Monday, July 30, 2012

Marianist Monday

Just a while ago I offered a young person contemplating a religious vocation a series of reflections from the twentieth century writer C.S. Lewis. In reviewing sections of this book by Lewis I noticed he brings together so many themes on vocations.

 . . . it is not so much of our time and so much of our attention that God demands; it is not even all our time and all our attention; it is ourselves. For each of us the Baptist’s words are true: “He must increase and I decrease.” He will be infinitely merciful to our repeated failures; I know no promise that He will accept a deliberate compromise. For He has, in the last resort, nothing to give us but Himself; and He can give that only insofar as our self-affirming will retires and makes room for Him in our souls. Let us make up our minds to it; there will be nothing “of our own” left over to live on, no “ordinary” life. I do not mean that each of us will necessarily be called to be a martyr or even an ascetic. That’s as may be. For some (nobody knows which) the Christian life will include much leisure, many occupations we naturally like. But these will be received from God’s hands. In a perfect Christian they would be as much part of his “religion,” his “service,” as his hardest duties, and his feasts would be as Christian as his fasts. What cannot be admitted – what must exist only as an undefeated but daily resisted enemy – is the idea of something that is “our own,” some area in which we are to be “out of school,” on which God has no claim.
                                                        - “A Slip of the Tongue,” in The Weight of Glory by C. S. Lewis

This quotation offers the broad view and reminds me that God is asking for the whole of our lives, and for every part that fits into that whole.

I love the way Lewis insists that all of life must be sacrificed to God, but also that giving God everything may well include doing many things we enjoy.

This quotation begins to sort through the relationship between faith and academic study. One may be afraid that perhaps they should give up studying and do something completely different.

It was really helpful to realize that God’s calling might well embrace many things that one enjoys, including the pursuit of study. It was also helpful to realize that the things one enjoys could be offered to God as well as the difficult things. It is difficult to give all our work to God, the parts we enjoy and the parts we don’t.

What are you enjoying about your academic vocation this summer? How can you see God’s presence in those things? In what areas of your academic life are you tempted to see things as “your own” and not God’s? What helps you to invite Him into those things?

Sunday, July 29, 2012

In anticipation of her 9th birthday, Rachel Beckwith informed her mom that she didn’t want presents; instead, she asked friends and family to donate $9 to charity: water, so that kids her age in Africa would have clean water to drink.

She fell shy of her goal of $300, which is enough to give 15 people clean drinking water. But she pledged to do better when her 10th birthday rolled around. Tragically, Rachel was killed in a car accident in Seattle just a month after turning 9. But that wasn’t the end of the story. It was just the beginning.

 Watch the video and be moved, uplifted and humbled.
Rachel Beckwith's Mom Visits Ethiopia. from charity: water on Vimeo.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Jesus - A buffet of blessing

If we take a look at this Sunday's Gospel selection we could certainly use it as an excuse to paint a very attractive but dangerously inaccurate picture of Jesus. The temptation is to see Jesus — who can walk on water, heal the sick, raise the dead and apparently calm not only the seas but my stomach — the same way that crowd did.

The temptation is to see a Savior who’s here to simply meet your needs and make your troubles melt away. One can easily begin to see Jesus as a short-order Savior, here to quench all our earthly cravings. In fact, Saint John tells us the people were so moved by the miracle that they wanted to throw a crown on Jesus and anoint him as their king right there, on the spot! Perhaps they were thinking, “Hey, with this guy in power, life will be one nonstop buffet of blessing!”

If we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll admit that many of us first approach Jesus with precisely the same attitude. Our lives are filled with cravings for things such as security, well-being and peaceful relationships.

Even the way many of us shop for actual food offers a striking metaphor of our search for satisfaction. Warehouse stores such as BJ's and Costco allow shoppers to load up on life’s necessities at bargain prices and in bulk, working on the idea that life is better when you can buy more. And the stores offer deals on everything imaginable.

Many of us shop for fulfillment like we shop for groceries. We walk through life loading our massive cart full of stuff that we hope will cure our cravings for the perfect life. And at some point, after hearing rumors of his power and talk of his miracles, we make our way to Jesus. Just like everything else, we throw him into our cart, too, attempting — just like the hungry crowds of John’s Gospel — to anoint Jesus as the ultimate means to all our shallow, earthly ends. In the process, even Jesus becomes just another ingredient in a game we play where the goal is simply to get what we want. It’s a journey that, in the end, proves unfulfilling.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Sunday's Word

Sunday's Word invites us to unity. St.Paul desires unity. The Jew-Gentile thing is bothering him. In just three verses, the word "one" shows up seven times referring to an element of faith shared by those divided. Paul wants singularity. Harmony through a shared identity. But we can't be naive about unity like this. It doesn't come naturally, or easily. Paul says we must make every effort to maintain it.

