Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Visitation: generosity

The-Visitation, by He Qi, China

The Gospel, today, demonstrates that with a true spirit of gratitude comes the spirit of generosity. The Magnificat teaches gratitude; the Visitation teaches generosity.

The Blessed Virgin, full of grace…
becomes a light to the world…
to us…
that learning of her cousin’s condition…
an older woman in her sixth month of pregnancy…
that she would go to Elizabeth…
to be with her…
to share with her the last months of her expectancy.

But, could we expect anything less from the one who is Full of Grace?

To be full of grace…
to truly know the generosity of God…
to be truly grateful…
Mary, herself, is generous and exhibits                                                                                                      
the great virtue of love in charity to another.

Mary, Mother of God: be my model in this spirit of gratitude and generosity…that I may grow in grace and service. Amen.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day 2011

Memorial Day Prayer

In the quiet sanctuaries of our own hearts,
let us call on the name of the One whose power over us
is great and gentle, firm and forgiving, holy and healing…

You who created us,
who sustain us,
who call us to live in peace,
hear our prayer this day.

Hear our prayer for all who have died,
whose hearts and hopes are known to you alone…

Hear our prayer for those who put the welfare of others
ahead of their own:
give us hearts as generous as theirs…

Hear our prayer for those who gave their lives
in the service of others,
and accept the gift of their sacrifice…
Help us to shape and make a world
where we will put down the arms of war
and live in the harvest of justice and peace…

Comfort those who grieve the loss of their loved ones:
in our hearts let your healing be our hope.

Hear our prayer this day
and in your mercy answer us
in the name of all that is holy.


Sunday, May 29, 2011


It is awesome to listen to Carrie Underwood using her voice to lift up praises to God Almighty! Watch this powerful and inspiring performance of “How Great Thou Art” by Carrie Underwood and Vince Gill.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Sunday Word

Sixth Sunday of Easter
Acts 8:5-8,14-17
1 Pt 3:15 - 18
Jn 14:15-21

The disciples are not into running the race alone, they don't want to cross the finish line alone.

We all have been in similar circumstances. We will do womething as long as we have someone to help us with it. If we have to do it alone, forget it.

In Sunday's Gospel the disciples see Jesus as their team leader. They signed on because they believed that God would be present in their lives, that God was trustworthy, that God was Someone who could be counted on.

Suddenly, things happen that seem to suggest that God is not with there. That Jesus has indeed left us “orphaned."

What a powerful image: orphaned. It’s the feeling that your own parents have rejected and abandoned you. Your parents! Or perhaps the parents are no longer present because of a tragedy. You are orphaned! You do not have even your closest blood relatives alive to support and encourage you.

Jesus told his disciples that he would not leave them “orphaned."

We belong to Jesus Christ, and his Spirit gives us life. This is good news for any of us who find ourselves
alone or feeling abandoned.

The Holy Spirit is also the Spirit of love. “They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me,” says Jesus to his disciples; “and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.” The love between God and Jesus is never limited to a supernatural Father-Son relationship — it spills over into our lives and saturates us with unconditional acceptance and affection.

When you are feeling defeated, love one another. “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples,” says Jesus, “if you have love for one another.”

The Spirit of truth leads us into a life of love, thus comforting us and carrying us through anything life throws at us. “I’m here,” says Jesus, in every time and place and situation.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Of God and Men

I ventured about a month ago to the town of Malverne to watch a great film. Good movies come by rarely these days, but when they are in the theaters we shouldn’t think twice about going. If we spend money for coffee or clothes, we sure can spend what we earn into something that goes beyond personal satisfaction:

We invest our resources into creative works meant to stir hearts that seek God for the grace he freely gives -- to be active, to be a part of, and to be passionately involved in his dynamic plan that points to common good.

What a powerful movie Of Gods and Men is!

Enjoy this trailer.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The month of Mary and Blessed John Henry Newman

May devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary were a prominent part of Catholic prayer life and still are in some places. The recent beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman creates a moment to examine the place of devotion to Mary in Catholic life, because he had to think himself into such devotion when, as an Anglican clergyman, he moved toward entering the Catholic Church.

