurled,

And agnostics stagger and stumble for cover,

Fearing it’s the end of the world.

Approaching at a frightful velocity,

The sun gradually drinks the dark sky,

As the speeding star draws ever nearer,

The people are preparing to die;

The red giant now fills the heavens,

And the situation is exceedingly dire,

The surface of the sun is a seething solar ocean

Of fantastical flaming fire;

But all this time the three good children

Have visions from the Heavenly realm,

They experience ecstatic joy and peace,

Since the good God is at the helm;

Then, in the twinkling of an eye,

The crowd looks up through happy tears,

They’re stunned because their nightmarish vision

Very suddenly disappears.

Just ten minutes earlier, the spectators in the

Cova were standing in the mire,

But now, in a flash, it is completely dry --

Faster than anyone could ever desire;

Ten miraculous minutes…

Have forever softened many thousands of souls,

Their lives are totally transformed,

And they no longer seek secular goals;

October 13, 1917…

Will be remembered throughout all of history,

Though for skeptics who read of Fatima,

This day may always be a mystery;

Many atheists and agnostics saw a miracle

That made them turn quite pale,

So know that this story happened,

And it is not some silly fairy tale.

TO ST. FAUSTINA by Joseph Castorino

You, the mystical

missionary of mercy,

are honored as

the first saint

of the Great Jubilee,

the first saint

of the new millennium;

you serenely smile

as the blessed blood

and the blessed water

kiss and mingle

in the infinite ocean

of Divine Mercy;

you see the barque

of St. Peter as it

faithfully floats on

the beautiful waves,

protected from the

storm winds of worry,

free from all fear;

like the warm welcoming

arms of the Bernini Colonnade,

Divine Mercy is ready to

earnestly embrace every

hardened sinner who

hungers for healing and

thirsts for generous love:

Jezu ufam Tobie!

TO ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI by Joseph Castorino

Your jolly, joyful eyes dreamily dance

to the sublime, saintly symphony

Of the unimaginably beautiful creations

of the Most High Lord God;

Your pious, prayerful persistence

and earnest embrace transform the

Leprous lechery of our lives into

the radiant Son-shine of lasting love;

Your voice, like a melodious and

musical church bell, resonates and

Reverberates throughout the ages

with the clarity and purity of truth;

Your simple, kindly actions speak

louder than the sonic boom of the

Ghastly gossip and eloquently

empty chatter of the world.

THE CHAPEL OF DIVINE MERCY by Joseph Castorino

My Via Dolorosa

has brought me here,

so I drag myself into

the dark chapel,

my body weakened

under the weight of

my crosses and woes,

and I am hopeless.

But here, kneeling,

my hands knotted together,

deep in prayer,

I surrender all to Him,

and, behold, a soft light

like that of a little candle

emanates from the

holy tabernacle.

Then as it gradually

intensifies and brightens,

the wick of my soul is lit,

and I relax in His presence,

my heart smiling as I am

completely enveloped in

the luminous Sonshine

of Divine Mercy.

WILLIE THE WORRIER by Joseph Castorino

Willie the Worrier woke up in bed,

He was quickly filled with horrible dread;

His main goal in life was to get ahead,

Yet he stumbled and fell behind instead;

Never satisfied with his daily bread,

Now this stressaholic is door-nail dead.

TO ST. JOHN PAUL II by Joseph Castorino

You have a playful, loving smile

that was delightfully disarming,

You have pleasant, penetrating eyes

that looked deep into our souls,

As a humble seminarian you silently

evaded the nefarious Nazis,

Years later, your heroic words crushed

the cold-hearted Communists;

Your valiant, victorious voice was

carried on the wondrous wings

Of the cheerful cherubim who raced

round the globe and rained down

On the world your heavenly hope

and wonderful words of wisdom.

You are a saint for our century:

poignant poet, daring dramatist,

Protector of the powerless,

merciful mystic, pro-life pope,

And stalwart spearhead who ignited

the fire of the New Evangelization;

Your hideous opponent the devil,

like a sly, sneaky soccer player,

Tantalizingly tried to kick abortion

through Holy Church’s doors, but

As the goalie of the Chair of St. Peter,

you flicked away temptation,

With your rock-solid shepherd’s staff

gripped in your warrior-like hands.

In Poland, you relentlessly pursued

Christ’s love even though

You had to trudge terribly through

the dreadful, dreary dark night

Of Nazi dictatorship, and you had

to bear the wicked weight of the

Cruel, crafty Communists in your

beloved, historic city of Krakow;

Through your remarkable writings

you lifted us ever so high in the air

In a Heaven-bound spiral, far far above

the murky mist of moral relativism

And into the sublime, sunny splendor

Of Christ’s truth and freedom.

Via Crucis by Joseph Castorino

Pummeled by Parkinson’s,

he battles through the basilica,

leaning forward, heavily,

hunched over, crushed

under an invisible

wooden cross, laden

with the world’s woes;

from the ocean of onlookers,

like Veronica with her veil,

a mother mildly lifts up

her little newborn;

the Holy Father’s

old, wrinkled face

winces with pain,

like a warrior’s,

as he most tenderly

blesses the babe

with a gentle kiss;

the spectators exhale

a halo as they breathlessly

and solemnly sigh, “O!”

NINO THE CROOKED POLITICIAN by Joseph Castorino

Nino the donkey was a

  crooked politician,

He was a nasty senator

  who was full of ambition,

He beat his enemies into

  the pulp of submission.

A mad raving lunatic,

  he never ceased to yell,

Always one step ahead

  until he finally fell,

Now like a flaming hot dog

  he barbecues in hell.