Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Joy!

At daybreak on the first day of the week
the women who had come from Galilee with Jesus
took the spices they had prepared
and went to the tomb.
They found the stone rolled away from the tomb;
but when they entered,
they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.
While they were puzzling over this, behold,
two men in dazzling garments appeared to them.
They were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground.
They said to them,
“Why do you seek the living one among the dead?
He is not here, but he has been raised.
Remember what he said to you while he was still in Galilee,
that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners
and be crucified, and rise on the third day.”
And they remembered his words.
Then they returned from the tomb
and announced all these things to the eleven
and to all the others.
The women were Mary Magdalene, Joanna,
and Mary the mother of James;
the others who accompanied them also told this to the apostles,
but their story seemed like nonsense
and they did not believe them.
But Peter got up and ran to the tomb,
bent down, and saw the burial cloths alone;
then he went home amazed at what had happened.               
                                                  Luke 24:1-12

A story some 2,000 years old - and yet the words ring so true today.

We are still afraid and need to hear the angel's message... we are still among those seeking Jesus, crucified and risen... we still have questions about his life, his death, his rising... we are still afraid but often joyful... Jesus continues to meet us "on our way" - whether we recognize him or not... the Lord still goes ahead of us, always, and yet never leaves our side... and, still, others are waiting to hear from us the great news that Jesus is risen from the dead!

Happy Easter to you all!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Holy Saturday - 2

An ancient sermon–from the Office of Readings 

Something strange is happening – there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. God has died in the flesh and hell trembles with fear. He has gone to search for our first parent, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrow the captives Adam and Eve, he who is both God and the son of Eve. The Lord approached them bearing the cross, the weapon that had won him the victory. At the sight of him Adam, the first man he had created, struck his breast in terror and cried out to everyone: “My Lord be with you all.” Christ answered him: “And with your spirit.” He took him by the hand and raised him up, saying: “Awake, O sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.” I am your God, who for your sake have become your son. Out of love for you and for your descendants I now by my own authority command all who are held in bondage to come forth, all who are in darkness to be enlightened, all who are sleeping to arise. I order you, O sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be held a prisoner in hell. Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead. Rise up, work of my hands, you who were created in my image. Rise, let us leave this place, for you are in me and I am in you; together we form only one person and we cannot be separated. For your sake I, your God, became your son; I, the Lord, took the form of a slave; I, whose home is above the heavens, descended to the earth and beneath the earth. For your sake, for the sake of man, I became like a man without help, free among the dead. For the sake of you, who left a garden, I was betrayed to the Jews in a garden, and I was crucified in a garden. See on my face the spittle I received in order to restore to you the life I once breathed into you. See there the marks of the blows I received in order to refashion your warped nature in my image. On my back see the marks of the scourging I endured to remove the burden of sin that weighs upon your back. See my hands, nailed firmly to a tree, for you who once wickedly stretched out your hand to a tree. I slept on the cross and a sword pierced my side for you who slept in paradise and brought forth Eve from your side. My side has healed the pain in yours. My sleep will rouse you from your sleep in hell. The sword that pierced me has sheathed the sword that was turned against you. Rise, let us leave this place. The enemy led you out of the earthly paradise. I will not restore you to that paradise, but I will enthrone you in heaven. I forbade you the tree that was only a symbol of life, but see, I who am life itself am now one with you. I appointed cherubim to guard you as slaves are guarded, but now I make them worship you as God. The throne formed by cherubim awaits you, its bearers swift and eager. The bridal chamber is adorned, the banquet is ready, the eternal dwelling places are prepared, the treasure houses of all good things lie open. The kingdom of heaven has been prepared for you from all eternity.

Holy Saturday - 1

The one crucifixion painting that moves me the most is the one painted by Mathias Grünewald. If we can only comprehend what the crucifixion looked like, this is it. The painting actually forms part of the central panel of the Isenheim altarpiece, painted between 1510 and 1515.