Unity is like keeping a clean house. It isn't the result of cleaning just once. A clean house must be maintained and attended to -- on a regular basis. Our relationships are no different. Think of the small group, the committee or the volunteer team. We all bring the same thing to those settings -- ourselves. We bring our brokenness to bear on our relationships. Like clean houses, our relationships will degrade unless regularly maintained.

Paul has cultural reconciliation in mind in this passage, but we must apply the appeal for unity to all forms of division. With the grip strength of ants in a flood, an interconnected community requires so much external force to break it apart that it can survive for huge stretches of time against adversity. The apostle doesn't care if it doesn't seem natural. Unity is something you work at, even if it's sometimes painful.

The church is intended to be a body living out the mission and purpose of God from the church and to the world. But to get there God envisions us to make missionaries.

Ask the average adult how we grow spiritually, and you'll probably receive a smattering of answers addressing good preaching, devotional life and small group discussion.

But ask most college students, and they will tell you about the mission trip . They'll talk about being asked to lead freshmen when they were seniors. They'll share how their faith and comfort were stretched by feeding the homeless. Maybe we need to learn from ants and students? Is it possible that mission leads to maturation? That the fruit of service is spiritual growth?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

New Auxiliary Bishops

Our Diocese of Rockville Centre witnessed the ordination of two new auxiliary bishops yesterday. 

Bishop William Murphy of Rockville Centre welcomed the appointments.

“I wish to express my fervent thanks to the Holy Father for responding so quickly to my request for two auxiliary bishops to help me pastor this fifth largest diocese in our nation,” he said at a June 8 press conference with the bishops-designate.

“Dear friends, this is great news. We thank the Lord and his Blessed Mother. Praised be Jesus Christ!”

The new bishops are John Brennan of the Diocese of Rockville Centre and Nelson J. Perez of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

“I hope and pray I am up to the task,” Bishop Brennan said. “I would like to especially thank the Holy Father who has extended this call to serve the Lord in a new way. I ask your prayers that I may offer to the Lord and you my joyful, humble loving service.”

Bishop Perez addressed Bishop Murphy and the faithful of the diocese.

“I come to all of you with a deep love for the Lord, his Church, and a profound love for the priesthood, that I received as a wonderful gift 23 years ago,” he said.

“I am filled with excitement and enthusiasm to get to know my brother priests, deacons, religious and faithful of this great diocese and learn all I can possibly learn to serve you, with the grace of God, to the very best of my ability.”

Bishop Brennan was born in New York on June 7, 1962 and ordained a priest in 1989. He has been a pastor in several parishes and served as private secretary to bishops of Rockville Centre. He has also served as vicar-general of the Diocese of Rockville Centre since 2002 and will continue in that position.

Bishop Perez was born in Miami, Florida on June 16, 1961 and was ordained a priest in 1989. His parents were immigrants from Cuba. He has served at several Philadelphia-area parishes and taught at La Salle University and St. Charles Borromeo Seminary. He also worked in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s Office for Hispanic Catholics.

He will serve as vicar for the Rockville Centre diocese’s Eastern Region, filling the role of Bishop Peter Libasci who now heads the Diocese of Manchester in New Hampshire.

Bishop Murphy praised the new bishops.

“God has blessed this Diocese with good and holy priests and now two new auxiliary bishops, one a native son, the second, a Cuban American,” he said.

The bishop prayed that God grant the archdiocese “the grace, the healing, and the wisdom to face the many challenges that it confronts.”

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Happy St. James Day

Last summer our World Youth Day Pilgrims travelled to Spain to celebrate with the Holy Father and over a million young people. As part of the pilgrimage we visited the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela. There we had the opportunity to celebrate the life and deeds of James, son of Zebedee.
The memories of that pilgrimage filters back today on Saint James' Day (Santiago Apostol). Saint James was one of Jesus' first disciples. Some Christians believe that his remains are buried in Santiago de Compostela in Spain.

Many events are organized on and before Saint James' Day in the Basque Country and Galicia.
These include:

•Special church services to honor the life and work of Saint James.
•Exhibitions of art work by artists born or living in or near Santiago de Compostela.
•Theatre productions and street shows.
•Concerts of modern and traditional music, including bagpipe performances.
•Traditional dance events held outside.

