Saturday, November 30, 2013

Year of Consecrated Life

Pope Francis, speaking to Superiors of religious orders from around the world, announced that the coming year will be dedicated to Consecrated Life.

The occasion was the 82nd General Assembly of the Union of Superiors General, which is meeting in the Salesianum, a hotel and conference center in Rome, on November 27-29. The Holy Father had been expected to speak for just a few minutes; instead, he chose to meet with the Superiors for three hours, engaging in a “long, colloquial and fraternal discussion…composed of questions and answers.”

The Vatican Information Service provided a detailed report of the meeting:

The first group of questions related to the identity and mission of consecrated life. A radical approach is required of all Christians, the Pope stated, but religious persons are called upon to follow the Lord in a special way: “They are men and woman who can awaken the world. Consecrated life is prophecy. God asks us to fly the nest and to be sent to the frontiers of the world, avoiding the temptation to ‘domesticate’ them. This is the most concrete way of imitating the Lord”.

When asked about the situation of vocations, the Pope emphasised that there are young Churches which are bearing new fruit. This naturally gives rise to a re-evaluation of the inculturation of charism. The Church must follow the example of Matteo Ricci in asking forgiveness for and looking with shame upon apostolic failures caused by misunderstandings in this field. Intercultural dialogue must press for the introduction persons of various cultures, expressing different ways of living charism, in the governance of religious institutes.

The Pope insisted upon the importance of formation, which he presented as founded upon four fundamental pillars: spiritual, intellectual, communitarian and apostolic. It is indispensable to avoid every form of hypocrisy and clericalism by means of a frank and open dialogue on all aspects of life: “formation is an artisanal craft, not a form of policing”, he commented; “its aim is to form religious persons with a tender heart, not acid, not like vinegar. We are all sinners, but not corrupt. Sinners are to be accepted, but not the corrupt”.

When asked about brotherhood, the Pope said that this has a great force of attraction, and presupposes the acceptance of differences and conflicts. At time it is difficult to live in fraternity, but without it no fruit may be borne. In any case, “we must never act like managers when faced with a brother’s conflict: conflict instead must be caressed”, said the Pope.

A number of questions were asked regarding the relationships between religious persons and the particular Churches to which they belong. The Pope confirmed that he had experience of the possible problems: “We bishops must understand that consecrated persons are not helpers, but rather charisms which enrich dioceses”.

The final questions regarded the frontiers of the mission of consecrated persons. “They must be sought on the basis of the charisms”, answered the Pope. Situations of exclusion remain the first priorities. Alongside these challenges he mentioned the cultural and educational mission in schools and universities. For the Pope, the pillars of education are “transmitting knowledge, transmitting methods, transmitting values. By these means, faith is communicated. The educator must measure up to those he educates, and must give careful thought to how to proclaim Jesus Christ to a changing generation”.

Before taking leave of the 120 Superiors General present, the Pope announced that 2015 would be a year dedicated to consecrated life. He added, “Thank you for what you do and for your spirit of faith and your service. Thank you for your witness and also for the humiliations through which you have had to pass”. Francis has announced that 2015 will be a year dedicated to the promotion of consecrated life.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Thanksgiving crumbs

The antidote to anxiety: gratitude
November 28, 2013 By Deacon Greg Candor

Some great stuff here, in a Thanksgiving homily by David R. Henson, a Patheos blogger studying to become an Episcopal priest:

Our anxieties about superficial things often mask deeper, more existential fears about ourselves or about God.

We fear we will fail. We fear God will fail us, or worse, we fear God will abandon us if don’t work hard enough or if we aren’t holy enough.

So when Jesus commands us not to worry and not to be anxious, he is essentially repeating what is said every time God interrupts our world.

“Do not be afraid.”

It is one of the most repeated divine command in all of Scripture. God or God’s messengers tell us this more than 100 times in the Bible.

Do not be afraid, for God is with us.

It is, of course, easier said than done. But I think it’s because maybe we’ve misunderstood the antidote to fear and worry and anxiety.

The antidote to fear isn’t courage. The antidote to worry isn’t faith. The antidote to anxiety isn’t a devil-may-care attitude.

Rather, the antidote, I believe, is gratitude.

It’s thanksgiving.

Something profound and transformative happens when we give thanks and live our lives in gratitude to God and to one another. And if we make a lifelong practice of it, it fundamentally shifts the way we view the world.

