Sunday, July 31, 2011

World Youth Day - Vocations Fair

The US Bishops’ Conference will host its first-ever vocations fair at a World Youth Day in Madrid on August 17.

“This is a tremendous opportunity to invite our youth to open their hearts to Christ and respond to his call to the priesthood and the consecrated life,” said Archbishop Robert Carlson of St. Louis, chairman of the bishops’ Secretariat of Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations Committee, which is co-sponsoring the event.
Parroquia San Francisco de Borja
The vocations fair will be held at Madrid’s St. Francis Borgia Parish (Parroquia San Francisco de Borja), located just across the street from the U.S. embassy.

“We are very grateful to the pastor, Father José Antonio Vitón, and to the Jesuit community and parishioners at St. Francis Borgia for allowing us to hold the Vocations Fair at their home,” Archbishop Carlson added.

The fair will begin with the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and Evening Prayer, led by Cardinal Seán O’Malley of Boston. The event will continue in the auditorium with featured speakers, opportunities for young people to interact with bishops and other activities.

Speakers include Fr. Robert Barron, university professor and founder of the global ministry “Word on Fire,” and Fr. Joseph O’Connor, vocations director for the Diocese of Syracuse, New York. Christian singer Danielle Rose will speak about discerning religious life, while religious sisters and brothers from different communities and seminarians will also offer personal testimonies.

A chapel will be available for groups and individuals to pray before the Blessed Sacrament.

Social time with bishops will include an ice cream social at 8:30 p.m. World Library Publications and Oregon Catholic Press will provide music for the event, while Salt and Light Television of Canada will film portions of the fair.

Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Indiana will close the event with Night Prayer and Benediction. 
Cardinal Seán O’Malley

Archbishop Robert Carlson

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Province of Meribah Pilgrimage

Take a look at this clip of the Love and Life Site at WYD Sydney 2008!

The Marianists - Province of Meribah Pilgrimage to World Youth Day (WYD) in Madrid will run from August 10 - 24, 2011, and a group of just under 175 young people, including Marianists and teachers, will be heading from New York(JFK) across France to Spain. En route to Madrid, we will take in Bordeaux, where Blessed William Joseph Chaminade is buried, the famous Madeleine Chapel, Lourdes, Zarragosa, the birthplace of the Society of Mary, Barcelona, Lisbon, and Madrid.

Before setting off on this pilgrimage, the pilgrims will meet at Kellenberg Memorial on Sunday, August 7 for a community-building experience, and some last minute instructions. The families of the pilgrims have been invited to Mass, followed by dinner.

Please pray for us as we prepare to go on this youth pilgrimage. will be publishing daily posts on the events of WYD as they happen.

Friday, July 29, 2011

I need You To Survive

What's a pilgrimage?

Steve Kerekas of Youth in Europe offers some thoughts on the essence of pilgrimage


Check out the Holy Father's Address about WYD Madrid 2011 and the theme he has chosen -– “Planted and built up in Jesus Christ, firm in the faith” (cf. Col 2:7). Words that will feed the journey!

Planted and built up in Jesus Christ, firm in the faith. Twitter Facebook

Thursday, July 28, 2011

World Youth Day Quiz for Pilgrims

World Youth Day Quiz for Pilgrims

For those who have attended a World Youth Day in previous years, you would know that there is a lot of time spent travelling on public transport, waiting in line for your meals, or simply waiting for the next event to start. With this in mind, Xt3 has prepared a trivia game to keep your pilgrim group occupied! I have adapted the quiz for us. See how well you do.

So, here is a 10-question True or False quiz for World Youth Day 2011. After you have gathered your group together and read out each question, asking those participating to put thier hands on their heads if they think the answer is true, or on their hips if the answer is false. If they get the answer wrong - they are out. The last one standing wins!

Here we go...
Question number ...

1. There are nine saints that have been chosen as patrons for WYD 2011..True or False

2. Pope John Paul ll was the Pope who started World Youth Day. True or False

3. Moses taught the people of Israel the ‘Our father’ which we still recite today. True or False

4. Prayer is one of the twelve fruits of the Holy Spirit. True or False

5. Mary MacKillop is the patron of Madrid, Spain. True or False

6. The term the Immaculate Conception refers to the birth of Jesus. True or False

7. Pope Benedict is the 250th Pope since Saint Peter. True or False

8. The meaning of Jesus means “God saves.” True or False

9. There are seventy-three books in the Canon of the Catholic Bible. True or False

10. The Catholic Church was founded by Saint Peter the First Pope. True or False


1. True! The are: John of the Cross, Ignatius of Loyola, Francis Xavier, Isadore the Worker, Maria of the Head, Rafael Arnaiz, John of Avila, Teresa of Avila, and Rose of Lima.

2. True! In 1984 Pope John Paul II started the first ever World Youth Day in Rome.

 3. False! Jesus gave us the Our Father prayer not Moses.

4. False! You can read the 12 fruits of the Holy Spirit in the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

5. False! St. Isadore the Worker is the patron of Madrid. His feast day is celebrated on May 15.

6. False! it refers to the doctrine that Mary was conceived without original sin in order to give birth to the Son of God.

7. False! Pope Benedict is the 265th Pope.

8. True! See question 81 in the CCCC.

9. True! There are 46 books in the Old Testament and 27 books in the New Testament.

10. False! The Catholic Church was founded by Christ but entrusted to Saint Peter who was the first Pope.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Bishop William Murphy to teach at World Youth Day

 I'm pleased to report that our ordinary, Bishop William Murphy will be present & and will be among eight U.S. Bishops to speak at 2011 Wolrd Youth Day in Madrid 
Rockville Centre Bishop William Murphy

"The Pontifical Council for the Laity chose eight bishops from around the U.S. to host English-speaking catechesis sessions for the upcoming World Youth Day in Madrid.

