Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Dirt & spittle

Fourth Sunday of Lent

In the midst of our daily routine we must take some time to prepare for the celebration of the Eucharist on Sunday. The Sunday readings are rich and vibrant. The first reading, from the First Book of Samuel prepares us for the Gospel by contrasting how we see with how God sees.  As he writes to the Ephesians, St. Paul treats of that light that produces every kind of goodness and truth, the light without which we are left in the darkness of our sin.

So the man goes and washes ... and comes back able to see. The dirt-and-spit opens his eyes, and he proceeds to testify that it was Jesus who gave him his vision. Standing before the Pharisees, he says, "He put mud on my eyes. Then I washed, and now I see .... He is a prophet." When they counter that Jesus is a sinner, the man says, "I do not know whether he is a sinner. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see." And the man asks the Pharisees mockingly, "Do you also want to become his disciples?" He might as well say to these religious leaders: "Here's mud in your eye!"

Finally, face to face with the one who healed him, the man discovers that Jesus is none other than the Son of Man. "Lord, I believe," he says, and he worships him. It is important to note that his healing comes BEFORE this statement of faith. The man does not believe in Jesus prior to his touch; the man receives the touch and then believes. The mudpack inspires the man to trust that he will be healed.

Does this sound crazy?  Don't assume that dirt and spit had nothing to do with the healing of the blind man. At the very least, it helped to focus his faith.

A Marianist Litany to Mary

A Marianist Litany to Mary

Holy Mary, pray for us!
Mother of God,
Mother of our redemption,
Mother of a lost child,
Mother of comfort and understanding,
Mother who shares our joys,
Mother who endures our sorrows,
Mother whose heart was pierced by a sword,
Mother most merciful,

Woman responsive to God's word,
pray for us!Woman willing to believe the impossible,
Woman who rejoices in her lowliness,
Woman with an undivided heart,
Woman of perfect freedom,
Woman wrapped in mystery,
Woman moved by the Spirit,
Woman champion of the poor and lowly,
Woman graced by a husband's love,
Woman widowed by a husband's death,
Woman at the cross,
Woman patient and waiting,
Woman clothed with the sun,

Queen of the fullness of times,
pray for us!Queen of beauty unalloyed,
Queen of integrity,
Queen of painful meetings,
Queen of all our heart's treasure,
Queen of our destiny,
Queen of peace,

Mary, you are mother and virgin,
wife and widow,
peasant and queen,
blessed for all time.

We need the comfort of your prayers.
Remember us always to our Father through your Son, Jesus Christ,
who is our Lord for ever and ever.
- Rev. Joseph H. Lackner, S.M.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Have you seen Jesus today?

So, how many times during this Lent has Jesus crossed our paths
in the middle of our quite ordinary days…

Have we seen Him - or have we missed Him?

How many times did He come to offer us just what we needed?
Even if we ourselves have been denying our need for what the Lord has to offer us.

How many times has Jesus gently probed our deepest wounds, our sins? 
Not to judge or condemn us, but to heal and forgive us.

Lent is a time for keeping our eyes and hearts open for Jesus
who often comes to us in times, in places, in ways we least expect.

He comes to help and to heal the wounds we’d like to hide,
to heal what our hungers and thirsts have done to us,
to give us food and drink that truly satisfy and nourish and nurture us.

And He can tell you and He can tell me everything we’ve ever done.

And so he does,
that in the telling we might be healed
and in the healing we might be saved

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Why do we abstain from eating meat on Fridays during Lent?

Picture it: You’re in a hurry. You’re focused on school or work or family or friends, where there are a thousand things going on. You stop “real quick” to eat in the middle of the day. Halfway through the meal – or a little while after – you remember it’s Friday. And it’s Lent! And that’s a burger in your stomach!!
In the words of Homer Simpson, “D’oh!”

This has happened to me before, and odds are that it has happened at one time or another, to you. A side note here to anyone who may be worrying or feeling guilty right now: If you forget, then no, it is not a sin.
So why exactly do Catholics abstain from eating meat on Fridays during Lent?

Actually, people offer several reasons for why the church embraces this discipline, a tradition that dates back hundreds of years. Some say it was because the church was trying to support the fishing industry when times were tough. The church was trying to keep fishermen “afloat” (yes, pun intended). There is some historical evidence of that, dating all the way back to the second century.

Some say it was safer to eat fish than meat. Everyone knew the specific time frame in which it was safe to eat fish, while people tended to test that time frame with beef. There’s some historical evidence to that too, dating back to about the seventh century.