Worry and anxiety are rooted in fear, scarcity and isolation. Gratitude is rooted in love, abundance and connection.

In the act of giving thanks, I have shown you my cards. I have shown you what I value and where I am vulnerable.

When I say thank you, I say I am not enough on my own and that I need you.

When I say thank you, I say without shame that I could not have made it by myself, that I reject the myth of the self-made man who must pull himself up by his bootstraps unaided.

This is grace. It recognizes, admits, and embraces our incompleteness, our utter, beautiful and holy dependence on each other.

There is a phrase rooted in African spirituality and made popular by Archbishop Desmond Tutu. It’s a philosophy called Ubuntu, and translates roughly to this: I exist because we exist. I am because the community is.

This communal thanksgiving is central to who we are as Christians. So central we named our primary, weekly ritual after it. In the Greek, Eucharist literally means “Thanksgiving.”

So, for us, each week is Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving is a sacrament. It is an outward sign of an inward grace. Each week there is a table set and feast of love and thanksgiving which we share with each other. We give thanks for God’s abundance and this community’s abundance. We come together in recognition that at this table, we are made whole in our unity with God and with each other.

It is the ultimate reminder that we are not alone in this world or in our struggles. It is the ultimate reminder not to worry or to fear not. For God is with us and with us through this community.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving 2

From John Fitzsimmons, who describes himself as "a song singing, word slinging, story swapping teacher, songwriter and poet..."


I am surprised sometimes
by the suddenness of November:
beauty abruptly shed
to a common nakedness--
grasses deadened
by hoarfrost,
persistent memories
of people I've lost.

It is left to those of us
dressed in the hard
barky skin of experience
to insist on a decorum
that rises to the greatness
of a true Thanksgiving.

This is not a game
against a badly scheduled team,
an uneven match on an uneven pitch.

This is Life.
This is Life.
This is Life.

Not politely mumbled phrases,
murmured with a practiced and meticulous earnestness.

Thanksgiving was born a breech-birth,
a screaming appreciation for being alive--
for not being one of the many
who didn't make it--
who couldn't moil through
another hardscrabble year
on tubers and scarce fowl.

Thanksgiving is for being you.
There are no thanks without you.

You are the power of hopeful promise;
you are the balky soil turning upon itself;
you are bursting forth in your experience.

You are not the person next to you--
not an image or an expectation.
You are the infinite and eternal you--
blessed, and loved, and consoled
by the utter commonness
and community of our souls.

We cry and we're held.
We love and we hold.

We are the harvest of God,
constantly renewed,
constantly awakened,
to a new thanksgiving.- John Fitzsimmons

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Proclamation

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favor, able interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

Go. Washington

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Lift up my eyes...

I lift up my eyes to the mountains.
From where will my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
the maker of heaven and earth...

                                                   Psalm 121

I've got choices and decisions to make,
responsibilities to meet,
and more desires than I can count...

I've got a job to do, bills to pay and people to care for;
I've got plans to make and a future to shape;
I've got a heart to give and a life to live...

So much goin' down, Lord,
and sometimes I'm so caught up in all of it
I don't know what to do or where to turn -
and I'm not sure where it's all heading...

(And more and more I'm thinking, Lord,
it's pretty important that I know where I'm going
and where this path I'm on is taking me!)

So, slow me down, Lord,
and let me take a few deep breaths...
Let me find some quiet time, a quiet place,
to sit and talk with you...

Let me lift up my eyes to the mountains,
lift my head up out of all my worries, mistakes and concerns -
even out of the fun times, the good times that can distract me
and keep me from looking at the big picture...

I need to lift up my eyes to the mountains, Lord,
because I know I need more help than I can give myself...

And let me lift up my eyes from the sandy beach
and out towards that horizon
where the tides of my nights and day
meets the endless beauty of your heavens...

I need to look out over the ocean, Lord,
hoping my heart will see what my eyes often miss:
the life ahead for me,
the life I'm called to plan, to shape and to live...

Give me some quiet time, Lord,
to come to know the path of my heart's desire,
not just for today or tomorrow - but for the long haul...

Help me understand what I really want
from this life that's mine to live and share...

And show me what I have to offer, Lord,
and what you might ask in return
for all you've given me...