Over 28,000 U.S. pilgrims and 62 bishops have registered so far to participate in the global young adult event. The catechetical sessions will be held Aug. 17-19 in multiple sites around the Spanish capital’s metropolitan area.

The group of American catechists includes Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York – president of the U.S. bishops’ conference – and Archbishop Charles Chaput, newly appointed as archbishop of Philadelphia.

Other bishops speaking at the event are: Cardinal Francis George, Archbishop of Chicago; Cardinal Seán O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston; Bishop Samuel Aquila of Fargo, North Dakota; Bishop Edward Burns of Juneau, Alaska; Bishop William Murphy of Rockville Centre, New York, and Frank Caggiano, auxiliary bishop of Brooklyn.

The group will be among 250 bishop-catechists from all over the world, drawn from different countries and language groups.

Each U.S. bishop has been asked to prepare three catechetical sessions, one for each day, based on the theme for WYD Madrid 2011: “Planted and built up in Jesus Christ, firm in the faith.”

Monday, July 25, 2011

World Youth Day 2011 - Madrid

16 Days till the Province of Meribah departs for Pilgrimage, In the Footsteps of Our Founder - World Youth Day 2011. Departure is on Wednesday, August 10, 2011.

Continue to pray and don't worry.

St. James, pray for us!

Stay tuned!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Pearl is costly

This video retells today's parable in simple fashion.

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant
searching for fine pearls.
When he finds a pearl of great price,
he goes and sells all that he has and buys it.

To follow Jesus is costly – or so we tell ourselves. But how costly? Is it really costly to follow in the way of Jesus? To be sure, it will place demands on our hearts, our minds, and our souls but the big question is not how much it will cost us, it’s rather the worth what we will get. What Jesus offers us is worth any price. All the really valuable things in life need to be judged not in terms of how much they cost but what they are worth.

Some things are worth whatever they cost. Some things are worth every sacrifice and price we have to pay for them. For example the respect we receive from others. The freedom of knowing that God's sees you and respects you; what would it like to be in the presence of God without any shame? Imagine living so that you never have to apologize to anyone for anything you thought, or said, or did? What value would you put on living with yourself like that?

Let's not fool ourselves. Greatness of character comes at a price. A great life is expensive and costly. Oh, not in terms of money, with rather in terms of paying the price of giving up being lazy, of giving up our comfortable ease, of giving up self-centeredness and self-c­oncern. Being a great human being demands a lot from us. It requires discipline and self-sacrifice; it requires self-denial, hard work, and care in our relationships with others. Conversely, selfish living in smallness of heart can be terribly expensive... it can cost us some of the things that we hold most dear in life.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Sunday Word

17th Sunday in Ordinary Time
1 Kgs 3:5,7-12
Rom 8:28-30
Mt 13:44-52

Now just imagine you like got this scruffy like Galilean who comes along and like compares that ancient Hebraic concept of the kingdom of heaven to a treasure! Like how ridiculous! Or this same scruffy Jew compares the kingdom to a pearl. Come on now like! Or maybe, like, it's like a net, the kingdom of God, that is. Are you kiddin' me?
Jesus' prudent use of the word like makes the comparisons understandable.  But the word like opens the door for the rest of Jesus' description of the kingdom.
Check out Matthew 13, and you discover a whole set of rather peculiar prizes that people pursue with passion and purpose, using every ounce of their heart, soul, mind and strength. The single unifying theme is that these treasures are all illustrations of or metaphors for the kingdom of God.

“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field,” says Jesus, “which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”

Jesus then goes on to say, “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.”

The kingdom of heaven is like owning your first car, finding a treasure hidden in a field, winning the Super Bowl, finding a pearl of great value, winning the World Series Ring. But are we pursuing the kingdom of God with the passion of Wimbledon tennis players and World Series sluggers?

Earthly prizes are fairly easy to identify, whether they be winning championships or achieving goals, losing weight or getting into a good college. But heavenly prizes? These are a bit more difficult to visualize.

Still, give it a try. Imagine yourself living by the Ten Commandments … or the Sermon on the Mount. Picture yourself digging into the parables of Jesus, the letters of Paul. Commit yourself to starting each day with prayer, treating your neighbor as you would like to be treated, or serving Jesus Christ by serving the hungry or the homeless.

Each is a worthwhile goal, and each requires determination, desire and a sense of mission. Each will challenge you, reward you and turn you ever-so-slowly into someone better.

Like, WOW!

Friday, July 22, 2011

"THE WORLD is charged with the grandeur of God."

Brother Karl and Brother Benjamin certainly enjoyed their studies in Maine this summer. The intellectual knowledge that they absorbed was only outdown by the beauty that they experienced. Here are some of the sights and their pictures as they learned to capture the grandeur of God in a camera. ENJOY!
Probably one of the crowning jewels of the National Park system, Acadia National Park and nearby Bar Harbor are major destinations for summer vacations, but this summer they were the learning centers for two our Brothers who studied the natural bounty of the offshore waters and the picturesque sights of small town life on Mount Desert Island.
Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the Stone Barn Farm is well worth a view while in the area. It can be quite visually striking at different times of the day depending on the weather.
Congress allocated the necessary funds for purchasing the land and constructing the Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse on August 18, 1856. Two acres of land on the southwestern tip of the island was purchased for eighty dollars, and after the lighthouse was completed the remaining amount of $16.65 was returned to a surplus fund.  
This shows Champlain Mountain as seen from the Schooner Head Road in Bar Habor, Maine. Champlain Mountain is one of several mountains on Mount Desert Island, Maine in Acadia National Park. Its elevation is 1,058 feet (323 m) above sea level. 