Special services are held in the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela on July 25. Church officials swing a large incense burner at full speed during this service. They fill the whole church with incense smoke.

St James, son of Zebedee, was an apostles and a brother of John the Apostle, according to Christian belief. He lived at the same time as Jesus. He may have traveled to the area that is now Santiago de Compostela.

St James was beheaded in Judea in the year 44 A.D. Some Christians believe that his disciples carried his body by sea to Padrón on the Galician coast. They then buried his body under what is now the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela.

St James' relics were discovered sometime between 791 and 842 A.D. Santiago de Compostela then became a place of pilgrimage. Pope Leo XIII asserted that the relics of St James at Compostela were authentic in a papal bull. This papal bull was published on November 1, 1884.

Common symbols of St James include a traveler's hat and a scallop shell. The scallop shell is used to mark a network of pilgrimage routes. These routes lead to the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela from many European countries, including:
Thousands of people walk, cycle or ride a horse along the pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela each year. Many people hope to arrive just before Saint James' Day.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Marianist Monday

The XXXIV General Chapter of the Society of Mary(Marianists) has just completed its formal work in Rome, Italy. The logo used for the Chapter depicts the concept of “the fire that enkindles other fires: With renewed fervor and missionary momentum in a globalized Society of Mary.”

Rogelio Núñez, SM, Assistant Provincial of the Province of España and member of PREPCO, provides the following explanation:

The Marianist cross is the symbol of the charism inspired by the Founder, who incarnated it in his life, works, writings and words. Therefore, this Chapter calls us to live, with great and gener- ous hearts, that which is at the origin of our vocation: the generous gift of self in the service of the Kingdom of God, with a full and renewed fervor.

Fr. Chaminade had fire in his prayer and in his generous gift of self. He wants us to live and give generously with fire, fervor, intense prayer, zeal, passion, vibrant fraternity and generous self- giving.

The five flames circling the globe represent the five continents in which the SM is present throughout the world. ”I have come to bring fire on the earth and how I wish it were already kindled” (Lk 12:49). They are all connected, representing the link that exists through the global SM. This link is one of interdependence and solidarity.

“Behold, I will do a new thing. It springs forth now. Don't you know it?”  (Isaiah 43:19)

As regards Marianist life, we cannot forget that we are at a moment which calls us to be new leaven; we are in need of a true period of re-birth. In fact, from within the Society of Mary there surges a great desire for new life, for new fire. We want to be “born again.”

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Live up to the call of Chist

Taking care of sheep is a muddy, messy, smelly ministry. It takes someone like Christ to do it well.

Perhaps that’s the point: that in re-presenting Christ and taking care of the sheep who are entrusted to us, we are really fulfilling the role of pastor.  In our community you have shepherds providing feed and nourishment to young people, to preschoolers, to adults in different settings. And to these leaders you are a shepherd.

Maybe you spend some time sharing the story of your own vocation and the struggles you face in allowing God to nurture your own soul as you spend your days nurturing others.

It might even be a day for you to do some confession of your own shepherding shortcomings.

There are a lot of ways you could go with this, but at the very least you can invite others to look into your world for a while and do some honest reflection about who God is calling you to be together.

The truth is that counterfeit people eventually get caught, and the higher our ambition takes us, the longer the fall can be. Take this opportunity to let your flock know that their shepherd is seeking to do their very best to live up to the call of Christ. Talk about how you can work together to make your particular sheepfold a place where everyone can find authentic faith in the midst of a counterfeit culture!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Nun carries Olympic Torch

Next Tuesday, 24 July, Sister Mary-Joy Langdon from Acton will carry the Olympic Torch in the Kingston to Ealing leg on Day 67 of the Olympic Torch Relay hoping to keep a number of different flames burning strongly.

Sister Mary-Joy is no ordinary nun – if there is such a thing. In 1976 she became Britain’s first female fire fighter when she joined the East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service in Battle. In 1984 she joined the Sisters of the Infant Jesus, who themselves are celebrating their 350th anniversary this year.

The invitation to carry the Olympic Torch has been extended to this ground-breaker for her energetic and inspirational work of running the Wormwood Scrubs Pony Centre for inner city children and young people with disabilities. Already an accomplished horsewomen, Sister Mary-Joy set up the Centre to provide riding and equine therapy opportunities for the disabled and inner city children.