Like a preacher at Good Friday, Grünewald left nothing undone to bring home to us the horrors of this scene of suffering: Christ's dying body is distorted by the torture of the cross; the thorns of the scourges stick in the festering wounds which cover the whole figure. The dark red blood forms a glaring contrast to the sickly green of the flesh. By His features and the impressive gesture of His hands, the Man of Sorrows speaks to us of the meaning of His Calvary. His suffering is reflected in the traditional group of Mary, in the garb of a widow, fainting in the arms of St John, to whose care the Lord has commended her, and in the smaller figure of St Mary Magdalene with her vessel of ointments, wringing her hands in sorrow. On the other side of the Cross, there stands the powerful figure of St John the Baptist with the ancient symbol of the lamb carrying the cross and pouring out its blood into the chalice of the Holy Communion.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Marianist Scrapbook

Good Friday - 2013
Founder's Hollow
Good Friday - Founder's Hollow - 2013
Brother Donald venerates the Cross
Brother Michael prepares the altar for Communion
Father Todd brings the Precious Blood for the Communion Service
Father Albert brings to the altar the Body of Christ

Marianist Scrapbook

Founder's Hollow
Fr. Albert begins Holy Thursday with the incensing of the altar.
Brother James begins the Liturgy of the Word.
Brother Kenneth and Father Albert assist at the washing of the feet. 

Brother Michael presents the bread and wine.
The Holy Thursday Sedar meals begins in the Community Dining Room.
The Community chefs have cooked and presented the best.

Good Friday

Today is Good Friday, and it's the one day above all others when the Cross takes center stage. Certainly in the Scripture readings, the cross , the literal wooden object to which Jesus was nailed and upon which he died -- cannot be escaped. But also present in the reading is the Cross -- the symbolic emblem that is now the most recognizable mark of the Christian faith and is a major hinge point of our theology.

But a hinge point indicating what? If you look up "cross" in The Dictionary of Bible and Religion, all you find is:

- the Cross is "an emblem of suffering and shame ... where the dearest and best for a world of lost sinners was slain"?

- the Cross is emblematic of a fate we all deserve because of our sins but which we don't have to face because Jesus faced it for us by taking our place and thus "satisfying" our debt to God?

- It is the place where Christ confronted the power of demons who first appeared to have won but who, come Easter morning, were shown to have lost?

- Is it a supreme symbol of God's love for us? Is it God sacrificing himself for the human race?

- Is it simply the preferred method of execution in the Roman Empire, to which Jesus was unjustly sent for confronting the shortcomings of the established religious leaders?

All those explanations and more have been proposed, argued and, in some cases, even fought over in the centuries since Jesus' death occurred.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Love one another

“He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him.”

Are you kidding? Imagine any world leader doing this today.

The humility of Christ is what stuns us. The King of Kings chose the servant’s role.

But it was practical. Dusty, muddy and manure-strewn roads made sandaled feet a mealtime buzzkill. The first-century household slave would always get the foot-washing task as it was one of the most demeaning and filthy tasks in their culture.

Now hear the teaching of Christ:

A new commandment I give to you —

Love one another.

As I have loved you, so you must love one another.

Begin by speaking it to one person today. Have them in turn speak it to another, who will speak it to the next, and so on.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Spy Wednesday

The Gospels tell us that Jesus spent a lot of time alone with God, listening to God and being strengthened by the Spirit. The final surrender came only days after the Palm Sunday entry: Gethsemane. "Father, if it possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will." 

Such suffering in Gethsemane could only be endured by one who understood that a greater purpose was involved — one who understood that through his suffering would come the redemption of his people. The one who sustains the weary with a word is himself sustained by the Word of God.

Jesus “set his face toward Jerusalem” and comes clopping through one of the city’s eastern gates because he knew he had to confront the principalities and powers, and because he knew his suffering and death was somehow the necessary sacrifice for his people.

In going to the cross, Jesus demonstrated the ultimate lesson about God’s sacrificial love for God’s people. Jesus’ whole life, his hours of instruction with God, had prepared him for this.

He was a great teacher.

We should be great students.

Were those who hailed Jesus on that Palm Sunday thousands of years ago great students?