And finally, I think it looks like a pompom or a pincushion... or maybe like one of those cakey snowball things with the white filling that we used to eat when we were kids. 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Science Camp for Brothers

Few summer professional development courses beat those at the College of the Atlantic near Bar Harbor, which balance fieldwork, seminar discussion, and fun in a gorgeous setting on the Maine coast. Brother Benjamin and Brother Karl engaged in a variety of life sciences and environmental studies this summer cfor two weeks.
Educators who have been to the two week program at College of the Atlantic say it’s “an amazing summer camp for teachers.” And the work will be well rewarded.

As Marianists, our primary apostolate is the education and formation of young people. Our Brothers often will engage in summer programs to assist in our educational apostolates. Through public profession of the vows of chastity, poverty, obedience, and stability along with an emphasis on family spirit and Marian devotion, our community exists for the building of the Church throughout the world and the salvation of souls.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The head of the Catholic Church, gives young people a mission, purpose, clarity and affirmation to be who they are in Christ, to use their youthfulness, zest for life and vitality to serve Christ and to make him known to the people in their lives and beyond. Each World Youth Day the Pope reminds the Universal Church that young people have a crucial place and purpose in the life of the church.
"My dear young people, I entrust to you the Cross of Christ! Carry it throughout the world as a symbol of Christ's love for humanity, and announce to everyone that only in the death and resurrection of Christ can we find salvation and redemption"(Rome, April 22, 1984).

The Province of Meribah pilgrimage is a reminder to allow Christ to be in our daily lives, in our homes, our streets and communities and our duty to proclaim the Good News.

As we begin our countdown to World Youth Day, my heartfelt plea and I am sure God’s too, is that we prepare ourselves to journey with Christ. Open your heart to what Christ is about to share with us this pilgrimage. Open your eyes and let Christ give you a glimpse into what a privilege, honor and favor we have to be given the opportunity to experience Christ in this way.

To our friends who remain home, please pray for us, pray that God will refresh and restore us this pilgrimage, pray for protection against discouragement, apathy and rejection and that we may see more and more of the people of Long Island and the United States come to and back to Christ.

I can only convey a certain amount of excitement about this pilgrimage through this blog, I encourage you to build up your own expectations and make the most of this opportunity to encounter Christ and His mother Mary in this unique and special way.

May we experience a huge outpouring of God's grace, Spirit and Love on the Island the next few weeks.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Of Gods and Men - 2

Last week I wrote a blog about the film, "Of Gods and Men," which the Brothers will have the opportunity to view during their annual renewal program. The movie dedicated to the martyred monks of Thibirine in Algeria is currently having an unexpected worldwide success.

There is the question of the encounter of peoples and cultures in the film, but also of religious life. We explore the concrete reality of religious life and the mission of the monks. In our discussions after we asked, can we perhaps use this film with young people, or even with adults, and dialogue with them about religious life? That could be an opportunity to speak about religious life and also about what they see in our own life.

One element of interest to us is that the prior of that community, Brother Christian de Chergé, and his brothers were our students in a Marianist school in Paris, at the Collège Sainte-Marie de Monceau; the school was later transferred to Antony (Institution Sainte Marie). Brother Christian attended the school from 1947 to 1954, the year of his baccalauréat (French secondary school diploma). In 1954, he was one of 7 student finalists for the Alumni Prize; in fact, that year, in the Scientific Section, he came in 1st in Physics and History, 2nd in Geography and 3rd in Mathematics, Chemistry, Natural Sciences and English, and in consequence received the 1st place Price for Excellence. But later, he would shine in a completely different way.

Brother Christian de Chergé
On May 21, 1996, the entire world learned of the death of the 7 monks, after a long wait since the day of their arrest. Shortly afterwards, at Sainte-Marie in Antony, a Mass was celebrated in their memory. The bulletin of the Marianist Province of France recounted it: ―Sunday, June 23, 1996, Memorial Mass for the 7 monks of Our Lady of the Atlas. The Prior, Brother Christian-Marie de Chergé, was an alumnus of Ste-Marie de Monceau, just as were his brothers. A very beautiful religious ceremony. Mrs. De Chergé was present with one of her sons. Father Délas presided; also on the altar, among the10 concelebrants, were Father Gizard (then Marianist Provincial of France), and Father Tutas, who was on his way to the General Chapter.

A moving moment during the ceremony occured when when a mother of a Sainte Marie student came up to read a text intended for Mrs. De Chergé: ‘Your heart, like that of Mary, has seen the sword and the brilliant happiness of the shining glory where your son awaits you. Thanks to your son, thanks to you to whom we owe your son, who from now on intercedes for us, thanks to Jesus Christ who guides certain persons through such burning paths, giving us the desire to go that way in our turn as much as possible. Please know that I pray for your son as he asked...but conscious that it is he who prays even more for the entire world, reconciled.’” (Nouvelles, no. 265, July 10, 1996, pp. 269-271)

The life of Prior Christian is in part a result of the Marianist education which he received, so let us be proud of him. This might be an additional motive for presenting his witness to our students, to young people, to our surroundings. May he be for them an invitation to courage, to fellowship and to faith. And we don’t doubt that he has not forgotten his Marianist years and that he is especially with our students and young people of today.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Sunday Word

The Brothers gathered at the end of the last Conference.

16th Sunday in Ordinary Time

“The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a man who sowed good seed in his field. While everyone was asleep his enemy came and sowed weeds all through the wheat, and then went off. When the crop grew and bore fruit, the weeds appeared as well."