Some point out that hundreds of years ago only the very wealthy could afford meat. Fish (in comparison) was the poor man’s meal. It was cheap, humble food that you had to catch yourself.

Some say that not eating meat helped folks to focus on the humility of Christ, who lived a simple man’s life. There are literally dozens of other examples for this disciplines evolution over the years and the Church’s maintenance of it. They are good to know, but they didn’t help me a lot when I was teenager. I just knew that I wanted meat.

If we aren’t focusing on Jesus and on the cross when we abstain from the meat, then the matter can become less about Lent and more about “should I have the meatless pizza or the grilled cheese sandwich?” We all know that it’s so much more than that.

I prefer to look at it like this: Jesus Christ, my Lord and my Savior, gave up His own body, His own flesh, that Friday so many years ago, for me and for you. He went through the pain of that self-sacrifice, completely mindful of God the Father. When I go through the incredibly minor act of abstaining from meat on Fridays, it is just one tiny act of self-sacrifice that points me back to that awful but Good Friday. That was the Friday when God loved me so much that He gave up His flesh in the most selfless act in history.
Click on the image above for more articles about Lent.
Thinking about how often my physical body can lead me into sin and away from God, it is great to have a chance to let my body help lead me out of sin and toward God. That’s the essence of what St. Peter was saying when he wrote:
“Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same thought, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin…” (1 Peter 4:1)
You see? Abstinence from meat is more than just “going without” during Lent or just a reminder that Christ offered His flesh for us on the cross. Abstinence is a form of prayer, a discipline. When we abstain from meat, we focus on Christ and on our souls, rather than on self and on our bodies. It is faith in action, placing our attention on Jesus and offering Him “our flesh” as a sacrifice (Romans 12:1-2), a vessel through which He can and does work.
They say absence makes the heart grow fonder. I guess you could say that abstinence makes the body (and soul) grow holier…if we embrace it and allow it. Meat is great, but Jesus seemed to do pretty well with just bread and fish, and so did everyone else who received the feast that day (Mt 15:34-37). Remember, God made vegetables, too.
- Mark Hart

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Woman at the Well!

It is always good to prepare for Sunday worship by praying and pondering this weekend's scriptures so that you might hear them more fully when they're proclaimed at Mass.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Hail Mary, full of Grace

John Collier's Annunciation is set in suburbia, but the symbolism is quite traditional.

Mary is reading from Isaiah about the Virgin who conceives and bears a son. The lily represents her purity, and she is welcoming St. Gabriel.

The Solemnity of the Annunciation

from a letter by Pope St Leo the Great

Lowliness is assured by majesty, weakness by power, mortality by eternity. To pay the debt of our sinful state, a nature that was incapable of suffering was joined to one that could suffer. Thus, in keeping with the healing that we needed, one and the same mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ, was able to die in one nature, and unable to die in the other.

He who is true God was therefore born in the complete and perfect nature of a true man, whole in his own nature, whole in ours. By our nature we mean what the Creator had fashioned in us from the beginning, and took to himself in order to restore it.
For in the Saviour there was no trace of what the deceiver introduced and man, being misled, allowed to enter. It does not follow that because he submitted to sharing in our human weakness he therefore shared in our sins.

He took the nature of a servant without stain of sin, enlarging our humanity without diminishing his divinity. He emptied himself; though invisible he made himself visible, though Creator and Lord of all things he chose to be one of us mortal men. Yet this was the condescension of compassion, not the loss of omnipotence. So he who in the nature of God had created man, became in the nature of a servant, man himself.

Thus the Son of God enters this lowly world. He comes down from the throne of heaven, yet does not separate himself from the Father’s glory. He is born in a new condition, by a new birth.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Sunday Word

Third Sunday of Lent
Ex 17:3-7
Rom 5:1-2,5-8
Jn 4:5-42
A modern day monologue version of the what the Woman at the well said to Jesus. This story can be found in John 4:3-30.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Marianist Discernment

Last night the Marianists hosted over thirty young men discerning their call to the religious life. Following evening prayer in the Chapel, Brother Roger led us from his family home in Westbury, Long Island to his solemn profession of chastity, poverty, obedience and stability. All vocational calls take different routes and Brother Roger's vocational path was a response to the constant call of Christ, "Come, follow me."

The discernment process can be a very anxious time, a time of great confusion and fear. But it can also be a time of great excitement, a time when one discovers the richness and diversity of the Catholic Church, when one learns really to trust in God's love and let go of the things that prevent us from being what He wants us to be.

