Friday, July 31, 2009

Happy Birthday Father General!

The General Leadership Assembly in Rome gathered for prayer.
Above, Father Garrett and Brother Thomas take time out of their schedule to celebrate the birthday of the Superior General, Fr. Manuel Cortez at the Generalate of the Society of Mary.
Fr. Cortez was born in Valencia and entered the novitiate Society of Mary in 1961. He professed his first vows on September 12, 1962 in Elorrio.
He holds degrees in Physical Science and Theology. He has the ability to communicate in English, Spanish, French and Italian.
We are very blessed to have such a talented and spiritual leader. From the Province of Meribah: Feliz Cumpleanos!
Above, Father Manuel Cortez celebrates his birthday with the leadership of the Society of Mary!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Roman Pligrims visit Francis & Clare

Assisi is famous throughout the world for its favorite son, St. Francis. And our Marianist Brothers took time from their meetings at Via Latina to visit the famous town.
Brother Thomas, an avid animal lover, tries his touch as the Assisi lion tamer. Below Father Garrett (Assistant Provincial) and Brother Michael (Secretray General)pause in Assisi.
St. Francis put it so well when he said, "
"It is not fitting, when one is in God's service, to have a gloomy face or a chilling look."

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Where are we when God calls?

God used the story of two well-known women in the Bible, Martha and Mary, to demonstrate the type of relationship He wants with each of us. The two sisters had contrasting approaches to their walk with God – and thus got difference results. Martha was anxious and un-trusting. Mary got alone with God and worshipped at Jesus’ feet

Mary went to see Jesus - at the right time. She went when He called her and she went without delay. She went when she was properly prepared because she had been praying and waiting. Mary was sitting and waiting on Jesus. She was preparing her heart and responding appropriately when He called. As Mary sat still in her house, the Jews who were there might have thought that Mary was focused on other things. But Mary was focused on Jesus.
The difference was in their preparation and consequently in their approaches as well.

Where we are and how we approach God makes a difference.

Both Mary and Martha were believers. But, their walk was not the same. Mary was focused on the Savior because she had gotten quiet and alone with Him. Mary met Jesus in the same place as she did when Jesus was in her home, at His feet!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Dog Days of Summer

Tobit relaxes in the General Office during these hot and humid days. Everyone knows that the “dog days of summer” occur during the hottest and muggiest part of the season.
Webster defines “dog days” as...
1 : the period between early July and early September when the hot sultry weather of summer usually occurs in the northern hemisphere2 : a period of stagnation or inactivity
But where does the term come from? Why do we call the hot, sultry days of summer “dog days?”
In ancient times, when the night sky was unobscured by artificial lights and smog, different groups of peoples in different parts of the world drew images in the sky by “connecting the dots” of stars. The images drawn were dependent upon the culture. These star pictures are now called constellations, and the constellations that are now mapped out in the sky come from our European ancestors.
They saw images of bears, (Ursa Major and Ursa Minor), twins, (Gemini), a bull, (Taurus), and others, including dogs, (Canis Major and Canis Minor).
The brightest of the stars in Canis Major (the big dog) is Sirius, which also happens to be the brightest star in the night sky. In fact, it is so bright that the ancient Romans thought that the earth received heat from it.

Jonah cools off in the ponds of Queen of Apostles Courtyard during these grueling days.
In the summer, however, Sirius, the “dog star,” rises and sets with the sun. During late July Sirius is in conjunction with the sun, and the ancients believed that its heat added to the heat of the sun, creating a stretch of hot and sultry weather. They named this period of time, from 20 days before the conjunction to 20 days after, “dog days” after the dog star.
Today, dog days occur during the period between July 3 and August 11. Jonah is even able to coax Father Thomas from his weeding of the gardens for a game of fetch.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Marianist Monday Meditation

In his letter to the retreat preachers of 1839 Blessed Chaminade expressed the apostolic vision that must imbue the life and channel the energies of each Marianist in words now very familiar.

"Our work is far-reaching; it is magnificent. If it is universal, the reason is that we are missionaries of Mary, who has said to us: "Do whatever he tells you!" Indeed, everyone of us is a missionary. To each of us the Blessed Virgin has given a mandate to work at salvation of all in the world."

Blessed William Joseph Chaminade

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Long-time Friend visits Province of Meribah

Fr. Bendict Joseph Groeschel, CFR, a long-time friend of the Marianists, gave a talk prior to the celebration of the Sunday Eucharist. Father Benedict celebrates his 50th Anniversary of Ordination this year. May we continue to be blessed by Father Benedict's service to the Church. Below he poses with Brother Michael, Brother Daniel and Father Thomas before the start of celebration of the Eucharist.