Our first Province Renewal came to a close today with the celebration of Morning Prayer and Mass.
The Gospel selection from Matthew allowed us to explore God's perspective of us. God sees our potential. He recognizes all that we can be. He loves us for who we are. Sometimes that is not exactly what we see of others or even of ourselves.What Jesus is trying to teach us in Sunday's Gospel selection is to leave the judgments to Him. He knows that we are consistently off the mark when we try to make an accurate assessment of the moral character of a friend or a neighbor, and so He orders us to put our energy elsewhere.

Provincial Brother Thomas pauses with Father Joe Lackner.
We don’t have the whole picture, says Jesus.

The challenge for us is to put our energy into being good wheat, instead of trashing the weeds around us. Rather than erecting walls, building boundaries and trying to purify our own world, our job is to grow up healthy and strong — and leave the judging to Jesus.

The problem with trying to pull up weeds is that we might grab some wheat by mistake, and hurt ourselves and others who are part of the good-seed set.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Marianist Renewal Program - Day Seven

Towards the end of our renewal week, we gathered together to view the film, Of Gods and Men. Jesuit James Martin, culture editor of America magazine, shares his thoughts about the movie “Of Gods and Men.”

The eight monks in “Of Gods and Men” belong to a quiet tradition, devoting themselves to contemplation, service and humility. Their conversation is quiet, minimal and gentle, making the occasional spark of anger or glimmer of humor all the more notable. The monks spend their days tending bees, growing food and praying.

They are very much a part of everyday life in a village in the Atlas Mountains where their abbey has stood since the mid -19th century. They sell their honey in the local market and participate in rituals and celebrations with their Muslim neighbors.

One of them, Brother Luc, almost single-handedly runs a medical clinic, dispensing advice and hand-me-down shoes along with prescriptions.

The prior, Brother Christian, spends nearly as much time with the Koran as with the Bible, and he regards himself as a dedicated friend of Algeria.

The monks are clearly risking their lives — as nightly visits from armed militants make clear — but martyrdom is not part of their life. What motivates them is an adherence to an idea of compassion that leads Brother Luc to treat a wounded jihadist and Brother Christian to pray for the soul of a murderer and to  forgive his own likely assassins.

In place of a traditional soundtrack, most of the film’s music comes from the monks’ chanted prayers and the cries at nearby mosques. The notable exception — the only time recorded, secular music is heard — comes during a meal, when the monks sit and listen to a famous passage from Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake.”

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Marianist Renewal Program - Day Six

During our annual renewal, we explored the French School of Spirituality of which Blessed Chaminade was so much an integral part. Blessed Chaminade realized that the Incarnation of Christ had for its end the Redemption, our supernatural birth.

Christ's Incarnation has a direct correlation in Mary. Hence, the Incarnation leads to the Redemption; the Divine Maternity, to the Spiritual Maternity. The intimate ties relating these two functions of Mary are clear if considered in the light of our incorporation with Christ. We form with Christ but one body, the Mystical Bodv of Christ. He is Head: we are members.

For Blessed Chaminade, a disciple of Father Olier, our incorporation in Christ constitutes a central doctrine. When our Founder mentions Mary's Spiritual Maternity he seldom fails to repeat that she is our Mother because she is the Mother of Christ, and that we are one with Him -- but one Son of Mary, one Son of God. In his Memoranda of Instructions on the Blessed Virgin our Founder writes:

The . . . concurrence of Mary in the mystery of the Incarnation is the ever compelling motive of our recourse to Mary for all kinds of graces. Through her charity, voluntary and direct consent of her fiat, Mary cooperated in giving the world a Liberator. This is the underlying principle. The consequence is that God having once determined to give us Jesus Christ by the Blessed Virgin, made an unalterable decree , for ''the gifts of God are without repentance" (Rom 11:29).

Her charity having so largely contributed to our salvation in the mystery of the Incarnation, the sole principle of grace, she will eternally contribute in all its operations which are merely consequences of the mystery.

We depend on Mary for the maintenance and increase of our spiritual life as Christ depended on her for the maintenance and increase of his corporal life.

Today is the Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. Let us pray for all the Carmelites throughout the world and for those cloistered praying for the world!

This feast is also celebrated in New York in a most unusual and interesting way. Enjoy the video!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Marianist Renewal Program - Day Five

Yesterday we blessed the statute of a woman at Founder's Hollow who was rejected by her own, but managed to live a grace-filled life.
We might call her a saint. Or, as in the case of Kateri Tekakwitha, a blessed.

Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, the first Native American to be beatified. She was the only survivor from her family of origin when small pox infected her village. That's was the norm back in the ole days, before the age of vaccines and antibiotics. European settlers to the Americas had not only brought their trade and their Christian faith, unfortunately, they also brought their diseases.

Born in 1656 in the Mohawk River Valley near what would become Auriesville, New York, Tekakwitha had a Christian Algonquin mother and a pagan Mohawk warrior father. Tekakwitha's battle with the small pox left her face pock-mocked and scarred, and with very poor eyesight.

A Christian mission was erected by the Jesuits, when Tekakwitha was a teenager. She secretly began taking religious instruction with "the black robes." She was baptized in 1676, at the age of 20, and given the name Kateri.

Kateri's joy at becoming a Christian faced open hostility from the members of her tribe. Despite this rejection, she was devoted to Christ and, knowing nothing about religious life, pledged her life to Christ as a virgin, foregoing marriage and security, making her a certain outcast among her tribe.

Kateri's own words describe her courage in her adversity: 

I am not my own; I have given myself to Jesus. He must be my only love. The state of helpless poverty that may befall me if I do not marry does not frighten me. All I need is a little food and a few pieces of clothing. With the work of my hands I shall always earn what is necessary and what is left over I'll give to my relatives and to the poor. If I should become sick and unable to work, then I shall be like the Lord on the cross. He will have mercy on me and help me, I am sure.