The school was established in 1989 and continues to provide riding and other equestrian activities to hundreds of children and young people with mixed abilities and from a range of backgrounds. In 1994 the BBC’s Challenge Anneka series enabled the indoor riding arena school to be erected from scratch in 72 hours. The Centre continues to grow and flourish there are 15 ponies, many valuable volunteers and excellent riding school facilities. Several of the equines are rescue ponies themselves, so the therapy they can provide to their often needy riders is poignant.

The most famous horse is Sioux, a 26 year old skewbald mare who was the subject for Lucian Freud’s renowned painting ‘The Skewbald Mare’ which now hangs in Chatsworth House.

Sean Pike Locke, 20, of Kensal Rise, who has been around the centre since he was two years old and now helps out in his spare time, said: “the stables are very well organised and the horses and people work amazingly smoothly together”.

As a member of the Catholic Church, Sister-Mary Joy wishes to keep the spiritual flame alive in everyone; as the founder of the equestrian centre she started, she aims to keep that flame burning brightly and, in the spirit of the Olympic Games, she most certainly hopes that the Olympics flame keeps burning as she hands the Torch over to the next holder in the relay on Tuesday.

Sister Mary-Joy said: “I am very humbled and grateful for this recognition from the local community. It is an honour which I would like to share with all those who help at the Pony Centre. Without their continuous support the mission of the Wormwood Scrubs Pony Centre would not be able to flourish.”

Friday, July 20, 2012

Teaching is the response

Now from what I’ve read, sheep without a shepherd just eat the grass in front of them until there is none left, and then they stand there looking at each other, wondering what to do next. If someone doesn’t prod them and move them to where there is more grass, they’ll starve to death. They can’t find it for themselves, even if it is only a hundred yards away. They cannot meet their own physical needs. But I’d be willing to bet the crowd Jesus was looking at weren’t starving to death waiting for someone to show them more food.

What Jesus saw in that crowd that made Him have such compassion was what you still see today when you look at any gathering of people except a gathering of people who’ve already been well taught by Jesus: people who are depressed because they don’t know what the purpose of their lives is, or who are in pain because they are barely on speaking terms a family member or because they have lost their job, or people who are coveting their neighbour’s bank account; people who are dysfunctional in some way so they are turning to alcohol or drugs or sex. That’s what Jesus saw when he looked at that crowd, and He had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd, spiritually rather than physically. They needed spiritual help, and didn’t know where to turn for it. He knew their need, and His heart ached for them; He felt the same way we do when we are healthy and see a friend sick, or when we have a good marriage and see a friend’s marriage in trouble—we wish with all our heart we could do something that would make a difference. Jesus felt the same way, but He could do something that made a difference, and He did it: He began to teach them many things.

Jesus’s response to our helplessness is teaching, because He knows we need understanding of our situation, and the only way we can get it is to learn from Him. He knows how we were designed, we only know what our disobedient natures tell us. Without his teaching, we are spiritually helpless. With it, our lives begin to recover God’s original purpose for them.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Sunday Word

It's just about that time to take a look at the scriptures for this coming weekend, the 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Sunday's first scripture, from the prophet Jeremiah, is a condemnation of unfaithful shepherds and the Lord's pledge to replace them with more faithful shepherds. The Markan Gospel passage has Jesus moved to pity the crowd who seem to him to be like "sheep without a shepherd."

Sunday's secondary reading from Ephesians, never mentions shepherd or Jews or Gentiles but the passage is about the way God shepherded both of these groups into one through the blood of Christ, the Good Shepherd.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Spread the Good News

The New Evangelization calls each of us to spread the Good News in ways that it has never been done before.  We have to understand that we have a part as well - we are to take the message to all people.

We need to be willing to go out of our way to bring the message. We need to be willing to give ample opportunities to respond to the message. And we need to understand and communicate that there are consequences for rejecting the message, because the message of repentance and faith in Christ is still relevant today.

So here’s the question: who do you know right now, in your immediate sphere of influence that you can be praying for?

Someone who you can either tell about Jesus yourself, or give a tastefully done tract to, or invite to Church, or whatever.

Someone who needs to hear the message maybe one more time.

So who are you thinking of? Commit to praying for them. This summer is a great time to be inviting people to Church, especially this Sunday.

So if nothing else, be praying that God will help you invite someone and that they will accept the invitation. I promise they’ll hear the Good News.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Marianist Monday

Sunday's Gospel really sets us up for spreading the Good News wherever we are. Are we prepared to spread the Gospel to all we meet today? Are we ready to be witnesses of the Gospel? For us as Marianist we often are called to reflect on how we preach the Good News. We remind ourselves daily that we are to preach by every word, look, and gesture.