Please pray for those young men discerning their vocation to the Marianist.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Marianist Operation Fiat

Tonight the Marianists in the Chaminade-Mineola Community will host our Spring Operation Fiat. Over thirty young men will gather to pray evening prayer and explore the possibility of a Marianist religious vocation. What a courageous act to enter into prayer and discussion to discern whether God is calling you to embrace religious life.

May God continue to shower His graces on all tonight..

Our Founder gives this explanation for the following a Marianist religious vocation:

In his letter to preachers of retreats (August 24, 1839) our Blessed founder, Father William Joseph Chaminade spoke of those qualities which "distinguish the Society of Mary and the Institute of the Daughters of Mary from the other religious orders:"

" is certainly the distinguishing character and family trait of both our Societies: we are in a special manner the auxiliaries and the instruments of the Blessed Virgin in the great work of reforming morals, of preserving and propagating the Faith, and by the fact, of sanctifying our neighbor.  She communicates to us her own zeal and entrusts to us the projects which are inspired by her almost infinite charity, and we make a vow to serve her faithfully till the end of our life, to carry out punctually all that she tells us. We are glad that we can thus spend in her service the life and stregnth that we have pledged to her. We are moreover so entirely convinced that this is the most perfect thing for us to do..."

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Prayer

Here is a beautiful way to begin the day.
A legion of classical artists took a "We Are The World" approach to "The Prayer."

Here is their amazing result:

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Sunday Word

Second Sunday of Lent
Gn 12:1-4a
2 Tm 1:8b-10
Mt 17:1-9

Been so busy this week that I almost completely forgot to post the scriptures for this weekend!
This coming weekend brings us to the Second Sunday of Lent!

There's no better way to prepare for Sunday worship than by becoming familiar, ahead of time, with the scriptures you'll hear proclaimed.  Prepare, Ponder and Pray the Scriptures. How about adopting this as a Lenten exercise?

Henri Nouwen captures this pericope from Matthew with the pastoral spirit for which we know him: “The basis of all ministry is the experience of God’s unlimited and unlimiting acceptance of us as beloved children, and acceptance so full, so total and all-embracing, that it sets us free from our compulsion to be seen, praised and admired, and free for Christ who leads us on the road of service.”

Being a hero in God’s eyes is about being a hero to others.

What we often miss in the transfiguration is that the Beloved is extending love to those whom he sends out to love the world. Perhaps he’s calling out to the hero in each of them — the desire for lowly fishermen and tax collectors to become something greater. Men on a love mission from God himself. Living lives of greatness for the purpose of loving others, not for the sake of being loved by the masses.

What has changed today? Don’t regular people want to know they are loved by their Father? Don’t they want to know how pleased he is with them? Don’t they need to be freed by love in order to love?

God has always engaged people this way — from Abraham on, the people of God are blessed to be a blessing.

Marianist Vocations: Come Follow Me

Hot Off The Press: Released from Pope Benedict XVI in anticipation of World Day of Prayer for Vocations, Fourth Sunday of Easter, 2011: "Vocations to the ministerial priesthood and to the consecrated life are first and foremost the fruit of constant contact with the living God and insistent prayer lifted up to the ‘Lord of the harvest’, whether in parish communities, in Christian families or in groups specifically devoted to prayer for vocations.

 At the beginning of His public life, the Lord called some fishermen on the shore of the Sea of Galilee: ‘Follow me and I will make you fishers of men’. … It is a challenging and uplifting invitation that Jesus addresses to those to Whom He says: ‘Follow me!’. He invites them to become His friends, to listen attentively to His word and to live with Him. He teaches them complete commitment to God and to the extension of His kingdom in accordance with the law of the Gospel. … He invites them to leave behind their own narrow agenda and their notions of self-fulfilment in order to immerse themselves in another will, the will of God, and to be guided by it. He gives them an experience of fraternity, one born of that total openness to God which becomes the hallmark of the community of Jesus”.

“It is no less challenging to follow Christ today. It means learning to keep our gaze fixed on Jesus, growing close to Him, listening to His word and encountering Him in the Sacraments; it means learning to conform our will to His. This requires a genuine school of formation for all those who would prepare themselves for the ministerial priesthood or the consecrated life under the guidance of the competent ecclesial authorities. The Lord does not fail to call people at every stage of life to share in His mission and to serve the Church in the ordained ministry and in the consecrated life”.