From Blessed William Joseph Chaminade -

God is strong for our defense; but we must desire to be defended. Your salvation and your peace are in his hands; ask for them (Spirit 2, § B495).

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Marianist Renewal Program - Day Four

"We are all missionaries," Blessed William Joseph Chaminade said, "and we consider ourselves on a permanent mission" witnessing the Good News of Jesus Christ.

We carry out this mission not only in the classroom, but in so many other ways. In activities such as homeroom, retreats, days of recollection, Sodality meetings, meetings with parents of students, and extracurricular programs. The entire school community -- teachers, students, parents, friends -- is invited to take part in our mission.

Now drawing on every available educational resource, we work to transform our schools into living testimonies to the new evangelization. This is a work of our imagination. Looking for new and innovative ways to take the Good News and make it a powerful tool in today's world.

From Blessed William Joseph Chaminade -

The Lord afflicts us in diverse ways; let us profit by all our tribulations. Let nothing shake our confidence and fidelity; it is amid contradictions and tribulations that the works of God prosper, are purified and strengthened (Spirit 1, § 419).

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Marianist Renewal Program - Day Three

Each day during the Province Renewal Programs the Brothers gather together to pray before the Blessed Sacrament for vocations. Today will be no different. We will gather today at 6:00 p.m to pray for an increase of vocations. Perhaps you could join us in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament or in the comfort of your home and pray with us for an increase of Marianist vocations.

At the conclusion of Adoration (7:00 p.m.)we will sing Evening Prayer and end with a medieval Latin hymn written by St. Thomas Aquinas. I am sure you have heard the hymn before but here it is below and its translation.

Tantum ergo Sacramentum
Veneremur cernui:
Et antiquum documentum
Novo cedat ritui:
Praestet fides supplementum
Sensuum defectui.

Genitori, Genitoque
Laus et jubilatio,
Salus, honor, virtus quoque
Sit et benedictio:
Procedenti ab utroque
Compar sit laudatio. Amen.

Down in adoration falling,
Lo! the sacred Host we hail,
Lo! o'er ancient forms departing
Newer rites of grace prevail;
Faith for all defects supplying,
Where the feeble senses fail.

To the everlasting Father,
And the Son Who reigns on high
With the Holy Ghost proceeding
Forth from Each eternally,
Be salvation, honor, blessing,
Might and endless majesty. Amen.

From Blessed William Joseph Chaminade -

In the performance of my duties, I shall be guided by motives derived from religion, never by vanity or mere habit (Spirit 3, § 160).

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Marianist Renewal Program - Day Two

Marianist Joe Lackner
 Today we continued to explore the “silences” as understood by our founder Blessed William Joseph Chaminade. Marianist Joseph Lackner continued his second retreat conference on the silences in Marianist spirituality.

These silences are exercises, habits, virtues or disciplines practiced in order to come to understand and know ourselves and God better. These exercises can be transformational if they are part of oneʹs prayer and reflective life.

We reviewed and expanded the following today:

- the virtue or silence of words— the awareness of the power of our words and deliberate use of words to communicate authentically, inspirationally and lovingly.
- the silence of signs—an awareness of our non‐verbal means of communication. Eye contact, facial expressions, body language, etc. can say more than words. How do these non‐verbals speak in a Christ‐like manner to others?

- the silence of the mind—our efforts to take on the mind of Christ in such a way as to reflect Christʹs love and life in our Marianist vocation.

- silence of the imagination—we are challenged to use our imagination to create images in our mind centered on Christ’s mission and our individual role in that mission. Our imagination that encourages us to act in ways contrary to our life in Christ should be silenced.

 From the words of Blessed William Joseph Chaminade -
When Rebecca of old, the mother of Jacob, wished to obtain the blessing of Isaac, she clothed her beloved son in the garments of Esau. In like manner, Mary is unceasingly striving to clothe us in the semblance of Jesus Christ, by endeavoring to inculcate into our hearts the thoughts and sentiments of Jesus, and to bring us to a realization of our title as Christians, that is as disciples and imitators of Jesus Christ.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Marianist Renewal Program - Day One

Each year every member of the Province of Meribah sets aside two periods of time for extended prayer and reflection. The first of these periods is during Holy Week. The second period of time is the Summer Renewal Program which serves as the Annual Retreat for each Brother. For the next three weeks each member of the Province will transport themselves for one week to our residence and retreat house in upstate New York, Founder's Hollow.
Silence was the opening theme of our retreat today. It was placed in the context of our celebration of 250 years since the birth of our founder, Blesses William Joseph Chamnad. Our provincial began with this simple sentence, "What Did the Founder Teach Us About How to Pray?"

The thoughts shared were from Brother Stephen Glodek, S.M. , te former provincial of the Marianist Province of the U.S.

"As Brothers, we often are asked: What did Blessed William Joseph Chaminade, the founder of the Society of Mary, teach us about how to pray?

In his first "Rule of Life" for the Society of Mary, Father Chaminade defines two characteristic virtues of a religious of Mary: a spirit of prayer and devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Simplicity is a hallmark of Father Chaminade's method of prayer. The five key components of his method of prayer are faith, silence, and the importance of the Creed, Mary and practice.

Prayer is an exercise of faith, which takes revealed truth and roots it in the soul of the individual praying.

"The practice of absolute silence is an excellent means of arriving at the constant active presence of God", Father Chaminade said. For him, silence involved the whole person: words, signs, mind, emotions and imagination.