One of the many blogs I read reflects on this idea of preparation for the journey. It is a wonderful reflection on how we are to prepare to spread the Message to all we meet today. Enjoy!

Take nothing for the journey -- except a walking stick and sandals.
No food! No backpack for carrying things!
No change of clothes! No money!
And these guys weren’t just going down the street to go to church:
they were setting out, on foot, to distant towns and villages,
with no hotel reservations and no credit cards in their pockets.

Jesus is calling them to a radical dependence on God
and on God’s providing for whatever they might need along the way.

The apostles weren’t wealthy to begin with,
so their possessions would have been few.
But Jesus asks them to let go even the little they have so that nothing would distract them from their appointed task.

The gospel may not demand exactly the same of us
but it certainly does call us to take some inventory of our “stuff”
or more importantly, to survey our dependence on our possessions.

It’s one thing to have a lot of things, gadgets and toys,
it’s another thing altogether to believe we can’t live without them.

Compare the apostles setting out with nothing, to preach the gospel,
with the preparations and supplies we need
just to set out on an average day in our lives...

Compare our dependence on our possessions
(and our desire to have more and more)
with Jesus’ call to live with only what we truly need.

How many of us could imagine setting out for even one day,
taking nothing with us:
No food… No backpack, purse, wallet or brief case…
No change of clothes… No phone, iPad or laptop..
No money, check book or credit cards…

Jesus’ friends set out on a journey, taking nothing with them.
Could we set out for just one day, taking nothing with us?
Could we set out on one vacation day, taking nothing with us?

If you find that a prospect easy to consider – rejoice! –
for you are closer to the kingdom of God than the rest of us.

St. Paul reminded us today that we are
blessed, chosen, loved, forgiven, and redeemed
- that we are God’s own possession.

But can we come to know and believe any of this in any real way
when our lives and days are so cluttered with our possessions,
our things, our stuff, our attachment to and dependence on
all that we have and all that we want?

Perhaps these summer days, especially vacation time,
might offer an opportunity for us to set out for a day,
just one day,
taking along nothing (or next to nothing) with us.

Every time we gather at this altar we’re reminded
that Jesus took nothing with him to the Cross
-- except his love for each of us.

And we’re reminded that the food for our journey
is as simple as it could possibly be:
a morsel of Bread become Christ’s Body
and a sip from a Cup, a share in his Blood:
simple food, offered in simple ways
to nourish us in depending only
on what we truly need.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Self-giving love

Yesterday we had the opportunity to bring many of our Marianist high school students to the Bronx and then onto Montebello, New York.  Why go there on such a hot and humid summer day? We set off to do some volunteer work assisting the Sisters of Life move to a new location. We returned renewed, rejoicing, and exhausted.

And work we did. We were all amazed at the quantity of boxes. But our work was for a good cause. 

Our Pope speaks freely about this task of volunteer work. The Pope begins, “your commitment is a reason for confidence, since it shows that goodness exists and that it is growing in our midst. … For Christians, volunteer work is not merely an expression of good will. It is based on a personal experience of Christ”, Whose “grace helps us to discover within ourselves a human desire for solidarity and a fundamental vocation to love. … We also become visible instruments of His love in a world that still profoundly yearns for that love amid the poverty, loneliness, marginalisation and ignorance that we see all around us.

“Of course”, he added, “Catholic volunteer work cannot respond to all these needs, but that does not discourage us. … The little that we manage to do to relieve human needs can be seen as a good seed that will grow and bear much fruit; it is a sign of Christ’s presence and love. … This is the nature of the witness which you, in all humility and conviction, offer to civil society. While it is the duty of public authority to acknowledge and to appreciate this contribution without distorting it, your role as Christians is to take an active part in the life of society, seeking to make it ever more humane, ever more marked by authentic freedom, justice and solidarity."

Benedict XVI went on: “Our meeting today takes place on the liturgical memorial of St. Martin of Tours. Often portrayed sharing his mantle with a poor man, Martin became a model of charity throughout Europe and indeed the whole world. Nowadays, volunteer work as a service of charity has become a universally recognised element of our modern culture. Nonetheless, its origins can still be seen in the particularly Christian concern for safeguarding, without discrimination, the dignity of the human person created in the image and likeness of God. If these spiritual roots are denied or obscured and the criteria of our collaboration become purely utilitarian, what is most distinctive about the service you provide risks being lost, to the detriment of society as a whole."

The Pope concluded his remarks by inviting young people “to discover in volunteer work a way to grow in the self-giving love which gives life its deepest meaning."

