I hesitantly open the door

of the confessional and

to my utter surprise

I see a beach before me:

as I approach the waters

of gentle aquamarine,

my hot feet, crusty

and blackened with

guilt, are cleansed by

Jesus’ holy hands;

He leads me into the ocean,

whose welcoming waves

of delightful divine mercy

kiss and caress my soul,

cooling and refreshing me,

and peace and joy

rush through me, and

as love ripples and rhymes,

sweetening my soul,

I am born again.

PRAYER FOR THE NEW YEAR by Joseph Castorino


O Victorious Virgin,

In the dawn of this

Glorious new year,

Take my hand, gently,

And sweetly lead me

On the path to Truth;

Then joyfully unlock

The Gate of Heaven

Which opens wide

To the Prince of Peace,

To the King of Kindness,

To the Lord of Love;

As your Son rises

Deep in my heart,

May Divine Mercy rays

Of red and white

Shine through me

And warm the world!

AVE MARIA by Joseph Castorino

She gently rocks me,

back and forth,

in her slender arms,

since I’m a little babe

who can’t find Jesus

alone, without her;

she lovingly caresses

and warms me in the

cold dark night,

and her smiling eyes

twinkle in the Light;

her soft rosy lips

sweetly kiss me

as she leads me

faithfully and joyfully

to her merciful Son,

the Bread of Life.


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.

TO ST. JOHN THE APOSTLE by Joseph Castorino

Son of Thunder, you requested that Jesus

Revengefully rain down ferocious flames,

You wanted to get back at those fools from

Samaria who wouldn’t welcome Him;

But your fisherman’s soul was softened

By the Savior, as Love taught you to love,

You were transformed by the Transfiguration,

And you soon became the Apostle of Light.

During the Last Supper, you leaned on Love,

And, alarmed, asked Him about the traitor,

Then, later, you saw the wondrous wounds

Of Love wash away the world’s guilt;

He gave you His Most Blessed Mother,

And you cared for her with holy compassion,

You, the Beloved Disciple, bravely and

Courageously taught us obedience.

You were the miraculous martyr who

Survived a bubbling, boiling cauldron of oil,

Then the Roman Emperor Domitian

Egregiously exiled you to the isle of Patmos;

Hideous heresies denied Christ’s divinity,

So you wrote a glorious gospel to refute them,

You were the mild mystic, the peaceful preacher,

And the unforgettable Apostle of Love.


Here we find the epicenter of the holy earthquake

that destroys the sin of the centuries.

In jubilation, I swiftly and silently cruise through

the cool, crisp air on this holiest of holy nights,

Up above, high in the heavens, is the star of all stars,

powerfully pulsating with bursts of joy;

Below, in the countryside, the shepherds’ fires

crackle with contentment near Bethlehem,

For the Christ child, the Prince of Peace, has been

born in a lowly little stable in the city of David.

I am flanked by a merry multitude of fellow angels,

As we prepare for our descent into little Bethlehem,

From the cloud tops we cascade downward towards

the manger, like a waterfall of invisible light;

The shuffling shepherds who were so startled to

behold us now adore their newborn king on bent knees,

And the majestic magi marvel at the humility of the

Blessed Babe, the long-awaited holy Messiah.

St. Joseph thoughtfully covers the mild mother Mary,

to help heat her on this very chilly night,

The joyful Virgin warmly welcomes little Jesus,

covering Him with her tender kisses and caresses;

Blissful baby Jesus beams a bright smile, covering all

present with His most peaceful benevolence,

And we angels swirl and dance, and exultantly sing

And rejoice and praise the glory of the good God.

The holy family will live in the dark night of the unseen,

centered in the Light of Limitless Love.


It is a bright beautiful morning in the

crisp clean air of the Canadian Rockies,

We ascend as I drive up a wonderfully

windy road past babbling brooks;

I am driving the “Tin Can” (the affectionate

name that we have given our car),

After reaching the sunny summit,

we gently roll into the Valley of the Ten Peaks;

We finally arrive at the large lake and

look up at the regal ring of mountains,

Yet I feel slightly saddened because

somehow it’s less than I expected;

A lodge that looks like a big log cabin

stands silently like a sentinel near the water,

We decide to dine there and enjoy a

delightful bit of roast beef for lunch;

The savory flavor of my sandwich lingers

in my mouth, as I think about my morning,

I try to cunningly convince myself that

I’m not disappointed, but I know that I am.

Departing for our next destination,

I wistfully walk towards our little car,

But as I look to the right, I see a

tar-black hill with a winding trail upon it;

The people look like pilgrims as they

make their way up the mysterious mound,

Curiosity gradually grows within me as I

ponder, puzzled, where the path leads;

So I investigate and struggle up the steep

trail, tripping occasionally on rock and rubble,

But when I get to the top, I am frozen

with fascination as I behold the view;

Above me is a diadem of snow-tipped peaks,

gleaming with the glory of God,

Below me is the pristine lake, and it is

shimmering and sparkling like a gemstone;

It appears as if millions of sapphires

and emeralds have melted into liquid,

And the blue-green color of the

lovely lake is luminous in the sunshine.

My senses are suddenly soaked in Your

Holy Spirit’s lasting love, and I feel Your beauty,

At this moment, nothing else matters,

and I only long to be close to You;

At this moment, I am oblivious to my past,

and I am oblivious to my future,

I am living in the eternal and

mystical present of the great I AM;

You are Holy Humility, You are

Magnificent Mercy, You are Limitless Love,

And with Your divine sense of humor,

You really are the God of surprises.

JUBILEE 2000: THE PIETA' by Joseph Castorino

As I look up at the statue, I see Santa Maria,

as white as virgin milk, holding her Jesus;

She is the elegant embodiment of humble

Obedience and selfless compassion.

The Savior lay in the stately surrender of

Sacrificial love, in His mother’s majestic arms;

He is crushed, the weight of the world’s

Woes heavy upon His wounded body.

On the surrounding walls, the magnificent

Marble is a multicolored whirlwind;

The Holy Spirit beautifully swirls and

Soars through it in grace-ful agape.

JUBILEE 2000: BEFORE MASS by Joseph Castorino

As I serenely sit in front of St. Peter’s

Basilica, I soak in the beauty of the piazza,

I look about my peaceful surroundings,

Drinking in the delicious glory of God;

Clusters of clouds casually waft by, so low

That they almost brush the top of the dome,

They pass by like eager pilgrims, Eucharistic

White against the bright blue sky.

Fresh flowers flow down on the white steps in front

Of the altar, like a colorful cascading waterfall,

I inhale the perfume of their sweet scent,

And I breathe in the Lord’s love;

The elegant church bells powerfully and

Rhythmically ring out God’s grandeur,

While the balmy breeze swirls around me

And compassionately caresses me.

JUBILEE 2000: ST. PETER'S BASILICA by Joseph Castorino

Reflecting on God’s grandeur, I marvel

At the beauty that surrounds me,

The statue of the Pieta’ vibrantly reflects

The sweet sublimity of God’s mercy;

The nave floats in the swirling, variegated,

Multi-colored waves of a marble ocean,

And massive pillars of magnificent marble

Stand at attention like the Swiss Guards.

As the doors silently open, the Holy Father’s

Vehicle slowly rolls down the aisle,

And in rushes a breeze of heavenly hope

That placidly fills the sails of our souls;

I stand on my chair and see the saint whose

Faith defeated the dreary dark night,

As he kisses a babe, love ripples through

The crowd and rhymes in our hearts.

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


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


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.


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.