Father Chaminade understood meditation on the Creed as meditation on the whole mystery of Christ. The Creed is an itinerary of Christ from birth to death to resurrection. To pray its truths meditatively is to practice the life of Christ.

The Christ life for Chaminade is rooted in prayer and devotion of Mary. One of the most powerful images of Mary's role in prayer is when she is surrounded by the apostles in the Upper Room awaiting the Holy Spirit. With Mary as our center, we pray as a community, with the community and for the community.

For Chaminade, the goal of all prayer is to be transformed into Christ. Marianist prayer is about an ever-deepening resemblance to Jesus Christ, Son of God become Son of Mary for the salvation of all.

So, what better counsel could Marianists give you than to take time, be silent and see what the Scriptures tell you about how to be closer to God?"

Sunday, July 10, 2011

"Go to Joseph"

Recently during our daily reflections one of our Brothers shared how the patriarch Joseph, the son of Jacob, was in many ways a type of Joseph, the foster father of Jesus and the patron of the universal Church.

The Mass readings from Genesis over the last couple of days certainly call to mind parallels between the two Josephs. It is amazing to see some of the striking similarities:

1. Both Josephs were forced to go to Egypt – the patriarch was sold into slavery by his brothers, while the husband of Mary was forced there to avoid the wrath of Herod, who sought the infant Jesus’ life.

2. God enabled the patriarch Joseph to interpret the dreams of Pharaoh; God spoke to the Joseph, husband of Mary, through dreams. In a sense, a particular dream of the first Joseph would be fulfilled in a greater way by the second: “…and behold, the sun, the moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me.”

3. Joseph the patriarch won the favor of the most powerful king on earth, so much so that when hungry nations came to Egypt looking for food, Pharaoh could say confidently, “Go to Joseph, and what he says to you, do.”

All of us must “go to Joseph,” for he, like Mary, will lead us to the Lord.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Sunday Word

Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Is 55:10-11
Rom 8:18-23
Mt 13:1-23
Years ago, we tried to deal with the deficiencies of certain eighth grade students by establishing a 3R Program. Yep, it was those good old days of 'reading, 'riting and 'rithmetic. The program essentially planted some seeds for students who had not mastered the essentials in grade school, but were at the very brink of survival in high school. Remarkably, those 3R students learned, grew and were "encouraged" into learning the fundamentals needed for the high school environment.

In Jesus' parable this Sunday, the sower casts out seeds which fall on four different environments. The environment determines the seeds' ability to grow and survive and to bear fruit. In our Marianist schools there is a philosphy that supports this idea. The philosophy says: "Atmosphere educates."

In Sunday's parable one batch of seeds cast out by Jesus' sower landed 'on the path.' The way was smooth, but the ground was hard, compacted by back-and-forth traffic. All the seed could do was lie on top of the soil, exposed and barren. Not surprisingly, these seeds were swiftly scooped up by hungry birds.

None of us can survive in a life that is barren of beauty, devoid of decoration, empty of ritual. We need special markings and moments to help us define the parameters of our lives and the passing of our days. To this end, all of us create rituals that help guide us forward and bring us back again. Some rituals are practiced so often they become ingrained habits. We have 'morning rituals'--which help us get up and prepare to face a new day. Whether these involve a 20-minute hot shower or a 40-minute cold run through the park, these rituals help settle our souls.

Another batch of seeds cast in the parable of the sower fall onto the rocky ground. Immediately, they shoot up high stalks, for there was virtually no soil for putting down roots. But all this frantic upward growth was in vain. The first day of scorching heat withered these high stalks. They had no root system to bring them nourishment and sustain them through the fierce midday sun.

Roots are just as crucial to human beings as they are to plants. Even in this restless U-Haul culture, we still develop a sense of who we are based on where we come from. We need to get in touch with our roots. To understand who has gone before us, to know who brought the faith forward. We do need to recognize that it is the dense complexity of those roots that provides us with the solid ground we stand on and the nourishment that enable us to grow.

And even another batch of seeds described in Jesus' parable had a short life because of the company they kept. There was nothing wrong with the soil these seeds fell upon--it was deep enough, soft enough and rich enough to sustain them. But this soil also supported a fine crop of thorns or thistles. These prickly neighbors were stronger and more vigorous than the seeds of our parable. In the race for survival, the thorns won--choking out their neighboring plants.

Relationships are tricky things. We can't live without them, but sometimes we sure wish we could. On days when arguments develop, the students hate you, your co-workers mistrust you, and even the guy who bags your groceries gives you a dirty look, the possibilities of a hermit's life begin to look pretty good.

The final batch of seeds mentioned in Jesus' parable were the lucky ones. Falling onto good soil, free of weeds and sheltered from weather, these seeds sprouted and grew vigorously. Because everything was working in their favor, these seeds were able to produce a harvest that far exceeded the norm. We all have different realities with which to contend. But for the Christian, life's 'realities'--death, disease, rejection, conflict, loneliness-- do not excuse us from choice or responsibility.

Get a good look at these 4R's (Roots, Rituals, Relationships, Realities) in this week's Scripture readings before you hear them this Sunday.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Pray for Vocations

We have chosen Mary, as we well know, and we certainly had in our hearts the intent to choose her for our Mother. But, are we equally assured that, for her part, the divine Mother has made a choice of us, to have us in her special family? That is no less certain. We would not have chosen Mary, if she had not chosen us first. It is not of ourselves that we have reached this point. It is through a hidden guidance of Providence which directed our steps; which inspired in us this confidence to take for our Mother the Queen of all the world. We cannot have any doubt; it is the grace of God, and this grace, like all others, comes to us through Mary. It is through her love for us that have come the graces which have attracted us into her Society. It is, therefore, she who has chosen us; it is MARY WHO CALLED US.