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Marianists re-elect Superior General

Via Latina 22 Daily Bulletin
General Chapter XXXIV
J. Cortés Soriano, SM, Re-Elected Superior General of the Marianists

The delegates of the 34th General Chapter of the Society of Mary (Marianists), which is currently in session at the Society’s General Administration in Rome, have elected Manuel J. Cortés Soriano to a second term as Superior General.

Following the celebration of the Eucharist and invocation of the Holy Spirit for the election before them, the delegates from all Marianist Units throughout the world met in General Assembly for voting. At the Eucharist, presider and homilist, Fr. José María Arnaiz, S.M., called on the delegates to listen to the Spirit and to reflect upon the current needs of the congregation and who might best be called to leadership at this time. Later, Fr. Manuel was re-elected.

Born in Valencia, Spain in 1945, Fr. Manuel entered the novitiate of Society of Mary in 1961. On September 12, 1962 he professed his first vows in Elorrio. Following several years of study, and some time teaching, he entered the Marianist Seminary in 1970 and was ordained on March 24, 1974 in Fri- bourg, Switzerland.

Throughout his more than forty years as a Marianist, Fr. Manuel has served as local community superior, school chaplain, Master of Novices and parish priest. In addition, he was Provincial of the former Province of Zaragoza from 1989-1997. Fr. Manuel holds advanced degrees in Physical Sciences and Theology. He is the author of several books. He also has the ability to communicate in several languages, including English, Spanish, French, Valenciano, Catalán and Italian.

He was elected as the thirteenth successor to Blessed William Joseph Chaminade on July 21, 2006. During his first term, he visited all of the Units of the Society of Mary, met personally with almost every member, and presided over the General Council in its work of leading and governing the Society. Fr. Manuel will serve a second term of six years. He, along with three General Counselors who are soon to be elected, will serve as the leadership team of approximately 1200 members of the Society of Mary.

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Sunday Word

Jesus' mandate to his disciples is to travel lightly and keep moving. Nowhere do we see him sitting down with the twelve and a map, or a snakebite kit, or a store of provisions, or a feasibility study, or a specific set of "goals,""strategies" and "objectives." Jesus gives the disciples only what they need most: a mission and the authority to carry it out. All he recommends they take in addition to this is a walking stick a personal goad to keep them moving when the terrain gets rough or when they get weary.

Today we would never dream of starting on such a significant journey without what we now envision as "adequate provisions." Yet for all our carefully considered plans, it is doubtful that we are ever as prepared as either David or the disciples for what the future may offer. David was prepared through his willingness to sit before the Lord in prayer. The disciples were prepared through their certainty that they went out with the matchless authority of Jesus.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


“Listen  carefully, my child,
to your master’s precepts,
and incline the ear of your heart (Prov. 4:20).
Receive willingly and carry out effectively
your loving father’s advice,
that by the labor of obedience
you may return to Him
from whom you had departed by the sloth of disobedience.

To you, therefore, my words are now addressed,
whoever you may be,
who are renouncing your own will
to do battle under the Lord Christ, the true King,
and are taking up the strong, bright weapons of obedience.

And first of all,
whatever good work you begin to do,
beg of Him with most earnest prayer to perfect it,
that He who has now deigned to count us among His children
may not at any time be grieved by our evil deeds.
For we must always so serve Him
with the good things He has given us,
that He will never as an angry Father disinherit His children,
nor ever as a dread Lord, provoked by our evil actions,
deliver us to everlasting punishment
as wicked servants who would not follow Him to glory.”

–the beginning of the Rule of St. Benedict, whose feast we celebrated yesterday.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Pray for us St. Benedict

Pius XII wrote about our saint for today:

Like a star in the darkness of night, Benedict of Nursia brilliantly shines, a glory not only to Italy but of the whole Church.

Saint Benedict: lived from 480-547A.D.

We do know he is the twin brother of St. Scholastica, Abbess of Plumbariola, and Foundress of the "sister" Order of Benedictines.

St. Benedict is the Patron of:

* Monks
* against fever
* against gall stones
* against inflammatory diseases
* against kidney disease
* against nettle rash
* against poison
* against temptations
* against witchcraft
* agricultural workers
* bee keepers
* cavers
* civil engineers
* coppersmiths
* dying people
* Europe
* farm workers
* farmers
* Italian architects
He is the  Founder of the Benedictine Order, known as the father of Western Monasticism as most monks today still follow his rule. In his time he founded twelve small monastaries, the most famous of which is Monte Cassino, the "cradle of the Benedictine Order, which housed at one time or another such great saints as:

•Saint Apollinaris
•Saint Bernard Valeara
•Saint Bonitus of Monte Cassino
•Saint Clinius of Pontecorvo
•Saint Constantine of Monte Cassino
•Saint Deusdedit of Montecassino
 •Saint Maurus
 •Saint Petronax of Monte Cassino
 •Saint Placid

There are a bazillion other saints hailing from the Benedictine Order!