Newman distinguished doctrine and devotion. He thought both gave us truth, but doctrine tells us the objective truths of God’s self-revelation and devotion tells us the subjective truths of how we relate to doctrine. When he was 15 years old, John Henry Newman had a religious experience that left him with a strong sense of doctrine. As a member of the Church of England, however, he avoided invoking saints, including the Blessed Virgin Mary.

As Newman studied the Fathers of the Church, the bishops and preachers who led the church in the first centuries after the Apostles, he saw how the apostolic church is Catholic. He at first tried to deepen the Catholic movement in the Church of England, and then he came to understand that Catholicism is anchored in the Church of Rome. Once he entered the Catholic Church, he reconsidered the relation between doctrine and devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Of the development of Marian devotion, he wrote: “The idea of the Blessed Virgin was as it were magnified in the Church of Rome, as time went on, but so were all the Christian ideas, as that of the Blessed Eucharist. The whole scene of pale, faint, distant Apostolic Christianity is seen in Rome, as through a telescope or magnifier. The harmony of the whole, however, is of course what it was.”

Newman recognized that objective doctrine and subjective devotion were intrinsically connected. Devotion protects doctrine; without appropriate devotion, a doctrine wanes in its influence on Christian life. Specifically, he related the doctrine of the Incarnation of the Eternal Son of God in Jesus of Nazareth to devotion to Mary as the Mother of God. Because Jesus had a human mother, he is truly man; because Jesus is God, Mary is the Mother of God. Devotion to Mary as Mother of God protects our belief in Jesus as true God and true man. Mary’s mission in the history of salvation is to strengthen our faith in the doctrine of the Incarnation.

Newman related the doctrine of the redemption of the human race from original sin to devotion to Mary as the Immaculate Conception. The Fathers of the Church often spoke of Mary as the New Eve. Like Eve, Mary was born without sin; unlike Eve, Mary cooperated with God’s will for her salvation and that of all his people. Mary was redeemed by Christ before she was touched by sin and was therefore able to cooperate fully in her Son’s redeeming mission. Devotion to the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary keeps the nature of our redemption foremost in our consciousness.

Newman also saw how the doctrine of Christ’s resurrection from the dead and the promise of our being raised from the dead on the last day is connected to devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, assumed into heaven. Jesus conquered death in his own flesh, and his flesh is his mother’s. Just as Jesus’ body was preserved from the corruption that follows death and then rose on the third day, so the body of the Virgin Mary was preserved from the corruption that follows death and she was assumed bodily into heaven. Devotion to the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary preserves our belief in the doctrine of the resurrection.

In Newman’s theology, devotion to Mary protects the key doctrines of the catholic and apostolic faith. He came to enjoy preaching about her and reflected on her titles in the Litany of Loreto when he preached May devotions. Our devotion to Mary, like Mary herself, always points to her divine Son and the truth about who he is.

In a moving passage in one of his conferences to mixed audiences, composed of both Protestants and Catholics, Newman wrote: “The church gives us Jesus Christ for our food, and Mary for our nursing mother. Prove to the world that you are following no false teaching, vindicate the glory of your mother Mary, whom the world blasphemes, in the very face of the world, by the simplicity of your own deportment, and the sanctity of your words and deeds. Go to her for the royal heart of innocence. She is the beautiful gift of God, which outshines the fascination of a bad world, and which no one ever sought in sincerity and was disappointed. She is the personal type and representative image of the spiritual life and renovation in grace, without which no one shall see God.”

This May, join Cardinal Newman and others in praying to the Blessed Virgin Mary. God bless you.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Francis Cardinal George, OMI
Archbishop of Chicago

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

May - Graduation

The month of May means that graduations are just around the corner. And that means graduation parties and other family events. So, let’s say you've been invited to a college graduation. And the graduating class asks you to give the commencement address. What would you say?