May many young men and women respond to the call of a religious vocation!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Preparations & Renovations

Pope John Paul the Great said, "Many of you are engaged in the apostolate of education and the pastoral care of youth. Do not doubt the continuing relevance of that apostolate..."

From teacher, to student, to Administrator the summer work is a necessary part of the apostolate of education.
Religion teacher Mr. Douglas Cioffi assists in the summer renovations.
Recent graduate Daniel Cody takes up a paint can to add the finishes touches to a skylight.Marianist Principal Brother Kenneth finalizes some plans for the approaching school year.

Friday, July 24, 2009

General Leadership Assembly 2009 Roma

Provincial Bro. Thomas Cleary and Assistant Provincial Fr. Garrett Long travelled to the General Leadership Assembly July 19 - August 1 at the Generalate of the Society of Mary in Rome. The group consists of provincials, assistant provincials, regional superiors and the general council. Among the items to be discussed: formation, youth and vocational work, Celebration of the Chaminade Year 2011.

Our prayers for a safe and productive trip for Bro. Thomas and Fr. Garrett.
Fr. Garrett, Bro. Thomas and Bro. Michael in the General Administraion gardens.Father Garrett and Bro. Thomas representing the Meribah Province at the Marianist General Leadership meetings.Fr. Garrett and Bro. Thomas pause in the Via Latina gardens.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist Visit the Province of Meribah

Two of our friends from the Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist attended the YOUTH 2000 program this past weekend. What a great grace to have Sister Joseph Andrew, O.P. , the Vocation Director and Sister Maria Frasatti, O.P. visit the Province of Meribah. Below the Sisters pause with Brother Daniel and Brother Michael before the shrine to Blessed William Joseph Chaminade whose cause for canonization is being considered in Rome.
Travelling on the golf cart certainly made the trips from the fields to the school a fun experience for all.
We hope our friends from Ann Arbor, Michigan come back and visit again!

Feast of St. Mary Magdalen - "I have seen the Lord"

Today the Church is celebrating the feast of St. Mary Magdalen. We know very little about her life, in fact nothing apart from what appears in the Gospels. Even what appears in the Gospels ends up being a bit mixed up in a lot of people's minds because she is often confused with other women who were part of the company of disciples.

Throughout the centuries, writers have tried to come up with stories to fill in the gaps of this woman's life and in recent years they have come up with some wild theories about her. A whole genre of literature seems to have sprung up dealing with the relationship that she had with Jesus. Some authors go so far as the say that she and Jesus married. As silly as that may be, the simple fact is that she loved Jesus; in the same way that each of us is called to love Him.

The Gospel reading used at Mass today (Jn 20:1-2, 11-18) has Mary at the tomb on Easter Sunday morning weeping and wondering where the body of Jesus has gone. When she finally recognizes Jesus He sends her to tell the others that He is risen.

Her love for Him led to her being assigned a task; to share the good news of how she has encountered Jesus. This is something that all of us are invited to do.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Source & Summit

The weekend retreat held on our campus complemented our life in many ways. First, the Eucharist which is the source and summit of our life of faith is at the heart of the vocation of the Marianist Community.
Secondly, the entire retreat weekend was done in the context of Community. The Marianist Community gathers together daily to pray the Divine Office and adore the Blessed Sacrament.
Thirdly, the retreat encouraged all to explore their individual call to vocation. Above, one of our graduates participates in the Eucharistic healing service on Saturday evening.And finally, the retreat sought the intercession of Our Lady and reflected on her response to God's call in her life. Her response to the astounding epiphany is born of faith. Mary responds with faith and commitment. She offers herself as a willing participant in the workings of the Divine Lover. She offers herself in the service of God. She undertakes great personal risk and sacrifice. She enters into a partnership with God, not only for personal benefit but also for others.
Mary says "YES!" to this unique opportunity. She interprets her call as a blessing rather than a problem. She gives her consent to the call of God.

Monday, July 20, 2009

A Summer Eucharistic Retreat

Brother Stephen and Brother Michael hosted a group of students from our Marianist high schools during the YOUTH 2000 program this weekend. Over 500 young people attended the yearly program under the tent with almost perfect weather. Pictured above is Brother Stephen and Pat McGonigle just beginning the Eucharistic candlelight procession on the property.
Seniors Dan McQuillan and Alex McAlvin "dance before the Lord" with some of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal.
The Rosary was led one morning by Brother Stephen and the retreatants from our Marianist schools.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Marianist Friend Celebrates 50 years of Dedicated Service to Our Lady

Brother Alfred Aigner, S.M. Celebrates 50 Years of Religious Profession!
A long-time friend of the Province of Meribah celebrated his 50th Jubilee of Religious Profession with the Brothers last evening at the Chaminade-Mineola Community. After evening prayer the Marianist Community gathered on the Fox Pavillon for the evening meal. Brother Thomas(Provincial), Brother Alfred(Austrian Province), Brother Richard, and Father Garrett(Assistant Provincial) pose in the photograph above. Father Philip and Father Francis offer their congratulations to Brother Alfred at the Province celebration! May the one who has begun this good work in you bring it to completion! Congratulations Brother Alfred for your service to the Society of Mary!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The blood of martyrs is the seed of Christians

Father Albert preached this morning's homily on the word "princess." His princess illustrations from the Old and New Testament were positive and creative. Of course, the homily was directed towards the princess named the "Lily of the Mohawk," Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha.