Blessed William Joseph Chaminade,
Retreat 1817 to the First Marianists

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Religious life feature

The National Catholic Register featured a great  article by Dominican Brian Mullady on June 26th on religious life. If you are discerning religious life it is an excellent article for reflection.

Jesus teaches that some people are called to give up this spousal love — after the manner of this earthly world — in light of the spousal love that will be experienced in the next. “There are eunuchs who have made themselves so for the sake of the Kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:12). One should note that this renunciation of marriage is not because there is anything evil about the body or marriage. One can only freely renounce this good to live as though in heaven. Not everyone is called to do this, “but only those to whom it is given” (Matthew 19:11).

This is the origin of the religious life. The religious life is not the same as the priesthood nor is one inserted in the other. Both priests and laypeople become religious, as can be seen with religious brothers and sisters. The one is about consecrating the Eucharist; the other about living the counsels revealed by Christ — like the one concerning marriage.

Together, with one’s own will in obedience and the ability to own and use material goods in poverty, religious men and women strive to desire the perfect love of God. Since Christ sends the Holy Spirit into each baptized person’s heart with sanctifying grace, one must now live the law of God with the pure intention of divine love.

Lust wars against this. According to 1 John 2:16, three types of lust war in man against the perfection of this love: “the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life.” Christ gave three counsels of perfection that religious embrace by vow to diminish these lusts and allow us to love Christ as he loves us. Poverty roots out the lust of the eyes; chastity, the lust of the flesh; and obedience, the pride of life.

In the three vows, religious freely embrace a way of life which, if observed well, leads to being head over heels in love with Jesus. One does not give up money, marriage and freedom because these are evil. One does so for love’s sake and because we are weak regarding these things, even when healed by grace.

The real problem is not these goods, but the fact that they are the tinder of our desire to dominate and rule others. Instead of surrendering to God, people in our state between Adam’s justice and the blessedness of the saints often manipulate others in pride and possessiveness. These counsels are recommended to free us from this desire to dominate. The real issue in lust is not feelings, but power.

Some enter a religious order and are scandalized or puzzled by the fact that everyone in it is not perfect. Religious have neither more nor less problems and special personality issues than the rest of the population from which they come. Though they desire perfect love, they have yet to reach that state. Instead, they dedicate themselves to a fixed way of life that the Church in her wisdom has approved in community to aid in this struggle to experience heaven while on earth.

A very disciplined life is necessary precisely because religious are weak like others. After leaving religious life, Monica Baldwin, in Crux of My Downfall, reassessed her previous belief that she had wasted her life in the convent: “[I] was too busy finding fault with the structure to have concerned myself with the Dweller within.” With the benefit of hindsight, she noted, “Consecrated persons cannot afford to live ‘permissively.’” This life is a supernaturally founded life and great freedom, maturity and help are needed, both from God and the community to persevere in it.

Second, the fixed way of life in community offers great encouragement. The members should know they are all in the same leaky boat, all encouraged to walk on water. Jesus is there, but he acts through others.

Friendship and the companionship of others are indispensable. As Aquinas observes in the Summa Theologiae: “The happy man in this life needs friends. … He does good to them, he delights in seeing them do good, and in turn they help him and do good to him.”

Lastly, community is necessary to correct our faults. Real friends can do this.

Someone once compared community life to a heap of stones put in a can. They are rough and ready. As they turn over and over in an enclosed can, the friction rubs off the rough edges and polishes them as jewels. Listening to God in prayer and to others in the community are the best ways to work through the frustration, anger and loneliness that many of us feel in each of our vocations.

Religious life is meant to be a sign and witness to the happiness of the life of grace here on earth and in a heaven already begun. When religious are happy, mature and well adjusted in their sacrifice, then they can begin to really show the kind of joyful love Jesus has to the whole human race. What better argument that heaven is somewhere we should desire. “Not all men can receive this precept, but only those to whom it is given” (Matthew 19: 11).

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Celebration continues...

Last Friday at a supermarket in Orleans, MA, a marching band flash-mobbed a performance of Sousa's Stars and Stripes Forever.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati

This week we celebrate the feast day of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati on July 4th. He was born in Turin in 1901 and died from polio in 1925. He was a young man of deep faith who at university gathered round him a group of friends who shared the same Catholic convictions. He was an enthusiastic member of the St Vincent de Paul Society and became a Lay Dominican in 1922. He combined a devout spiritual life with energetic involvement in Catholic Action. He worked in a club for young mountaineers and 'preached' not by talking about his faith but simply by the way he responded to what life brought his way. He wrote that charity alone was not enough, social action also was needed if the poor were to be properly cared for.

Pier Giorgio's plans were to work as a lay missionary once he was a qualified engineer and then to get married. It was not God's will for him, however, as he fell gravely ill with polio and died. His family were astonished at the thousands of people who lined the streets for his funeral, not realising how many people in the city had experienced his kindness. Devotion to him continued to grow as his friends gathered for a day of recollection each year on the anniversary of his death.

Pope John Paul II beatified him in 1990 and his tomb is in the Cathedral of Turin, the Church that houses the Shroud.

At the beatification, Blessed John Paul II said of Pier, “By his example he proclaims that a life lived in Christ’s Spirit, the Spirit of the Beatitudes, is “blessed”, and that only the person who becomes a “man or woman of the Beatitudes” can succeed in communicating love and peace to others. He repeats that it is really worth giving up everything to serve the Lord. He testifies that holiness is possible for everyone, and that only the revolution of charity can enkindle the hope of a better future in the hearts of people.”