Some of us would probably borrow a few words from some great commencement addresses. Would you add a little pomp and circumstance to your toast of the graduating class by “borrowing” some words of wisdom from some renowned commencement speakers:

The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet. ~Aristotle

An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest. ~Author unknown, commonly attributed to Benjamin Franklin

People will frighten you about a graduation.... They use words you don't hear often: "And we wish you Godspeed." It is a warning, Godspeed. It means you are no longer welcome here at these prices. ~Bill Cosby

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.
You're on your own.
And you know what you know.
You are the guy who'll decide where to go.
~Dr. Seuss
Well, this past weekend we toasted another of our Marianist Brothers who completed the Masters Program with Ave Maria University in the Institute for Pastoral Theology. Brother David traveled for three years each month to complete his program with AMU.
Pictured to the left are Father Thomas, Brother David and Brother Michael at the Franciscan Prayer Center in Kansa City, Kansas after graduation on Sunday, May 22, 2011.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The cross stands

 Prayers for the victimes of thr tornadoes, as well as those suffering throughout the world from natural disaster, war, reisgious persecution, revolution, and economic collapse.

Sometimes a set back like this can result in a blessing.

Notice that the cross in Saint Mary's Church in Joplin, Mo. is still standing. Let us keep all in our prayers.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Did I miss something?

Last week while travelling to Queens I heard the president of the Protestant radio outreach known as Family Radio predict a major supernatural event.  Yes! It’s true! A major supernatural event ought to have occurred on Saturday, May 21, 2011!

Harold Camping has been predicting for some time that the long-awaited Rapture would occur on May 21st of this year.

Of course, he has made similar predictions before. He got his followers all worked up back in 1994 about that being the year the world would end and, well ... ah.

But this year is different! Or is it?

If you go to Family Radio’s page explaining why the Rapture is supposed to happen last Saturday, the reasoning used is weak. Here it is:
God declared in 2 Peter 3:8:

But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

God had written in the Holy Bible in Genesis 7:4:

For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth.

God added in Genesis 7:10-11:

And it came to pass after seven days, that the waters of the Flood were upon the earth. In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.

The ark that Noah had built was the only place of safety from the destruction of the Flood. Likewise, God’s gracious mercy is the only place of safety from the destruction that is coming on the Day of Judgment.

In 2 Peter 3:8, which is quoted above, Holy God reminds us that one day is as 1,000 years. Therefore, with the correct understanding that the seven days referred to in Genesis 7:4 can be understood as 7,000 years, we learn that when God told Noah there were seven days to escape worldwide destruction, He was also telling the world there would be exactly 7,000 years (one day is as 1,000 years) to escape the wrath of God that would come when He destroys the world on Judgment Day. Because Holy Infinite God is all-knowing, He knows the end from the beginning. He knew how sinful the world would become.

Seven thousand years after 4990 B.C. (the year of the Flood) is the year 2011 A.D. (our calendar).

4990 + 2011 – 1 = 7,000

One year must be subtracted in going from an Old Testament B.C. calendar date to a New Testament A.D. calendar date because the calendar does not have a year zero.

Thus Holy God is showing us by the words of 2 Peter 3:8 that he wants us to know that exactly 7,000 years after he destroyed the world with water in Noah’s day, he plans to destroy the entire world forever. Because the year 2011 A.D. is exactly 7,000 years after 4990 B.C. when the flood began, the Bible has given us absolute proof that the year 2011 is the end of the world during the Day of Judgment, which will come on the last day of the Day of Judgment.


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sunday Word: Fifth Sunday of Easter

Fifth Sunday of Easter

Acts 6:1-7
1 Pt 2:4-9
Jn 14:1-12

In today's Gospel, Jesus tells his friends:
"You know the way to the place where I'm going."

But Thomas replies,
"Lord, we don't know where you're going - how can we know the way?"

Perhaps you've been where Thomas was?

The best way to begin to prepare for Mass this weekend, the Fifth Sunday of Easter, is to read the Word ahead of time.

Do we know where the Lord is going?

Do we know the way?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Share the faith

Flannery O’Connor’s relentless, faith-driven unsentimentality extended to the Church as well as to the world: “I think that the Church is the only thing that is going to make the terrible world we are coming to endurable; the only thing that makes the Church endurable is that it is somehow the body of Christ and on this we are fed. It seems to be a fact that you have to suffer as much from the Church as for it…” And this, mind you, was written in 1955—to certain Catholic minds, the high water mark of Catholic life in these United States. One can only imagine what Flannery O’Connor would say today.