On Tuesday, March 22nd the Marianists of the Province of Meribah will be hosting an evening for young men interested in exploring the Marianist life. The evening will begin at 6:00 p.m. in the Chapel of Our Lady's Assumption in the Chaminade-Mineola Community with Sung Evening Prayer.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Saint Joseph's Day

You might consider buying a St Joseph's home sale kit if you are selling your house. The kit contains a little statue of St Joseph which you are supposed to bury at the property you are trying to sell. It's easy to be cynical about such a practice - there's certainly a danger it could lead to the belief that it's possible to twist God's arm through St Joseph's intercession. But on the other hand, we shouldn't be too dismissive. We all need signs of God's loving providence - it may be through the prayers of St Joseph that we receive such signs, and it seems particularly appropriate that this should be the case.
St Joseph was a central figure in the early life of Christ. Although he wasn't Jesus' biological father, it is clear from the New Testament that the relationship of St Joseph to Jesus was that of true fatherhood. The angel commands St Joseph to name Jesus, and it is through St Joseph's genealogy that Jesus is called Son of David. St Joseph's willingness to cooperate with God's divine plan and marry the Blessed Virgin Mary meant that the child Jesus was able to grow up in a loving and secure family environment. The home should be a place of love and security, and if we invite St Joseph in, it will also be a place where our life with Christ will grow and flourish.

Friday, March 18, 2011


I must admit, this past week I have been especially conscious of the frailty of flesh and of our mortality. The many people who have died recently is a vivid reminder of the limits of human control over our own life span and how we shall be called to spend it. The way our days are apportioned on this earth is less predictable and secure than we like to think.

Yesterday we prayed this line from the well known St. Patrick's Breastplate, “I bind unto myself today, the strong Name of the Trinity.”

Today I am pleased to share with you a gentle Celtic prayer: “May the Blessing of Light Be Upon You.” This prayer is also well known. It also acknowledges mortality, but does it so I feel consoled as I read it, and I would like to share that sense of consolation with you.


L:         May the blessing of light be upon you:
May you have light outside you, and light within you.
May the blessed sunlight shine on you
and warm your heart till it glows like a great fire,
so that all, whether stranger or friend,
may come and warm themselves at it.
And may light shine out of your eyes
like a candle in the window of a house,
welcoming the wanderer in out of the storm.

All:  May the blessing of the light be upon us! Amen!

L:         May the blessing of the rain be upon you -
the blessing of the soft sweet rain:
may it fall on your spirit,
so that all the little flowers may spring up
and shed their sweetness on the air.
And may the blessing of the great rains be upon you:
may they beat upon your spirit
and wash it fair and clean,
and leave there a shining pool
where the blue of heaven shines,
and sometimes a star.

All:  May the blessing of the rain be upon us!  Amen!

L:         May the blessing of the earth be upon you -
the great round earth.
May you ever have a kindly greeting for those you pass
as you’re going along the roads.
May the earth be soft under you when you rest on it,
tired at the end of the day.
And may it rest easy over you when,
at the last, you lay out under it;
may it rest so lightly over you,
that your soul may be out from under it quickly,
and up, and off, and on its way to God.

All: May the blessing of the earth be upon us! Amen!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Saint Patrick in song and prayer...

Happy St. Patrick's Day to all our readers!
May this Irish blessing grace your day and your heart...

The prayer of the Lorica (breastplate)is attributed to St. Patrick. It's a powerful text and makes for a wonderful morning prayer.

The Lorica of St. PatrickI arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through a belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
Of the Creator of creation.

I arise today
Through the strength of Christ's birth and his baptism,
Through the strength of his crucifixion and his burial,
Through the strength of his resurrection and his ascension...

I arise today
Through the strength of the love of angels...
In the hope of the resurrection,
In the prayers of ancestors in the faith,
In the preaching of the apostles,
In the faith of martyrs
In the innocence and purity of the deeds of the righteous.

I arise today
Through the strength of heaven;
Light of the sun,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of the wind,
Depth of the sea,
Stability of the earth,
Firmness of the rock.

I arise today
Through God's strength to pilot me;
God's might to uphold me,
God's wisdom to guide me,
God's eye to look before me,
God's ear to hear me,
God's word to speak for me,
God's hand to guard me,
God's way to lie before me,
God's shield to protect me,
God's hosts to save me
From snares of the devil,
From temptations of vices,
From every one who desires me ill,
Afar and anear,
Alone or in a multitude.

I summon today all these powers between me and evil,
Against every cruel merciless power that opposes my body and soul,
Against false prophets, false laws and idolatry...