Not so much.

As Jesus was sent by God, so he sends us. As he was taught by God, so he teaches us. In some of his last words, Jesus tells his disciples to go into the world and become teachers themselves!

So who was the greatest teacher of all time?


And he’s still teaching today.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Marianist Monday

Faith, and especially this faith of the heart, is a great gift of God. It is for this reason that we always need to say, “Lord, increase our faith” [Lk 17:5]. God, so to say, easily grants this grace, when we devote ourselves to works of faith…. Oh, my dear Son, what happiness for us if for the rest of our lives we can walk along the beautiful paths of faith, act only by faith, and live only by faith! The faith which would not enlighten our mind would not give us the life of justice, which is a divine life.

Blessed William Joseph Chaminade
Jan. 23, 1833

Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Lord needs it

In the first-century Roman world, emperors always made their arrival in a city with a great deal of pomp and circumstance. Elite troops carried Roman standards — the equivalent of big, bold letters on a plane. The emperor himself entered the city riding on a warhorse, the ancient forerunner of a jet, or in a chariot, which acted like an ancient armored limo.

Jesus, however, eschews the decorations and instead has a donkey commissioned as his royal mode of transport. And it isn’t even a full-grown donkey; it’s a "colt"— four spindly legs vs. the powerful hooves of a horse.

Jesus does have the disciples act a little like a first-century messianic Secret Service when they go to pick up this diminutive donkey, giving a kind of secret code word: "The Lord needs it."

Friday, March 22, 2013

Humbly through the crowds

"A Roman leader would have ridden in a chariot pulled by magnificent white stallions...

Jesus entered the city on a donkey, and a borrowed one!

A political leader would have been surrounded by security guards who would have kept crowds from close physical contact to prevent any personal harm to him...

Jesus was surrounded by his disciples representing many walks of life and rode into the midst of the people, almost at their height.

A military leader would have galloped along the road, passing the crowds with perhaps a wave of the hand or a nod of the head if there were any recognition at all...

Jesus on a donkey moved slowly with the people, accompanying the people, as well as accompanied by the people.

A religious leader in traditional, appropriate priestly robes would have moved sedately through the crowds surrounded by an orderly contingency of other religious leaders who would've prevented anyone who was unclean from touching him...

Jesus, dressed in his usual attire, moved humbly through the crowds, surrounded by his diverse band of disciples, not shrinking from the touch of anyone."
-Ruth Daugherty

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Sunday Word

This Sunday we gather together for the triumphal entry of Christ. So let’s let Jesus be Jesus – not the superstar we want him to be. The message of this day of Palm Branches is that Jesus Christ is Lord, not a La-La Land celebrity.

If you’re ready to let Jesus step off and simply be himself, be prepared for a life-changing lesson. Jesus is not interested in glitter, glamour and gossip, but he is interested in grace, giving and goodness.

The letter to the Ephesians tells us that we are saved "by grace." It is his love that makes it possible for us to live in a "state of grace." We are children of grace, and but for that grace, only God knows where we’d be.

He was all about giving. He gave of himself. He who was rich became poor that we might be rich. He gave until there was no more to give.

He was all about goodness. The essential goodness of Jesus, unparalleled by anyone before him or after him, testifies to the life to which we are called. When he saw the crowds as sheep not having a shepherd, he was moved with compassion — he became almost physically sick, so great was his love.

Let’s give Jesus the palm branch treatment, but let’s not make this a one Sunday wonder. His grace, his giving and his goodness compel us to change our behavior, not just pat him on the back, or complain behind his back.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Thy will be done

C.S. Lewis said there are two kinds of people in the world: those who respond to God saying, "Thy will be done" and those to whom God says, "All right, then, have it your way." It might also be said that there are two kinds of people who return God's call: those who say to God "Thy will be done" and those who respond to God by saying "All right, then, have it your way." As you return God's call this week, may you so stand in the stream of God's consciousness, that the waters of God's love and the waves of God's will may carry you in the directions the Spirit would have you go - toward the people God would have you meet and greet.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Marianist Monday

“The multiplication of Christians is brought about less by the use of certain pedagogic procedures than by the presence of a religious atmosphere in the school. Religion is not taught; it is communicated. Religion is instilled more deeply in the spirits and in the hearts of the students more through the atmosphere that permeates the school than through teaching.” 