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Story of a Sign

The NFB, in association with the Cannes Short Film Corner and partner YouTube, announced that the winner of the NFB Online Competition Cannes 2008 is Alonso Alvarez Barreda for his short film Historia de un Letrero (The Story of a Sign) produced in Mexico/U.S.A.

Alonso Alvarez Barreda was born in Mexico City in 1984. He met Alejandro Monteverde, who was still in film school, and since then Alejandro became his friend and mentor. Alonso wrote, produced and directed his first short film, called El Algodonero. His second short film, Historia de un Letrero, was named best short film in the Festival Internacional de Cine en Corto and also won the Hispanoamerican jury award in the Short Shorts Film Festival in Mexico City.

It has also been an official selection at the San Diego Latino Film Festival, Cine Festival in San Antonio, Texas, Short Shorts Film Festival Monterrey and Morelos, and in the Short Film Corner in Cannes.

With a stroke of the pen, a stranger transforms the afternoon for another man in this emotionally stirring short film by Alonso Alvarez....

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Marian Mosaic in Vatican Square

Yesterday we celebrated the birthday of the late Blessed Pope John Paul II. Beloved by many of us, John Paul wove his way into our hearts with his charisma, intelligence, and most of all, holiness. What a gift that amid the tensions and controversies of our day, God saw fit to bless us with the leadership of this holy man.

Here is a fascinating story of the Marian mosaic as told by David Kerr.

Vatican City, May 18, 2011 / 05:05 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Blessed Pope John Paul II was born on May 18, 1920. Today, one of his closest colleagues revealed the true story behind the mosaic of Our Lady the late Pope had installed in St. Peter’s Square.

“After the assassination attempt on May 13, 1981, Vatican officials were evaluating the possibility of placing a plaque, or some visible sign, in St. Peter’s Square in the area where the Pope had been shot, in remembrance of a painful page in the history of the Church but also as testimony of divine protection,” Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re wrote in the May 18 edition of the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano.

Cardinal Re was a senior figure in the Congregation for Bishops and the Vatican Secretariat of State during the pontificate of Pope John Paul.

“John Paul II, convinced that the Virgin Mary had protected him on that day, immediately expressed the desire that an image of the Madonna be placed in the square.” Cardinal Re added that Pope John Paul had also become aware that there was something “missing” from the St. Peter’s Square up until that time – an image of Our Lady.

So in the summer of 1981, then-Bishop Re was asked to join a small group charged with devising solutions. Their deliberations didn’t take long.

“Two hours later, we were standing in St. Peter’s Square and Monsignor Fallani (who was in charge of conservation in the Vatican) pointed to a window of the Apostolic Palace where the mosaic is now placed and said, ‘For me, a solution which works well for the setting of this square is a mosaic placed in the travertine frame of that window up there.’ He then asked what was behind that particular window.”

Cardinal Re said he explained that it was the room “where two sisters did some typing for the Secretariat of State, but that it was a large room and had another side window.”

So the group had decided upon a location and the use of a mosaic, but which image of Our Lady to use?

“Once again, the Pope offered his opinion that he would like a representation of Mary as Mother of the Church, because, he explained, ‘the Mother of God has always been united with the Church and has been particularly close during difficult moments in its history.’ He added that he was personally convinced that the Virgin Mary was in St. Peter’s Square on May 13, to save the life of the Pope,” Cardinal Re wrote.

The exact image was taken from an ancient painting of the Madonna and child that had a long history. It was housed in the old St. Peter’s Basilica, built in the 4th century by the Emperor Constantine, and then later in the present St. Peter’s, built in the 16th century under the guidance of Michelangelo. Finally, in 1964, the image was restored and renamed “Mater Ecclesiae” to mark the Second Vatican Council’s proclamation of Mary as “Mother of the Church,” Cardinal Re explained.

“On December 8th, 1981, John Paul II, before the recitation of the Angelus, blessed the Marian image, a sign of heavenly protection on the Pontiff, on the Church and on all who come to St. Peter’s Square.”

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

ROME • Marianist Brother Daniel among those installed as lectors

 ROME • Among those installed as lectors and acolytes at the International Marianist Seminary was seminarian Brother Daniel who was were instituted into the ministry of lector during a celebration of the Eucharist recently.