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,
Christ in the heart of every one who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every one who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me,
Christ in the ear that hears me.

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through a belief in the Threeness,
Through a confession of the Oneness
Of the Creator of creation

May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rain fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the hollow of His hand.
                                                       St. Patrick (ca. 377)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


We might choose, in Lent, to fast from brooding on wrongs, old bitterness and resentment...

When we pray in the words Jesus gave us, we say, Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive forgive those who trespass against us...

We ask the Lord to use the measure of our own willingness to forgive as the measure by which he might forgive us...

That might be a dangerous prayer for us to offer...

Lent is a time to unburden old grudges and gripes, to lay those burdens down...

Forgive our sins, as we forgive,
You taught us, Lord, to pray,
But you alone can grant us grace
To live the words we say.

How can your pardon reach and bless
The unforgiving heart
That broods on wrongs and will not let
Old bitterness depart?

In blazing light your cross reveals
The truth we dimly knew:
What trivial debts are owed to us,
How great our debt to you!

Lord, cleanse the depths within our souls
And bid resentment cease.
Then, bound to all in bonds of love,
Our lives will spread your peace.
- Lyrics by Rosamund Herklots

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tuesday of the First Week of Lent

This story is told by the Jewish philosopher, Martin Buber. It's a simple story that many of us, in our busy lives, can relate to. Note how the prayer of the busy man is heard and how he is held dear by God... Note how important in the story is the time for Afternoon Prayer...
The Baal Shem said:

"Imagine a man whose business hounds him through many streets and across the marketplace the livelong day. He almost forgets there is a Maker of the world.

"Only when the time for Afternoon Prayer comes does he remember, 'I must pray.' And then, from the bottom of his heart, he heaves a sigh of regret that he has spent his day on vain and idle matters, and he runs into a bystreet and stands there and prays...

God holds him dear, very dear, and his prayer pierces the firmament.
For us, Lent is time for Afternoon Prayer...

Lent is a time-not an hour in a day but a season in a year- to remind us that it is time to stop and to pray... and to trust that God will hold each of us dear, very dear... and that our prayer, imperfect though it may be, will pierce the heavens...

Make time to pray... Take time to pray... Lent is the time, and the time is here...

Monday, March 14, 2011

Meribah welcomes Marianist General Administration

Bro. José María Alvira
The Province of Meribah welcomes two members of the General Administration of the Society of Mary this week.

Bro. José María Alvira (general assistant for education) and Fr. André Fétis (general assistant for religious life) will visit all the apostolic works of the Province of Meribah and share in the life and prayer of the Marianist Communities.

Fr. André Fétis
The two members of the General Administration will have the opportunity to meet those who share in the Marianist family. Faculty, parents, students and the many co-workers will join together later this week with the General Administration.

The Rule of Life of the Society of Mary explains their administrative toles as follows:

The Office of Religious Life cares for the spiritual development of the emembers and works.; the Office of Education is concerned with intellectual, moral, and professional formation.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Marianist Family in Japan

Tsunami by Katsushita Hokusai
News from Japan – David Herbold, SM writes to us regarding the Marianist Family

Most of the major details concerning the major earthquake and the tsunamis that struck Japan on Friday, March 11, and now the serious situation with the nuclear power plant and reactor in Fukushima, Japan are already known around the world through news reports.

As for the Marianist Family in Japan, I can report that the members of the Society of Mary and the Daughters of Mary Immaculate are OK. None of our communities or works is in the area of Japan most affected by that earthquake and the resulting tsunamis. Our communities and works in the Greater Tokyo area "felt," to say the least, the Friday earthquake (and the frequent aftershocks since then) but there have been no reports to the SM Regional Administration of any injuries or major damage.

There have been no reports to the Regional Administration of injuries to members of the MLC either. There are no MLC groups in the Sendai area itself or that general area of northeast Japan. Our new AM member is OK, I believe. We are not sure of the situation of relatives of members of the FMI or of MLC members who might be living in that part of Japan.  Although the communication situation (phones, cellphones, etc.) has been resolved in the Greater Tokyo area itself, communication problems with the northeastern part of Japan have not been resolved.

As news reports indicate, over 1000 individuals have died and over 10,000 people are still missing or unaccounted for so the death count will probably go much higher – whole towns and villages and hamlets were wiped away by the tsunami. Many groups of people are still cut off by the waters left by the tsunamis. Some 370,000 people have been evacuated from the areas most affected. The tsunami alert has been lifted, but the experts says that there could be another strong earthquake ( 7 + ) in the next two to three days.