(Blessed William Joseph Chaminade)

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Why Francis?

"Some people wanted to know why the Bishop of Rome wished to be called Francis. Some thought of Francis Xavier, Francis De Sales, and also Francis of Assisi. I will tell you the story. During the election, I was seated next to the Archbishop Emeritus of São Paolo and Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for the Clergy, Cardinal Claudio Hummes [OFM]: a good friend, a good friend! When things were looking dangerous, he encouraged me. And when the votes reached two thirds, there was the usual applause, because the Pope had been elected. And he gave me a hug and a kiss, and said: "Don't forget the poor!" And those words came to me: the poor, the poor. Then, right away, thinking of the poor, I thought of Francis of Assisi. Then I thought of all the wars, as the votes were still being counted, till the end. Francis is also the man of peace. That is how the name came into my heart: Francis of Assisi. For me, he is the man of poverty, the man of peace, the man who loves and protects creation; these days we do not have a very good relationship with creation, do we? He is the man who gives us this spirit of peace, the poor man …

How I would like a Church which is poor and for the poor! Afterwards, people were joking with me. "But you should call yourself Hadrian, because Hadrian VI was the reformer, we need a reform…" And someone else said to me: "No, no: your name should be Clement". "But why?" "Clement XV: thus you pay back Clement XIV who suppressed the Society of Jesus!" These were jokes. I love all of you very much, I thank you for everything you have done. I pray that your work will always be serene and fruitful, and that you will come to know ever better the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the rich reality of the Church’s life. I commend you to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Star of Evangelization, and with cordial good wishes for you and your families, each of your families. I cordially impart to all of you my blessing. Thank you.

Before giving his blessing, Francis changed up the usual flow of things in consideration of the crowd, explaining why in Spanish:

I told you I was cordially imparting my blessing. Since many of you are not members of the Catholic Church, and others are not believers, I cordially give this blessing silently, to each of you, respecting the conscience of each, but in the knowledge that each of you is a child of God. May God bless you!"

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Viva il Papa

March 15, 2013

Dear Brother and Sisters in Christ,

We have a Pope! A Pope who, although vested in white, didn’t lose his characteristic humility and charm as he first stepped out onto the loggia of Saint Peter’s Basilica and greeted the tens of thousands of people in the square and millions more around the world – simply saying “Brothers and sisters, good evening” - demonstrating a simplicity which clearly shines through in his choice of a name, Francis, after the beloved St. Francis of Assisi.

How exciting it was for me personally to be part of the conclave that elected our new Holy Father, Pope Francis, the first Pope from America - the Western Hemisphere. When we Cardinal electors celebrated Mass Wednesday morning, then-Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio came in and happened to sit down next to me. Sitting with him at Mass and talking to him during this process was very different than seeing him later in white as Pope – which I do not believe he had any idea going into the conclave would happen to him. When he stepped in from the loggia – after having asked the people to pray for him – he returned to the conclave residence where we were all staying and joined us for supper. When he entered the dining room, he did so in the same way he had every other time in this conclave, he greeted his brothers and simply took his seat.

While the first Pope from the New World opens anew chapter for the Church and brings a new vision, as he now takes on the responsibility of being Chief Shepherd for the worldwide Church, he will share the same Gospel message that the Church continues to offer the world.

While here in Rome, I have been able to visit and celebrate Mass at my titular church, the Basilica of Saint Peter in Chains with all of our Washington seminarians studying here. Every time I do, it reminds me of our connectedness to Peter, the first Pope. We all have a special bond, every Catholic has a tie with Peter. We all have this connection because he is the touchstone of our faith, as commissioned by Jesus himself, “You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it” (Mt 16:16-18). Peter is now called Francis.