Brother Daniel, at left, of the Province of Meribah , who is in his first year of theological studies, was among those seminarians instituted. The 14th Superior General of the Society of Mary, Fr. Manuel Cortes, S.M., celebrated the Mass and instituted the new lectors.

Proclaiming the Word of God today will result in the change, transformation, conversion and renewal of those who proclaim it as well as hearers and the worldwide church.
Handing the book of Sacred Scriptures to each seminarian, he said, “Take this book of holy Scripture and be faithful in handing on the Word of God so that it may grow strong in the hearts of his people.” The institution as lector is one of the ministerial steps leading towards diaconal and priestly ordination.

As the rite indicates, a lector is charged with preaching the Word of God in the liturgical assembly, instructing children and adults in the faith, and preparing all to receive the sacraments worthily.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tim Hawkins - Take the reel

One of the favorite spiritual music videos our Marianist high school students enjoy is one where Jesus takes the wheel. Now, our comedian Tim Hawkins has reworked the video song. Of course, all his re-worked songs are well done without fail. Enjoy!

Monday, May 16, 2011

May: the month of Mary

St. Josemaria Escrivan wrote in  “The Way"
Love our Lady. And she will obtain abundant grace to help you conquer in your daily struggle. And the enemy will gain nothing by those perversities that seem to boil up continually within you, trying to engulf in their fragrant corruption the high ideals, those sublime commands that Christ himself has placed in your heart. Serviam! — ‘I will serve!'
Meantime, I join my small voice with those of so many others: “Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Fourth Sunday of Easter (Good Shepherd/Vocation Sunday)

Christ, the Good Shepherd
Catacombs of St. Priscilla
Acts 13:14, 43-52
Revelation 7:9, 14b-17
John 10:27-30

Good Shepherd Sunday is the Fourth Sunday of Easter in our liturgical calendar. The name derives from the Gospel readings on this day which are taken from the 10th chapter of John. In recent times this day has also become known as Vocations Sunday, a day on which prayers should be said for vocations to the priesthood and religious life. The image of the shepherd and his sheep is a very old one in Scripture. We have the popular images of Jesus the Good Shepherd. In some we see Jesus holding a lamb over his shoulders. Or we have a smiling Jesus sitting under a tree, with a cute little lamb on his lap. A shepherd in those days didn’t walk behind the flock beating them with a stick to keep them moving. He walked in front of them, seeking out a safe path to food and water and shelter. The sheep followed him, because they recognized his voice, and they trusted him. Jesus tells us that kind of Good Shepherd he is. He leads, and we follow.

The readings are intimately linked with the second theme of this Sunday. Not only is it Good Shepherd Sunday, it is also “Vocations Sunday.” On this day we are especially asked first of all to pray that the Church may be provided with the leaders needed to do its work of spreading the Gospel. Let us pray to the Lord that we may be His good sheep, listening attentively to His voice, and follow His example of self-giving love. Let us also pray for all our shepherds. May they follow the example of Jesus who was willing to serve and lay down His life for His sheep. Jesus our Shepherd is the Way, Truth and Life. He is the one who goes after the lost sheep leaving the ninety-nine to bring it back to the fold. Today let us pray for vocations to the priesthood and religious life, that many will be inspired to show true love, to the point of sacrificing many other attractive options to become consecrated to Jesus, to follow him in religious life.

Can any serious Christian say that they haven't at some point asked in prayer what it was that God wanted of them? Is God calling me in some way, at some time, to some place to follow Him more closely? Conversion is usually accompanied by this desire to serve - to surrender oneself to the will of God. On times of discernment the prayer used by Blessed John Henry Newman clearly expressed this sentiment:

God has created me to do Him some definite service; He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission—I never may know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. Somehow I am necessary for His purposes, as necessary in my place as an Archangel in his—if, indeed, I fail, He can raise another, as He could make the stones children of Abraham. Yet I have a part in this great work; I am a link in a chain, a bond of connexion between persons. He has not created me for naught. I shall do good, I shall do His work; I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place, while not intending it, if I do but keep His commandments and serve Him in my calling.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Ready to hear the Word

Tomorrow, the Fourth Sunday of Easter, is known as Good Shepherd Sunday because the day's Gospel always features this image of the Lord. You still have time to review the scriptures for this Sunday's Mass and be better prepared to hear the Lord's Word when it's proclaimed in the liturgy.