The Bishops of Japan have asked that contributions for the victims from Catholics here in Japan be directed to Caritas Japan; we would suggest that individuals or groups in other parts of the Marianist world wishing to contribute might do so through Catholic Charities, or other such organizations, in their own countries and areas.

Dave Herbold, SM
(for Fr. Louis Shimizu, SM)

LENT is re-orienting

Lent is a time for re-orienting and refocussing our lives on the Paschal Mystery of Christ’s death and resurrection, which we prepare to celebrate at the culmination of this season. We do this through our penitential practices which, through our “giving something up for Lent”, remind us of how easily our lives can become unbalanced, giving too much attention, for example, to eating or watching television or whatever it may be. As we recognise our failings, the Church in our Lenten readings points us towards the solution: we must return to the Lord, who alone can save us, and who only asks that we turn to him, and he will heal our disloyalty.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Rest in Peace - Brother Richard Hughes, S.M.

The Province of Meribah, recommends to our fraternal prayers our dear brother, RICHARD HUGHES, of the Kellenberg Memorial Marianist Community (Uniondale), who died in the service of the Blessed Virgin Mary on March 7, 2011 in Uniondale, New York, USA, at the age of 53 with 33 years of religious profession.

Richard was born on March 14, 1957, to Richard and Doris (Reinhardt) Hughes. He grew up in Floral Park on the eastern edge of New York City with his sisters Kathleen and Theresa and his brothers Edward and Philip. Richard attended the parish school at Our Lady of the Snows in Glen Oaks, NY. His many years as a Boy Scout sparked Richard’s interest in rocks, minerals and the earth sciences; a passion that continued throughout the rest of his life.

In September of 1971, Richard began his studies at Chaminade High School in Mineola. Those first months of Marianist education influenced the rest of Richard’s life. “I first began to think of becoming part of the Society of Mary when I was a freshman,” Richard reflected many years later. “At this time, I had the opportunity of working with the Brothers on Saturdays and several free days throughout the year. I would always look forward to these Saturdays when I would be able to share in the life and work of the Brothers.”

Richard joined the Society of Mary immediately after his graduation from Chaminade in June, 1975. Bro. Richard was one of the first novices of the Meribah Province and professed his first vows on January 8, 1978. He pursued his academic and professional studies at St. John’s University (BS 1979) and Adelphi University (MS 1982).

Brother Richard began his many decades as a Marianist educator in September of 1979. Over the years, he proved his skill and versatility as a teacher of earth science, physics, mathematics and religion. He taught at Chaminade (Mineola) until 1987.

In March of 1987, Richard was chosen as one of the pioneers of a new Marianist school, Kellenberg Memorial High School, named in honor of the first bishop of Rockville Centre, Most Rev. Walter P. Kellenberg. This was to become his life’s work and his heartfelt passion. Richard immersed himself in every detail of the new school, serving as the first director of the Marianist community and the first Dean of Students of the new school. Much more of a “Martha” than a “Mary” in temperament, Richard thrived on the endless tasks and even the frequent turmoil of establishing a new school. He loved working with the young men and women of Kellenberg Memorial, particularly on service projects and retreats. Perhaps inspired by the Saturdays he remembered from his youth, Richard’s ideal weekend consisted of working with a group of students on the endless renovation of Kellenberg’s grounds and facility all morning, then marshalling the boys of his Service Club to set up and serve dinner to several hundred guests in the cafeteria in the evening. After washing all the dishes, Richard would load another group into one of the school vans and head off on the three-hour drive to Founder’s Hollow for a retreat beginning on Sunday morning.

Founder’s Hollow, the Marianist Residence and Retreat House located in the foothills of the Catskill Mountains, is Richard’s most enduring legacy to the Province. He investigated dozens of properties in pursuit of his dream of finding the ideal rural retreat where both the Brothers and students of the Province schools could enjoy the beauty of nature and the fellowship of community. Founder’s Hollow, established just weeks after the beatification of Fr. Chaminade in September, 2000 is a monument to Richard’s determination, devotion and dedication.