The role of Peter continues in the Church today in the ministry of his successor, the Bishop of Rome. Throughout the Book of Acts, we see Peter acting consistently in his role as Chief Shepherd and universal pastor. This Petrine ministry, now taken up by Pope Francis, is an essential and central component for preserving and promoting the Church’s unity, holiness, universality and apostolic teaching. Our Holy Father offers us direction and guidance so that we can be confident as we give an explanation to anyone who asks for a reason for our faith.

In his homily at the first Mass he celebrated as Pope, Francis spoke of our being on a journey, a journey of love, being sure that we are walking always in the presence of the Lord, in the light of the Lord, continuing to build up the Church, and professing always Jesus Christ Crucified.

As we continue our journey during Lent on the way to the Paschal Mystery and the pledge of life everlasting, we offer thanks to God for sending us our new Holy Father. Joining in the cheers of the people gathered in Saint Peter’s Square and around the world, we joyfully proclaim, “Viva il Papa!”

Faithfully in Christ,

Donald Cardinal Wuerl

Archbishop of Washington

Friday, March 15, 2013

Respect Life - 2013

The third place video winner for the Diocesan Respect Life Contest was Bryan Salecker from one of our Marianist high schools in the Diocese of Rockville Centre.

Bryan was last year's first place winner.


Pope Francis I

"Building: to build the Church. There is talk of stones: stones have consistency, but [the stones spoken of are] living stones, stones anointed by the Holy Spirit. Build up the Church, the Bride of Christ, the cornerstone of which is the same Lord. With [every] movement in our lives, let us build!"

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Habemus Papam

...and here, an English translation of Pope Francis' off-the-cuff first comments:

Brothers and sisters, good evening!

You know how the duty of the Conclave is to give a bishop to Rome. It seems that my brother cardinals have gone to take him from the edge of the world... but here we are.

I thank you for your welcome. The diocesan family of Rome has your bishop: thank you! And before anything else, I'd like for us to pray for our bishop-emeritus, Benedict XVI. Let us pray together for him, that the Lord bless him and Our Lady keep him in her care....

Our Father....

Hail Mary....

Glory Be....

And now, together, let us start this road: bishop and people. This [new] path of the church of Rome, which "presides in charity" [over] all the churches. A path of brotherhood, of love, of trust between us. Let us pray always for ourselves: one for the other. Let us pray for all the world, that we all might know a great fraternity. I wish you that this journey as Church, that we begin today and on which my Cardinal-Vicar [of Rome] will help me, might be fruitful for the evangelization of this beautiful city!

And now I'll give you my blessing... but first – first, I ask you this favor: before the bishop blesses his people, I ask that you pray to the Lord that he might bless me: the prayer of the people, seeking God's blessing for their bishop. In silence, please pray over me....

*Pope Bows to crowd*

Now I give my blessing to you and all the world – to all men and women of good will....

Brothers and sisters, I leave you, but only for now. Many thanks for your warm welcome. Please pray for me often!

I'll see you soon – tomorrow I want to go pray to Our Lady [Salus Populi Romani – her shrine at St Mary Major], because she's the one who cares for Rome.

Good night and sleep well!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Papal Conclave

O God, eternal shepherd,
who govern your flock with unfailing care,
grant in Your boundless fatherly love
a pastor for Your Church
who will please You by his holiness
and to us show watchful care.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you 
in the unity of the Holy Spirit, 
one God, for ever and ever.

- From the Mass for the Election of a Pope

Monday, March 11, 2013

Marianist Monday

Blessed William Joseph Chaminade wrote: "To pray . . . is so to open the center of yourself to God that you are filled with his presence, enveloped in his light, and made whole by his truth."

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Be ambassadors of Christ

...and all this is from God,
who has reconciled us to himself through Christ
and given us the ministry of reconciliation,
namely, God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting their trespasses against them and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. So we are ambassadors for Christ, as if God were appealing through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

The original Greek for "reconciliation" is a fascinating word:  katallasso. It means to change or exchange -- especially money -- and in the context of relationships it means to change from enmity to friendship. Saint Paul tells us that God was active in Christ, inviting human beings to change their attitude and enter into relationship with God, a relationship made possible by God's love and forgiveness. At the same time, God was entrusting the message of divine friendship to us, asking us to go out into the world as ambassadors of Christ.