It's amazing the difference a little time at home can make when listening to the scriptures in church...

Here's another setting of Psalm 23, by Michael Card:

Friday, May 13, 2011

Sunday Word

This weekend we celebrate the Fourth Sunday of Easter, sometimes called Good Shepherd Sunday.

The music below is John Rutter's setting of Psalm 23 from his Requiem, sung by the Cambridge Singers.

I am the good shepherd,
and I know mine and mine know me,
just as the Father knows me and I know the Father;
and I will lay down my life for the sheep.
I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold.
These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice,
and there will be one flock, one shepherd.
-John 10:14-16

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Underground Payer

I have posted below a fine reflection on Underground Prayer by Deacon Greg over at All Things New. Doing some people watching on the train, Greg muses on a woman quietly praying the rosary. It is interesting how often, in crowded places, we sit or stand or pass by others who, in the quiet sanctuary of their hearts, are praying...

Are there not times when we might be praying when no one around knows the conversation taking place in our hearts?

I sometimes pray while driving and I wonder how many other drivers on the road are also speaking with the Lord...

Do you pray quietly while among other people?

All Things New
Underground Prayer

Subways are mysterious; they shouldn't work, but they do. And sometimes their mysteries become enhanced by grace.

By Deacon Greg Kandra, May 10, 2011

You can tell a lot about people by what they do on the subway.

In the early hours of a weekday morning, heading to work, we are transients. We have no home but that subway car. For a few minutes, we are co-habitants: neighbors, bound by time and space and dirty plastic seats, blinking at one another as the lights flicker, the windows rattle, and the stops go hurtling by in a blizzard of white tile.

I'm taking the train earlier these days; I usually step onto the subway platform around 7:30. It's easier to get a seat on the local. But sometimes I'll take the express, and stand, and spend a few moments struggling to stay awake. It's interesting to see what people are doing at that hour.

A lot of people do the Sudoku puzzle these days. A few still struggle with the crossword. Some take the Times, and fold it into long rectangles for easy reading (a peculiar New York form of origami, I think.) Increasingly, people are reading a Kindle or Nook. Some are clutching paperbacks by Grisham or King or Steele. Once in a while, a young man with a yarmulke, dressed in black, will step onto the train and crack open a book of Hebrew. Sometimes, I'll see older ladies with little pamphlets, reading lessons from the Bible.
But the other day, while I was unfolding my New York Post—there's a confession for you!—I caught sight of a very serious young woman seated across from me, hands folded, eyes closed. Her lips moved. And as I looked down at her hands, I noticed they were fingering beads.

She was praying the rosary.

I've seen that before; like that folded New York Times, it's a peculiar New York phenomenon, a prayerful habit that suggests that we are a distinctly devout city, full of immigrants and varied cultures that are constantly rubbing up against each other and giving people a lot of reasons to pray. But this morning, I found it unexpectedly moving. This young woman was in prayer. But a special, profoundly personal kind of prayer.

Pray for us sinners, now and a t the hour of our death, Amen.

In a hole in the ground, clattering under a river, surrounded by darkness and strangers, one of the anonymous throng that had been herded into a tin box was praying to a woman full of grace.

Subways are a mystery—they shouldn't work, but they do, and it's a minor miracle we aren't swallowed alive by the earth. But that morning, one of our neighbors on the subway—a traveler on this journey, a fellow transient, a pilgrim bound for points unknown—was embracing another mystery. She was holding it in her hands.

As I thought about that, and looked around the subway car, I understood that we had become a kind of church, each of us deep into our own silent prayers of Sudoku or Cindy Adams or Thomas Friedman.

Or Mary.

During this month devoted to her, at churches around the globe, there will be processions and crownings, hymns and devotions. My own parish in Queens likes to stage a "living rosary" every May, with sixty people outside the church, each representing a bead, saying aloud that ancient prayer of the church that continues to offer so many solace and inspiration and peace.

But on any given day, you don't have to look far to see that prayer come alive. Any subway car will do.