Monday, July 4, 2011


So the holiday weekend has reached its peak. Our neighbors at Eisenhower Park  produced fireworks that were more than expected. And the local entertainment is still happening. A peaceful, relaxing, sweet and Happy 4th to one and all, and safe travels to those checking in from the road.

All that said, for your holiday enjoyment, the classic that's become especially linked to these days....

In addition, the Prayer for the Nation and its church written and first delivered in August 1791 by the "Father" of the Stateside faithful, John Carroll of Baltimore, a cousin of the lone Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence:

We pray, Thee O Almighty and Eternal God! Who through Jesus Christ hast revealed Thy glory to all nations, to preserve the works of Thy mercy, that Thy Church, being spread through the whole world, may continue with unchanging faith in the confession of Thy Name.

We pray Thee, who alone art good and holy, to endow with heavenly knowledge, sincere zeal, and sanctity of life, our chief bishop, Pope N., the Vicar of Our Lord Jesus Christ, in the government of his Church; our own bishop, N., all other bishops, prelates, and pastors of the Church; and especially those who are appointed to exercise amongst us the functions of the holy ministry, and conduct Thy people into the ways of salvation.

We pray Thee O God of might, wisdom, and justice! Through whom authority is rightly administered, laws are enacted, and judgment decreed, assist with Thy Holy Spirit of counsel and fortitude the President of these United States, that his administration may be conducted in righteousness, and be eminently useful to Thy people over whom he presides; by encouraging due respect for virtue and religion; by a faithful execution of the laws in justice and mercy; and by restraining vice and immorality. Let the light of Thy divine wisdom direct the deliberations of Congress, and shine forth in all the proceedings and laws framed for our rule and government, so that they may tend to the preservation of peace, the promotion of national happiness, the increase of industry, sobriety, and useful knowledge; and may perpetuate to us the blessing of equal liberty.

We pray for his[/her] excellency, the governor of this state , for the members of the assembly, for all judges, magistrates, and other officers who are appointed to guard our political welfare, that they may be enabled, by Thy powerful protection, to discharge the duties of their respective stations with honesty and ability.

We recommend likewise, to Thy unbounded mercy, all our brethren and fellow citizens throughout the United States, that they may be blessed in the knowledge and sanctified in the observance of Thy most holy law; that they may be preserved in union, and in that peace which the world cannot give; and after enjoying the blessings of this life, be admitted to those which are eternal.

Finally, we pray to Thee, O Lord of mercy, to remember the souls of Thy servants departed who are gone before us with the sign of faith and repose in the sleep of peace; the souls of our parents, relatives, and friends; of those who, when living, were members of this congregation, and particularly of such as are lately deceased; of all benefactors who, by their donations or legacies to this Church, witnessed their zeal for the decency of divine worship and proved their claim to our grateful and charitable remembrance.

To these, O Lord, and to all that rest in Christ, grant, we beseech Thee, a place of refreshment, light, and everlasting peace, through the same Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior. Amen.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

In Christ through Mary

Today the Church celebrates another feast of our Blessed Mother under the title of the Immaculate Heart. This morning as I was walking and praying the rosary, I had a few thoughts about how much we continue to need Mary.

In the first Joyful Mystery, the Annunciation, we see how God longs to be in communication with humanity. He chose Mary as a woman of faith, “full of grace”. Through her, in the person of Jesus, our God took on human flesh and a human face, to communicate with us in a human fashion.

No doubt, it was because of Mary’s immaculate and pure heart that she was capable of such an intimate union with God, to become the Mother of God. What does this teach us today other than the importance of remaining pure of heart? Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God. (Mt 5:8)

The pursuit of purity, the desire for holiness, is God’s will for all of us. (1 Thessalonians 4:3) St. Paul goes on to say that holiness includes refraining from immorality. (1 Thess 4:4) So what does Mary have to do with our growth in holiness? St. Louis M. De Montfort has this to say in his discourse on The Secret of Mary:

It all comes to this, then. We must discover a simple means to obtain from God the grace needed to become holy. It is precisely this I wish to teach you. My contention is that you must first discover Mary if you would obtain this grace from God. (#6)

Perhaps this theology is the reason for the phrase in the Morning Offering: O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer you… Even Blessed Mother Theresa of Calcuta was fond of saying: Be only and all for Jesus, through Mary. Indeed, our every grace and blessing resides in the person of Jesus, and it was God’s will to give us His Son through Mary. No doubt, she continues to play a vital role in our life of grace and holiness today.

Mary, in her purity of heart and fullness of grace also teaches us the lesson of selfless charity. In her visitation to Elizabeth, we see how Mary immediately begins to share this gift of Christ in loving service to others. Mary teaches us the importance of living for others; in communion with others. We cannot live life only for self. We cannot live a full life in isolation from others. The fullness of life is found in giving of oneself in love and service to others.

One other interesting lesson for today’s culture has to do with Mary as the Spouse of St. Joseph. Even though God in his mystery and providence chose to allow Mary to conceive the Son of God without the benefit of “man”, God none-the-less wanted Jesus to be raised in the full context of a human family. Thus, Joseph was given to both Mary and Jesus to complete this vital link in the context of human formation and love. Through Mary, God’s plan for marriage and family are made clear.

So, on this feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, may we grow in our love and devotion for Mary. May more of God’s people discover Mary, and the role she plays in obtaining the grace we need to grow in holiness, for such growth is the work of God. Yes, it requries our attention and cooperation, but it will always be God’s work within us. Through Mary’s intercession, may more and more people desire such holiness. Through the intercession of the Immaculate Heart, may we indeed become holy, in and with and through Jesus Christ!

Immaculate Heart of Mary, Pray for us!

Bishop Paul D. Etienne
Truth in Love