St. Benedict's iconography often shows him, with an abbot's staff and a raven, since it was a raven that brought him his daily bread while he lived as a hermit in the desert. Jealous monks one (at least) tried to poison St. Benedict's wine, but at the sign of the cross over the goblet, it shattered, saving the abbot from the poison. This is the meaning of the snake within the goblet. Known for his gift of prophesy, St. Benedict is also shown with a closed book, indicating the mystery of his knowlege.

Things to do for the feast:

* Order your own copy of the original Rule of St. Benedict.
* Get a copy of Louis de Wohl's novel of St. Benedict, Citadel of God
* Since St. Benedict is the patron of beekeepers, you could read up today on bees and bee keeping this day.
* Learn about the medal of St. Benedict.

* But, the best thing to do on the Feast of St. Benedict is follow his motto: Ora et Labora ~
Work and Pray.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Marianist Monday

The Brothers from the Meribah Province gathered at the tomb of their founder,
Blessed William Joseph Chaminade in 2011.
In his homily for the liturgy celebrating Father Chaminade’s beatification, Father David Fleming, SM, Superior General of the Society of Mary, expressed the core of what community in the Marianist tradition was during the early 1800's and what, today, we hold up as the ideal for ourselves. He said, “Chaminade invited all sorts of people to the Bordeaux Sodality, from every class of society, every state of life, every background and education. He thought that all could live in a style of Christian community modeled on the first community of Jerusalem, with “one heart and one soul.” (Fleming, September 3, 2000)

The power of gift of Marianist community lies in this description—everyone is included; the basis for the design and methodology is a retrieval of the passion, mystery, and apostolic thrust of the first disciples of Jesus; and it embodies a unity of purpose so profound that the core of our body and spirit is engaged. Community, like colorful packages at Christmas or birthdays, is a wonderful gift—that’s the good news. The bad news is “Batteries are not included.” A source of energy is needed all the time to keep it functioning.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

St. Benedict - relevant for today

So how does St. Benedict speak to us today?

How does he address the issues that we face? 

How, particularly, does he speak to grade school or high school communities on Long Island, New York.

Can it be that this tiny Rule, written some 1500 years ago for men in rural Italy, is still vibrant, life-giving and relevant?

 I believe it is. I believe that in Benedict we find a man with vision and practical wisdom whom we can hear because he speaks out of his personal experiences. It is precisely because he has such a grasp of the human psyche and how it works that he can touch us with practical wisdom and insight.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Deepening of our Marianist Life

Members of the Province of Meribah gather this month  in Rome at the General Chapter meeting for the Society of Mary (Marianists). Bro. Michael John, Bro. Thomas and Bro. Timothy with 40 delegates from across the regions of the world where the Society ministers are attendingthe Chapter. The delegates represent Marianist communities in Africa, Asia, and Europe, as well as in North, Central and South Americas.

The Chapter’s theme for its July 3-22 meeting is “Deepening of our Marianist Life for a Globalized Marianist Mission.”

The Chapter acts as the highest legislative body for the Marianists. Delegates meet once every six years to strengthen the bonds of unity among members of the Society and to carry out legislative and evaluative functions. It is responsible for electing the Society’s General Council, including the Superior General and its General Assistants. The Chapter is also responsible for articulating the Society’s missionary vision, long range planning, and setting objectives for the next years for the entire Society. In addition, delegates determine policies and set budgetary guidelines.

Friday, July 6, 2012

St. Benedict - the Rule

The Benedictine tradition and the Rule of Benedict that shapes it, has had this role for 1500 years: prayer and work to light a flame so that the world does not run aground and destroy itself.

The great monastic Benedict of Nursia (he had a twin sister Scholastica, also sainted. Benedict turned his back on what society had to offer. Like the Desert Fathers and Mothers from whom he learned much, he went into the mountains to grow as a Christian in solitude, at last spending three years in a cave outside the town of Subiaco. Students came to him seeking wisdom, and a nearby monastery asked if he would serve as abbot.

This first experiment did not turn out well; the brothers rejected Benedict. But in the years following, he synthesized half a dozen existing monastic codes as he established a dozen monasteries, learning, listening, and praying about how people from very different walks of life might live, work, and pray together as Christian monastics.