I looked again at the woman with the rosary and saw her smile to herself. And I smiled, too.

A subway car of strangers was no longer full of people.

To those who choose to believe, it was full of grace.

A Retreat for College-Age Men

Change of dates!

The Province of Meribah
is sponsoring

A Retreat for College-Age Men

Same place, new dates!!!!
(to accommodate everyone who is finishing the spring semester a little later than we had anticipated.)

Where? Founder’s Hollow
484 Bone Hollow Road
Accord, New York

When? NEW DATES: Tuesday, May 24 through Thursday, May 26, 2011

A bus will leave from Chaminade High School.
Meet in Chaminade’s cafeteria: 5:30 p.m.
Departure for Founder’s: 6:00 p.m.
Arrival at Founder’s: 9:00 p.m.

That same bus will leave Founder’s Hollow at around noon on Thursday, May 26 and arrive back at Chaminade by 3:00 p.m.

You may, of course, drive to and from Founder’s Hollow on your own, and come for any and all of the program.

Interested in attending? Email Bro. Stephen Balletta at sballetta@chaminade-hs.org

Spread the word.
Tell your friends.
We had a great retreat experience at Meribah this past January.
We’re hoping to do the same at Founder’s Hollow this month.
All college-age men are welcome to attend.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Bobby McFerrin - Ave Maria

This video features Bobby McFerrin and a huge audience. It includes a lengthy introduction by McFerrin, but the music will soon follow. As McFerrin instructs, the Bach-Gounod setting of the Ave Maria is the combination of two musical pieces. A Bach prelude is the foundation and the Gounod setting of the Marian prayer sits atop it - tenderly and delicately so.

Besides the beauty of the composition, it is particularly moving for the way McFerrin pulls together the voice of a large audience with his simple and amazing vocalizing of the prelude.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

Julia Ward Howe

The history of Mother's Day has many roots and cultural expressions. In the United States, some trace our American observance of this day to Anna Jarvis in 1912. Jarvis held a memorial for her own mother two years after her death and then thought to make such a remembrance a national holiday - an effort in which she succeeded. Eventually, however, Jarvis campaigned against Mother's Day because of its commercialization. Her obituary in the New York Times notes that she became embittered because too many people sent their mothers a printed greeting card. Jarvis said, "A printed card means nothing except that you are too lazy to write to the woman who has done more for you than anyone in the world. And candy! You take a box to Mother—and then eat most of it yourself. A pretty sentiment!"

But, then there is Julia Ward Howe, the lyricist for the Battle Hymn of the Republic. Howe's Mother's Day Proclamation, written in 1870 was a pacifist reaction to the carnage of the Civil War. Her cry sounds remarkably contemporary for a piece written over a century ago:

Mother's Day Proclamation
Arise, then, women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts,

whether our baptism be of water or of tears!
Say firmly:
"We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage,
for caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country,
will be too tender of those of another country
to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."

From the bosom of the devastated Earth a voice goes up with our own.
It says:
"Disarm! Disarm!
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice."
Blood does not wipe out dishonor, nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil
at the summons of war,
let women now leave all that may be left of home
for a great and earnest day of counsel.

Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
whereby the great human family can live in peace,
each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
but of God.

In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
that a general congress of women without limit of nationality
may be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
and at the earliest period consistent with its objects,
to promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
the amicable settlement of international questions,
the great and general interests of peace.
This Mother's Day, let's turn our hearts to Mary, the Mother of God, the Mother of Jesus and all of us, his sisters and brothers. With a mother's care she raised the Christ child and lived the joy and the grief that only a mother can know. Whatever our spirits on this Mother's Day weekend, the Mother of Jesus embraces us all, so let us pray...
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you.
Blessed are you among women
and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

"And they recognized Him in the breaking of the bread."

Both of our Marianist high schools commission a selective group of students to assist at the Student Body Masses, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, distribution of Holy Communion to the Sick and Elderly, Midday Prayer and all the other liturgical functions in the schools. Recently the two high schools inducted close to 90 juniors to assist the school and community.