Let yourself enter into friendship with God through his son Jesus Christ, and then go out into the world to do the work of inviting people to exchange their old attitudes for a new one -- and enter into relationship with God.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Come, be my light

In the midst of this world's poverty and pain, Mother Teresa of Calcutta has shone the warm light of God's love and compassion on us all. This is what the Church affirms in raising her to the rank of blessed — that it was his light we beheld in her. "You are the light of the world," Jesus told his disciples, in words that echo down to this day. "Come, be my light," Jesus similarly urged Mother Teresa at the outset of her mission. "Bring me into the dark holes of the poor. Come, carry me, I cannot go alone."

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Sunday Word

The season of Lent reminds us that Jesus inevitably moves toward the cross, the ultimate picture of failure and disgrace. Jesus was willing to risk the embarrassment of being stripped, beaten and hanged naked to die and to be held up as a failure for the whole world to see on that Friday. It is through failure that God chooses to save the world. As Saint Paul would later put it, the cross was and is "a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength."

In his book Six Hours One Friday, Max Lucado wonders if Jesus used his hands while telling the parable of the loving father and his two sons. When he got to the point in the story where the overjoyed father runs out to meet his broken-down son, did he open his arms wide to illustrate the point? "Whether he did that day or not, I don’t know,” says Lucado. “But I know that he did later. He later stretched his hands as open as he could. He forced his arms so wide apart that it hurt. And to prove that those arms would never fold and those hands would never close, he had them nailed open. They still are."

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

What's the story with LENT

Lent is a season of reflection and repentance. It invites us to look inside our hearts, seeing ourselves with compassion and truth — to see both our brokenness and our beauty, our failings and our faithfulness. In this season we’re inviting you to enter into a deeper commitment to the way of Jesus.

Traditionally Lent has been a time of fasting, allowing the fast to enter into our lives as a call to prayer. You might fast from coffee — each morning being reminded that you are to be filled and energized with God’s blessings; you might fast from television — reminded to go outside and take in the drama and beauty of creation; or you might fast from fast food — reminding yourself to slow down and think about the source of our sustenance as you prepare your own meals.  As the fast interrupts our normal way of being, we are reminded to be in prayer.

Another way of marking the season is through the addition of a spiritual discipline. You might read one of the gospels each week, getting to know Jesus more intimately. You could commit to praying daily for your classmates, family or the world. You might want to commit to an act of service to the least among us — serving at a homeless shelter, visiting a local nursing home, writing to someone lonely, raising money for those affected by the hurricane.

Let us this day commit together to keep this Lenten season holy. Set it apart from other times, to make of ourselves, our very lives, an offering to our gracious and loving God. Let us take up our crosses and follow Jesus.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Marianist Monday

Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at both of our high schools today(Monday) from 3:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Make an appointment with the Lord to grow in your relationship with God.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Venerable Faustino Perez-Manglano


“I am very happy. I don't know what's happening to me. I feel some- thing within me. Such an enormous love of Him who has always kept his hand in mine, who has never let me fall, not even once, into mortal sin. I don't know what problems are. Thank you, Christ, for giving me such a marvelously good interior feeling. I'm very grateful to you...”

“It is wonderful to think that my whole life is going to be at the service of Jesus and Mary. I'm going to be a fisherman of souls. I've thought about it a lot, and I would like to go as a Marianist religious to South America, where there is a lack of help for the salvation of souls....”

“I am very happy. I want to suffer for Christ who suffered so much for me. I must be a saint. My presence must give witness to Christ...”

“I am disposed to receive from God all the little sufferings he wishes to send me. They are so insignificant, and I receive them with such pleas- ure that they are joys."