Although he enjoyed his school activities, Richard was also devoted to community life. As a novice he wrote: I can easily say that I feel readily at home with the Brothers of the community and that I enjoy being with them in times of work and in times of relaxation. The feeling of comfort and belonging which I experience in the community is a source of the confidence and enthusiasm with which I desire to profess my vows as a Marianist.” Richard found joy in serving his Brothers throughout his religious life. He was always ready to provide a small memento to mark a birthday or anniversary. Richard was available to drive a fellow Brother anywhere he needed to go; one Brother once joked that if someone suggested a road trip to California, Richard would have the car pulled up in the driveway ten minutes later exclaiming, “Let’s get on the road!” Travel arrangements were Richard’s forte. When he booked a trip, you would receive a small portfolio with seat assignments, boarding passes, ground transportation arrangements and hotel reservations. If he had been to the place you were visiting you would have restaurant suggestions, and foreign travellers always received an envelope of foreign currency. 

Richard’s long struggle with cancer showed his Brothers how to make life’s most important journey with patience and dignity. Richard’s unfailing good cheer and positive spirit during his almost five-year ordeal offer an inspiration and a challenge to look beyond the petty annoyances that can so preoccupy us. Even in the intense suffering of his final weeks, he never complained of pain. Shortly after 10 pm on March 7th, he opened his eyes and the pain disappeared from his face, replaced by a beautiful smile as he glimpsed the beatific vision. He died surrounded by his Brothers and his family one week before his 54th birthday.

May he rest in peace.

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Sunday Word

First Sunday of Lent

Gn 2:7-9;3:1-7
Rom 5:12-19
Mt 4:1-11

Lent invites us once again to slack off a bit. Give up something and take on something. Shake it up a bit and stir up the spiritual life a little by taking a step back.

While we might view Lent as a sure plan for a failed New Year's Resolution, the Scriptures for Sunday view Christ setting out into the desert for a different plan. He took off for the hills above Jericho, to a stony, desolate place where he accepted the spiritual discipline of fasting for 40 days and 40 nights all alone. Well, almost alone.

For Jesus, the desert temptation meant flirting with more than illusions of grandeur. And if Jesus did not think of these enticements himself, a tempter was on hand to remind him. And it turned into a war with hunger, wild beasts and the devil himself.

We are reminded that Lent is a season when we might reflect on making room for the most important things. The truth we discover, as we unplug and unwind, lies in the fact that the Spirit continues to lead human beings to a place of spiritual rest so that we might prepare for what lies ahead. Tethered only to God, we realize what truly nourishes and feeds us in lonely places.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Lent: fasting or feasting?

Lent, a time to start over, a call to transformation.  A turning away from the old self to the true self, the self God intended for us to be.  Sometimes this can seem overwhelming, especially when we reflect on our sinfulness.  However, even though the season of Lent calls for us to examine our sinfulness, the Lord also calls us to renewal. 

Let us then not dwell on our sinfulness, but learn from it and move forward this Lent, with a new spirit, as an example to others of the Lord's joy, promise and salvation.  Let us not only fast, but feast on the Lord's goodness and the goodness he calls us to!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


"Lent:  A Call to Fast and Feast:"

Fast from judging others; feast on Christ dwelling in them.
Fast from emphasis on differences; feast on the oneness of all.
Fast from the darkness around us; feast on the light of JESUS within us.
Fast from thoughts or illness; feast on the healing power of GOD.
Fast from actions that pollute; feast on deeds that purify.
Fast from discontent; feast on gratitude.
Fast from pessimism; feast on hope.
Fast from worry; feast on trust.
Fast from guilt; feast on freedom.
Fast from complaining; feast on complementing.
Fast from stress; feast on self-care.
Fast from bitterness; feast on forgiveness.
Fast from selfishness; feast on compassion for others.
Fast from apathy; feast on enthusiasm.
Fast from idle gossiping, feast on spreading the good news.
Fast from being so busy; feast on peaceful silence.
Fast from being in control; feast on letting go.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Jesus Carries the Cross

"So they took Jesus; and carrying the cross by himself, he went out to what is called The Place of the Skull, which in Hebrew is Golgotha" (John 19:16-17).

All of us know life presents us with many problems. Life gives us many difficulties and sufferings which are often very hard to bear. These crosses come in many ways: death, misfortune, poverty, illness. Sometimes the suffering comes from our own sinfulness and having to face the fact that we have made mistakes and need to seek forgiveness from God and others. This letting go of our selfish selves is not easy and can often involve painful self awareness. Sometimes the cross can come in the form of people who hurt us and whom we find difficult to get on with. Often too suffering comes when someone stands up for the right and faces rejection and derision. The cross will come in many ways for all of us.