The result was one of the formative documents of Western Civilization, the Benedictine Rule. Its virtues are many: Benedict's Rule is simpler and less restrictive than earlier monastic codes, making common sense decisions about how people should dress, sleep, eat, and drink in ways that are appropriate if not extravagant. In doing so, he was enabling a healthy and lifelong Christian journey in community.

A medieval saying records that "A lamb can bathe in the Rule without drowning, while an elephant can swim in it." It is at once, accessible and deep. The Rule welcomes Christians of all stations, experiences, and degrees of knowledge to band together, learn together, love each other, and grow together toward God. A central difference between this monastic theology and that of the Desert is that the Benedictine Way sees us progressing toward God primarily in community, rather than primarily through our own efforts. The Rule is, in a real sense, about our salvation together.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Saint Benedict - the raven

Saint Benedict was born in a small town in central Italy to noble parents. He had all the blessings that wealthy Roman life could provide in the late fifth century, but, at the turn of that century, he realized how horrendous society was, rejected the dissolute lifestyles he saw all around him and spent three years living as a hermit in a cave by himself.

 Eventually, a group of monks begged him to come to their community and become their abbot, the head of a monastic community. He agreed and they regretted it. After a short period under his strict governance, the monks tried to poison him—twice actually. First, they poisoned his cup. When Benedict prayed a blessing over the chalice, it shattered. The monks likewise poisoned his bread. When he blessed the bread, a raven flew into the the room and swooped off with the poisoned bread. Let that be a lesson to you: always bless your food before you eat it!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Happy 4th of July

On this special day we pray using the words John Carroll of Baltimore --

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 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.

In Their Words

Monday, July 2, 2012

July 1, 2012  marks the 25th Anniversary of the foundation of Kellenberg Memorial High School by the Marianist Province of Meribah.

The following letter was read at the celebration which was sent from Rome by the Marianist Superior General.
Superiore Generale
Rev. Philip K. Eichner, SM, President 
Bro. Kenneth M. Hoagland, SM, Principal 
Kellenberg Memorial High School 
1400 Glenn Curtiss Blvd. Uniondale, NY 11553

Rome, July 1, 2012

Dear Fr. Philip, Bro. Kenneth, and all Members of the Kellenberg Memorial Family,

It is with great joy that I greet you on this happy occasion! The entire Society of Mary joins me in offering congratulations to you as you celebrate the Twenty- fifth Anniversary of Kellenberg Memorial’s foundation.

What began as an idea, amidst some trepidation and a lot of unknowns, has blossomed over these years into something wonderful. You, the Firebirds, have become a beacon of light revealing an amazing center of excellence in the realms of education, Faith expression, Catholic identity, and personal generosity and commitment. For twenty-five years, you have spread that light in all directions, so that one can truly say, the world is a better place because of Kellenberg Memorial.

Of course, this did not happen by accident! It is the result of much effort, often difficult, but always committed to the values and philosophy of Catholic education in the Marianist way. Your motto, One Heart and One Mind has been more than a catch phrase. In fact, it has been the vehicle that has brought you this far. The union of so many people: Marianist Community, faculty, students, parents, alumni, serves to give strength and meaning to every part of life at Kellenberg, as well as preserve it for generations to Kellenberg Memorial 25 Anniversary Celebration July 1, 2012.

United with all of you, of course, has always been our Blessed Mother, Mary, and her Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. They have been present with you all throughout these twenty-five years, not only in the exquisite artwork that graces much of the school and its retreat houses, but in the very soul of the Kellenberg Family.

We pray today that through the intercession of Blessed Chaminade, Mary might continue to guide and protect all the members of the Kellenberg Family and Jesus may bless its future with many more years of grace.

May the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be glorified in all places, through the Immaculate Virgin Mary!

Sincerely Yours,

Manuel J. Cortés, SM 
Superior General

Sunday, July 1, 2012

7 7 12


The Long Island Catholic Youth Conference is a movement to bring the Church on Long Island to life in the Holy Spirit. Serving the youth of our Church is one of the most important ministries of our time. There are so many different routes a young person can take as they grow older, many of which draw them far away from Christ. Therefore, we must come together as One Body to show the true way of life, the one following the love of Jesus Christ.

Come for a day full of special events, including speakers, musicians, vocation presentations, mass, adoration, reconciliation, and more!

Conference will feature:


Anthony Muhs
Rosie Caston
Father Brian Barr

Hosted by Justin Magaldi

Adelphi University Performing Arts Center
July 7
Registration begins at 12:00.