Their families were able to witness their commissioning at one of the high schools.
The Kearney clan gathered afterwards for brunch.
Connor Barrett and family after the Commissioning Ceremony.
Just a small part of the Connolly family gathered in the Millennium Room. 
Pictured are the newly commissioned Special Ministers of the Eucharist with Marianists Brother Michael & Father Thomas as well as a close friend of the Marianists, Monsignor Robert Morrissey.
Father Thomas prepares to proclaim the Gospel.
The New Ministers listen carefully to the first reading.
Junior Martin Dara reads the Prayer of the Faithful petitions.
Ailie Posillico dirtributes the Body of Christ to the freshmen in the Gymnasium Mass.
Noelle Harvey gathered with family after the Mass.
Sean Doctor and his mother pause for a moment.
Kevin Liddy and his mother smile for the camera.
The Anding clan share their joy with their Special Minister of the Eucharist.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Retreat for College-Age Men

The Province of Meribah


A Retreat for College-Age Men

Founder’s Hollow
484 Bone Hollow Road
Accord, New York

Sunday, May 15 through Tuesday, May 17, 2011 

A bus will leave from Kellenberg Memorial High School, following Adoration and the Recitation of the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary there.

Adoration/Recitation: 5:00 p.m. 
Refreshments at KMHS: 6:00 p.m. 
Departure for Founder’s: 6:45 p.m. 
Arrival at Founder’s: 9:30 p.m.

That same bus will leave Founder’s Hollow at noon on
Tuesday, May 17 and arrive back at Kellenberg by 3:00 p.m.

You may, of course, drive to and from Founder’s Hollow on your own, and come for any and all of the program.

Interested in attending? Email Bro. Stephen Balletta at
Office: 516-742-5555, ext. 534
Cell: 516-589-0165
Spread the word. Tell your friends. We had a great retreat experience at Meribah this past January. We’re hoping to do the same at Founder’s Hollow this month. College-age men who have graduated from either Kellenberg Memorial High School or Chaminade High School are welcome to attend.

Thursday, May 5, 2011


The Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George are grateful for their Junior Professed Sisters who renewed their vows on April 11th. Among these Sisters is Kellenberg graduate Sr. M. Pauline (Erica Cuerbo) located in the back row right.
Sister M. Pauline - Serves at the residence of Cardinal Rigali in Philadelphia, PA
Kellenberg graduate Erica Cuerbo

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Don't be afraid!

The resurrection is often approached with a grim seriousness that easily blinds us to the delicious beauty in God’s Word.

Did you see any super-hero who descended from the heavens, in an earthquake at the resuurection? No!

So, who did you see? We see someone who came in the form of lightning - and was dressed in human clothing! I wonder: what did well-dressed lightning wear in first century Jerusalem?

We know the color was bright white - but what about the style?
That lightning probably prefered clothes with a looser fit.

And imagine how quickly lightning goes through new clothes! So we have this angel who looks like lightning, dressed to the 9’s, who rolls - back - the - stone - sealing - the tomb… and takes a seat on it!

This is some cool 'dude' angel. Just hot as lightning – but still cool!

And the Lightning-Angel speaks to the two women:

Take it easy... Chill! Don’t be afraid. But they are afraid! The guards are frozen in their fear and the two women are frightened…and grieving, and disappointed, depressed, defeated, confused, overwhelmed, hopeless, and bereft of their friend, the Teacher, the Master – Jesus.

If the message of Easter is "Don't be afraid..." then we need to ask ourselves, "What do we fear?" this Easter 2011?

What are the fears, the disappointments, the confusion, the grief, the hopelessness, the losses in our lives in need an earthquake and Lightning-Angel to help us confront our difficulties and begin to believe, again, that no matter how great the pain, even the pain of death, Jesus, our friend, our Teacher and Master is with us through it all and that he knows the way out – not just the way to Galilee – but the way out of death to life.

Jesus didn’t spend long in the tomb himself and he doesn’t want us to hang around there, either.

He wants to bring us from fear to confidence, from hopelessness to trust, from grief to joy, from confusion to understanding, from depression to serenity, from loss to fulfillment - and from defeat to victory.

The message of the angel is the message of Easter: "Don’t be afraid,” says the Lord, “I have walked this road already and I walk it with you now and I go before you...  Don’t be afraid.”