Lots goin' on, Lord... so much goin' down:
choices and decisions, responsibilities and desires,
plans to make, a future to shape, a heart to give, a life to live...

So, when I lift up my eyes to the hills
and scan the horizon from my sandy shore,
come and help me, Lord...

You who made the heavens and the earth,
the mountains and the oceans,
come help me make of my life
the best of what you've given me
and the best of what I can offer in return...

To ponder and pray over...What's goin' on and goin' down in my life
that's difficult to bear these days?
Am I taking the long view, looking for the Lord,
trusting that the Lord is here to help me?
How do I need the Lord's help this week?
today? right now?

What will I ask of the Lord today?
From this prayer time, what word or phrase will I keep with me
to carry through the rest of my day?

Monday, November 25, 2013

Marianist Monday

Bishop Murphy is calling for days of Eucharistic Adoration across the Diocese continually from Sunday, November 24th through Wednesday, November 27th. Each Deanery has been asked to have at least one parish available for Eucharistic Adoration from 12:00 noon through 8:00 p.m. Sunday, Monday and Tuesday

Listed below are the Marianist school and parishes where Eucharistic Adoration will be taking place:

November 25, 2013

Kellenberg Memorial High School - Maria Regina Chapel - 
3:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

Chaminade High School - 
Our Lady of the Assumption Chapel - 
3:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.

November 24-27, 2013
* ‐ Exposition
** ‐ Benediction
Day Town Parish Time
Sunday Bay Shore St. Patrick 12:30 pm ‐ 8:00 pm
November 24, 2013 Bellport Mary Immaculate 12 noon ‐ 8:00 pm
Cedarhurst St. Joachim 3:00 pm ‐ 6:00 pm
East Rockaway St. Raymond 12 noon ‐ 3:00 pm
Farmingdale St. Kilian 4:00 pm ‐6:00 pm
Freeport Our Holy Redeemer 12 noon ‐ 8:00 pm
Garden City St. Anne 1:00 pm ‐ 8:00 pm
Glen Head St. Hyacinth 12 noon ‐ 8:00 pm *
Greenport St. Agnes 11:00 am ‐ 3:00 pm
Hempstead St. Ladislaus 12:30 pm ‐ 3:30 pm
Hicksville Holy Family 2:00 pm‐ 4:00 pm
Long Beach St. Mary of the Isle 6:00 pm ‐ 8:00 pm
Manorhaven Our Lady of Fatima 12:30 pm ‐ 3:00 pm
New Hyde Park Holy Spirit 1:00 pm ‐ 4:00 pm
Plainview St. Pius X 6:00 pm ‐ 8:00 pm
Port Washington St. Peter of Alcantara 3:00 pm ‐ 6:00 pm
Rockville Centre St. Agnes Cathedral 3:00 pm ‐ 4:45 pm *
Seaford St. James 12 noon ‐ 2:00 pm
Seaford St. William the Abbot 12 noon ‐ 8:00 pm
Shelter Island Our Lady of the Isle 12 noon ‐ 3:00 pm
Shoreham St. Mark 12 noon ‐ 4:00 pm
Southampton Our Lady of Poland 12 noon ‐ 3:00 pm
West Hempstead St. Thomas the Apostle 2:30 pm ‐ 5:30 pm
Westhampton Beach Immaculate Conception 12 noon ‐ 8:00 pm
Wiiliston Park St. Aidan 6:00 pm ‐ 8:00 pm
Monday Bellmore St.Barnabas the Apostle 12 noon ‐ 2:00 pm **
November 25, 2013 Bethpage St. Martin of Tours 6:00 pm ‐ 8:00 pm
Bridgehampton Queen of the Most Holy Rosary 12 noon ‐ 3:00 pm
Carle Place Our Lady of Hope 2:00 pm ‐ 4:00 pm
Center Moriches St. John the Evangelist 7:30 pm ‐ 8:30 pm
Deer Park Sts. Cyril & Methodius 1:00 pm ‐ 4:00 pm
East Islip St. Mary 12 noon ‐ 8:00 pm
Elmont St. Boniface 6:00 pm ‐ 8:00 pm
Floral Park Our Lady of Victory 12 noon ‐ 3:00 pm
Freeport Our Holy Redeemer 12 noon ‐ 8:00 pm
Garden City St. Joseph 5:00 pm ‐8:00 pm
Great Neck St. Aloysius 12 noon ‐ 3:00 pm
Hempstead Our Lady of Loretto 12 noon ‐ 8:00 pm
Hicksville St. Ignatius Loyola 4:00 pm ‐ 6:00 pm
Inwood Our Lady of Good Counsel 6:00 pm ‐ 8:00 pm
Levittown St. Bernard 12 noon ‐ 2:00 pm
Long Beach St. Ignatius 12 noon ‐ 3:00 pm