Christ’s attitude to the cross is different. He embraces it not because he wants suffering and pain but because through his supreme act of loving sacrifice he will give everything to the Father and ultimately will find resurrection and eternal life. The Christian, in bearing the crosses of life with hope, knows that their real treasure is not in the passing wealth or health of this life but is bound up in the life giving promise of Jesus. It is finding in our helplessness and emptiness that it is the power of God working in us that will truly sustain us and ultimately bring us to eternal joy with him.

“Father, if you are willing remove this cup from me; yet not my will but yours be done” (Luke 22:42).

Monday, March 7, 2011

R.I.P. + Brother Richard

+Bro. Richard Joseph Hughes, S.M.+

The Marianist Community is sad to inform you of the death of our dear brother,
Richard Joseph Hughes, S.M.,
who passed away this evening at 10:20 p.m. after a long battle with cancer.

May he rest in peace.

Lent: God is ready to do something in your life

Where's God in my life?
Which path is God asking me to walk?
Is God on the journey with me?
Am I on the journey with God?
Do God and I have the same destination?
If I'm lost, will God find me?
Will God show me the way to peace?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Lent approaches...

Lent is a season of reconciliation, a season for reconciliation - of many kinds. We might need to be reconciled with God... We might need to be reconciled with our neighbor... We might need to be reconciled with our church... We might need to be reconciled with ourselves... We might need to be reconciled with...

Lent is a time when we can be serious about reconciliation. And if we are serious about reconciliation then we must be serious about naming where there is alienation in our lives because that's where we're in need of reconciliation...We can be quite blind about ourselves.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Sunday Word

Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Dt 11:18, 26-28, 32
Rom 3:21-25,28
Matthew 7:21-27

Starting with the words from Deuteronomy we are encouraged in Sunday's readings to "take the words of the Lord into our hearts and souls" and to choose the blessing that comes from being faithful to the Lord's word and commands. Saint Paul reminds us that we all have sinned but that through the grace of Baptism we are justified and redeemed in the blood of Christ on the Cross. 

And in the Gospel of Saint Matthew, Christ himself reminds us that unless we listen to and build our lives on the word of the Lord, we will collapse like a house built on sand that falls apart in a storm.

Jesus is attempting to tell us and show us the very will of God for us in our lives as individuals and as the community of the faithful. When we understand and believe we attempt to act accordingly. We won't be perfect, but we will make the effort. Therefore, we do not have to worry about a little black book in the hands of St. Peter. He is not checking off everything we are doing good and bad. Instead, God wants to know if we believe, if we have heard the teachings of Christ, and if we are willing to try. For in the end that is what will matter.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Sunday Sunday Sunday: 03/06/11

Get ready for Sunday:

Readings for Sunday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time: Dt 11:18, 26-28, 32; Ps 31:2-3, 3-4, 17, 25; Rom 3:21-25, 28; Mt 7:21-27

Listen to Mark Hart's podcast on this sunday's mass readings.

Characteristics of a Call to be a Marianist

An authentic call to follow Jesus in the way of Marianist spirituality always has two characteristics. The first, we have a desire to be formed in the virtues of Jesus and to have those virtues in our own life. The second characteristic of our call is the sense of mission. In taking on the virtues of Jesus, we also sense being called to work for the coming of God's Kingdom and to carry out in the world today the works of Christ. We want to become one with Jesus, living his own attitudes and dispositions.

There is a sense of urgency that burned in the heart of Jesus.

"I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!" - Lk 12:49

Thursday, March 3, 2011


Henri Nouwen, in The Way of the Heart, points out the relationship between solitude and silence to prayer:
If solitude were primarily an escape from a busy job, and silence primarily an escape from a noisy milieu, they could easily become very self-centered forms of asceticism. But solitude and silence are for prayer. The Desert Fathers did not think of solitude as being alone, but as being alone with God. They did not think of silence as not speaking, but as listening to God. Solitude and silence are the context within which prayer is practiced.
From Popes on down, silence has been valued. Pope Paul VI, on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 1964, visited Nazareth. His main teaching was on silence.

May there return to us an appreciation of this stupendous and indispensable spiritual condition," Pope Paul said, "deafened as we are by so much tumult, so much noise, so many voices of our chaotic and frenzied modern life. O silence of Nazareth, teach us the ... value of ... interior life, of secret prayer seen by God alone.

And more recently, in a talk given in October, 2006, Pope Benedict XVI took up Pope Paul's theme, saying that,

silence and contemplation have a purpose: They serve, in the distractions of daily life, to preserve permanent union with God. That is their purpose, that union with God may always be present in our souls and may transform our entire being.