She was born not too far from Founder's Hollow in 1656 of an Algonquian Indian mother who was a devout Christian and a Mohawk chief who remained a pagan. She was beatified in 1980 by Pope John Paul II.

She was brought up in the anti-Christian surroundings of the Mohawk community in what is now Auriesville, N Y.

Kateri held fast to the faith of her mother.

Kateri survived the ravages of the plague, but it left her delicate for the rest of her life. Kateri was persecuted because she refused to give up her Christian way of life. "I want to be a Christian, even though I should die for it," she said.

She was deprived of all food on Sunday because she would not work in the fields on that day. Beatings, continual criticism, sarcasm and mockery were her constant lot. They tried to force marriage on her but she was inspired to remain a virgin and after she became a Christian she took a vow of virginity.

In time, Kateri made her way to Caughnawaga, a community of Christians There she led a life of intense Christian virtue until he death in 1680 at the age of 24. Her renown for heroic sanctity soon spread and many miracles have beer worked through her intercession. Kateri followed the generation of Saints John de Brebeuf, Isaac Jogues and Companions thus bearing out the ancient Christian saying that "the blood of martyrs is the seed of Christians"

In a special way, Kateri has always had a simple influnece on our Community. So strong was her influence that the Kateri Lodge at Founder's Hollow bears her name.

Lily of the Mohawks, Christ's princess, pray for us!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Ora et labora

A balanced life of prayer and work...

The Rule of St. Benedict survives today as a masterpiece of spiritual wisdom. Saint Benedict envisioned a balanced life of prayer and work as the ideal.

Our summers are an opportunity to develop our common life as well as manual work in the apostolate. Assisting the Marianists in the upkeep of the schools are faculty, graduates and current students.
Senior Dan Brandon assists with work on the painting crew throughout the summer months.
Junior Chris Kosubinsky and graduate Tom Kennedy work in Emmanuel.
Sophomore Jonathan Sabando has worked in the Greenhouse and a variety of other tasks for the past two years.

Pope Benedict & Vocations

In an address to those in vocations ministries in Europe, Pope Benedict spoke of the ministers as both sowers and the seed - sowers as we are instruments to help sow the seeds, and seeds that can hide from the clamor of the world.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Happy Name Day Holy Father!

Brother Timothy and Brother David took a medal of Saint Benedict with them when they left for the Solomon Islands in June. There is so much to learn from this medal. Let's take a look and see what it has to teach us.
All the inscriptions are in Latin. The medal has on one side an image of St. Benedict holding up a cross in his right hand and the Rule or Gospels in his left. To his right is a raven carrying off a poisoned loaf and to his left a poisoned cup (both attempts to kill him). Above the cup and the raven are the Latin words:
Crux s. patris Benedicti
(The Cross of our holy father Benedict).

On the margin of the medal, encircling the figure of Benedict, are the words:
Eius in obitu nostro praesentia muniamur!
(May we be strengthened by his presence in the hour of our death!).

On the reverse side going to the right around the rim we have V.R.S.
Vade Retro Satana
(Get behind me Satan)
and then N.S.M.V.
Numquam Suade Mihi Vana
(Do not suggest vain things to me).
Then we have Pax (Peace) after which there is S.Q.M.L.
Sunt Mala Quae Libas
(They are evil things that you offer)
followed by I.V.B.
Ipse Venenum Bibas
(Drink the poison yourself).
Around the cross in the centre are four letters C, S, P, B
Crux s. patris Benedicti
(The Cross of our holy father Benedict).
On the vertical of the cross from the top down are the letters C.S.S.M.L.
Crux Sancta Sit Mihi Lux
(May the Holy Cross be Light to me).
On the horizontal there are N.D.S.M.D.
Non Diabolos Sit Mihi Dux
(May the Devil not be my guide/leader/commander).

The medal reflects Benedict's own struggles with temptation and his conquering them with the sign of the cross.

May St. Benedict bless, protect, guide and inspire young people to listen and follow the call of a religious vocation!