On March 3, 1963, in the arms of his mother, and having just made plans to profess private vows as a Marianist the next day, Faustino Perez-Manglano died after a long battle with Hodgkins Disease. His death, fifty years ago this week, was the end of a short life, which was lived with extraordinary grace, but certainly not the end of the life-giving inspiration he brought to those who knew him and to those who, even to this day, have come to know him. In so many ways, Faustino was ordinary: he loved sports, being with friends and going to the movies. Yet, in a special way, he also left much room in his heart for the de- velopment of a rich spiritual life filled with Christ’s loving self-sacrifice and Mary’s maternal guidance.

When he died, he was unafraid and at peace.

In January 2011, Faustino was declared “venerable” by Pope Benedict XVI. His life serves as a model of steadfast fidelity for us all and of particular benefit to young people who may find in his example a model for their own lives.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Sunday Word

In Sunday's Gospel we see Jesus in the middle of a riff on repentance. God's people, Israel, either recognize their need for a savior or they experience the judgment of God. In doing so he relays a parable about an unfruitful fig tree, a tree that in the estimation of its owner has been given more than enough time. But rather than cut it down, Jesus tells us of a gracious vinedresser who intercedes for the tree saying, "Sir, let it alone for one more year, until I dig around it and put manure on it."

It may seem insignificant but this one sentence from Jesus is an essential reminder to how God does his most important, yet often painfully slow, work of changing lives. When examining these words, most people immediately jump to the verbs, to the action. The vinedresser or Jesus wants to dig and fertilize. In relational terms we could think of this as the essential components of truth and love. To bring about change, God tills the soil of our hearts and minds with his truth -- ripping out the weeds of lies and the old roots of sin and making way for good things to be planted. He then adds in the fertilizer, or in real terms love, the truth of the Gospel and the promise of his unrelenting compassion in Christ, which serves to enrich our soil, begins to take root and spurs on new growth. Life change takes truth and love.

Friday, March 1, 2013

A Papal Legacy

Pope Benedict XVI in his eight years as pope will leave behind an amazing legacy, and one that as a teen you should know about.


Part of the mission of his papacy was to reconcile with groups that had broken apart from the Church. He stepped up talks with a group that has been in disagreement with the Catholic Church after liturgical changes took place in Vatican II. He opened up the doors for Anglican Churches to be brought back into the Catholic Church, and may have already chosen to do so.

Pope Benedict XVI took very seriously Jesus’ desire that we “all may be one,” (John 17:21) and worked to build bridges with other faiths in order to spread the Gospel.


Pope Benedict XVI was also about sharing the Truth of the Gospel with everyone. He proclaimed this year a “Year of Faith,” challenging everyone to learn more about their Catholic beliefs so we could better share them with others.

Pope Benedict XVI passionate about evangelization, and dove into the world to share the Gospel message by creating a Twitter account, offering people for the first time a direct line of communication to the pope.


Pope Benedict XVI believes in the young people of the Church. Through many World Youth Days, writings, and audiences he time and time again stressed how the youth of the Catholic Church need to be witnesses to Christ, and share Him with all those around them.

He doesn’t want you to just be a “normal teen,” he wants you to be on fire for Christ, and to share his love with all those around you – even in a world where it can be challenging. If you own a YouCat (and if you don’t own one, you definitely should), you will notice that Pope Benedict XVI wrote the introduction and challenges you to learn it and become more rooted in your faith.

He wants you to become missionaries in your world and spread the love of Christ to everyone you meet.

That is our challenge; it isn’t just a challenge that Pope Benedict XVI made up on his own, but a challenge that he echoes from Christ. To be a disciple and a Catholic is to share the hope we have in Christ with others, to let them know God’s love through us, and to be passionate defenders of the Truth of our faith.

Pope Benedict XVI has given us an incredible example of that, and his life should challenge us to become bold disciples in a world that desperately needs them.

Pope Benedict XVI was bold in his defense of the truth, he went to where the people were (Twitter), and he did it all with love.

What about us? Where do we need to go to spread the Gospel? Who in our lives needs to know Christ? How can we love like Christ loved?

In the coming days a lot of talk will be given to the new pope, but remember the one we have now and the challenge he has given us to become missionary in our world – and today, make the decision to accept that challenge.