Friday, July 10, 2009

July 11 St. Benedict – Patriarch of the Society

Tomorrow we celebrate the Feast Day of Saint Benedict. He is the Patriarch of the Society of Mary (Marianists). The first word of Saint Benedict's Rule is, "LISTEN." From the Rule of Saint Benedict:

"Let us stand up on our feet then, for Scripture rouses us saying: 'It is full time now for you to wake from your sleep.' And, having opened our eyes to the light of God, let us listen attentively to what the divine voice cries out to us daily: 'Today if you would hear his voice, harden not your hearts'; and again, 'He who has ears to hear let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."


Thursday, July 9, 2009

Give Them to God and Let Go!

The Community homily today focused on a reflection from the Catholic Exchange. Sometimes the simplest and the shortest homilies have the greatest impact. Here are some of the highlights from today's Community homily with some photos from Lifteen Notre Dame Leadership Conference.

Some problems have no easy solutions, but that doesn’t stop the toughest of us from continuing to try, and try, and try again. “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” And more often than not, persistence pays off. But there are few problems that can be more intractable than matters of the heart and the challenges of changing hearts. So what are we to do when hearts are frozen in place, and not a good place at that? Jesus addressed this very matter a number of times, and He gives us part of the answer in today’s gospel.
In essence, He tells us never to give up on people, but to recognize that sometimes, no matter what we say or do, certain folks just aren’t ready yet to move forward or to hear the Good News. In that circumstance, Jesus tells us not to badger, get angry, or condemn. Just move on. Shake the dust from your feet and move on. Hold those folks always in prayer, and hope for the future, but let them be.
It’s hard to do, but in the long run, the best gift we have for such folks is our silent, respectful caring and hoping. So when that moment comes, don’t judge, just commend them into God’s hands and let go!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Blessed are the meek

God needs meekness.
Sometimes we think God needs superstars, don't we? That God needs superstars, that God needs superstars to bring the Gospel, but God doesn't need that.What God does need is meekness.
For blessed are the meek, approved are the meek, accepted with God are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Caritas en Veritate

Pope Benedtict's new encyclical: "Charity in Truth"

"Charity is at the heart of the Church's social doctrine. Every responsibility and every commitment spelt out by that doctrine is derived from charity which, according to the teaching of Jesus, is the synthesis of the entire Law (cf. Mt 22:36- 40). It gives real substance to the personal relationship with God and with neighbour; it is the principle not only of micro-relationships (with friends, with family members or within small groups) but also of macro-relationships (social, economic and political ones).For the Church, instructed by the Gospel, charity is everything because, as Saint John teaches (cf. 1 Jn 4:8, 16) and as I recalled in my first Encyclical Letter, “God is love” (Deus Caritas Est): everything has its origin in God's love, everything is shaped by it, everything is directed towards it. Love is God's greatest gift to humanity, it is his promise and our hope."

Life Fest with the Sisters of Life.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Life Fest

What do frisbee, Adoration, hot dogs, Reconciliation, fellowship, Evening Prayer, talks on love & life, Mass and fun have in common? Together they make a LIFE FEST!
On the celebration of the birth of our nation, 12 students and 3 Brothers travelled to Villa Maria Guadalupe for the Sisters of Life extravaganza!

While the talks on life and love were a very integral part of the day, our energies were quickly used upon our arrival at the retreat house. We were invited for a game of ultimate frisbee. And we won!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Vocation Prescription

Some highlights of Pope Benedict's Wednesday audience about St. John Mary Vianney & Vocations:"One who prays is not afraid; one who prays is never alone; one who prays is saved! St. John Vianney is undoubtedly a model of an existence made prayer."

Pope Benedict concluded with his prescription for vocations!

"The low numbers some countries not only must not discourage us, it should stimulate us to dedicate greater space to silence and to listening to the Word, to improving spiritual guidance and the Sacrament of Confession, so that the voice of God, which always continues to call and to confirm, may be heard and followed by many young people."

Saturday, July 4, 2009

We are All Missionaries

Each summer two members of the Meribah Province travel to the Solomon Islands to assist Bishop Chris Cardone, O.P.(pictured above) in the work of education. This year Brothers Timothy and David arrived on Tuesday, June 16th to begin our missionary work.
Our Brothers were the guests of Archbishop Adrian Smith(pictured above.) As always the Bishop was a most gracious host sharing not only his house but his wealth of stories from his more than 4o years of service in the Solomon Islands.
There were almost 100 young men and women aged 17-24 who gathered for the weekend program. The theme: Say YES to Christ, YES to the Church and YES to the CHOICE for holiness. As always the young people were most receptive and eager to learn new things. On Saturday night all were treated to Disney’s “Wall-E,” which brought squeals of delighted laughter from the crowd.
As they say in the Solomons,

Lukum ui – See you soon!