November 24 - 27, 2013
Long Beach St. Mary of the Isle 9:30 am ‐ 9:30 pm
Massapequa St. Rose of Lima 2:00pm ‐ 4:00 pm
Massapequa St. Rose of Lima after 7:30 pm Mass
Mattituck Our Lady of Good Counsel 12 noon ‐ 3:00 pm
Mineola Corpus Christi 3:00 pm ‐ 6:00 pm
New Hyde Park Notre Dame 12:30 pm ‐ 8:00 pm
North Merrick Sacred Heart 6:00 pm ‐ 8:00 pm
Oyster Bay St. Dominic 12 noon ‐ 8:00 pm *
Point Lookout Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal 8:00 am ‐ 12 noon
Point Lookout Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal 3:00 pm ‐ 6:00 pm
Port Jefferson Infant Jesus 12 noon ‐ 4:00 pm
Riverhead St. Isidore 12 noon ‐ 6:00 pm
Riverhead St. John 3:00 pm ‐ 8:00 pm
Roosevelt Queen of the Most Holy Rosary 8:30 am ‐ 7:30 pm
Sag Harbor St. Andrew 3:00 pm ‐ 6:00 pm
Seaford Maria Regina 4:00 pm ‐ 6:00 pm
Southampton Basilica of Sacred Hearts 12 noon ‐ 8:00 pm
Uniondale St. Martha 9:00 am ‐ 9:00 pm
Valley Stream Holy Name of Mary 3:00 pm ‐ 6:00 pm
Wantagh St. Frances de Chantal 1:00 pm ‐ 4:00 pm
West Babylon Our Lady of Grace 12 noon ‐ 9:00 pm
West Hempstead St. Thomas the Apostle 8:00 am ‐ 8:00 pm
Williston Park St. Aidan 12:30 pm ‐ 5:30 pm
Tuesday Babylon St. Joseph 12 noon ‐ 3:00 pm
November 26, 2013 Bayville St. Gertrude 8:00 pm **
Blue Point Our Lady of the Snow 6:00 pm ‐ 8:00 pm
Brookville St. Paul 12 noon ‐ 8:00 pm
East Meadow St. Raphael 12 noon ‐ 2:00 pm
East Northport St. Anthony of Padua 12 noon ‐ 4:00 pm
Farmingville Resurrection 12noon ‐ 1:00 pm
Farmingville Resurrection 7:00 pm ‐ 8:00 pm
Franklin Square St. Catherine of Sienna 3:00 pm ‐ 8:00 pm
Freeport Our Holy Redeemer 12 noon ‐ 8:00 pm
Glen Cove St. Patrick 8:00 pm **
Glen Cove St. Rocco 8:00 pm **
Glen Head St. Hyacinth 8:00 pm **
Hampton Bays St. Rosalie 12 noon ‐ 8:00 pm
Hicksville Our Lady of Mercy 4:00 pm ‐ 6:00 pm
Holbrook Good Shepherd 1:30 pm ‐ 2:30 pm
Holbrook Good Shepherd 7:30 pm ‐ 8:30 pm
Island Park Sacred Heart 3:00 pm ‐ 8:00 pm
Lynbrook Our Lady of Peace 12 noon ‐ 3:00 pm
Malverne Our Lady of Lourdes 3:00 pm ‐ 6:00 pm
Manhasset St. Mary 12:00 pm ‐ 8:00 pm
Mattituck Our Lady of Good Counsel 12 noon ‐ 3:00 pm
Merrick Cure of Ars 12 noon ‐ 3:00 pm

November 24 - 27, 2013
Oceanside St. Anthony 12 noon ‐ 3:00 pm
Oyster Bay St. Dominic 8:00 pm **
Patchogue St. Francis de Sales 7:00 pm ‐ 8:00 pm
Point Lookout Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal 8:00 am ‐ Noon
Rockville Centre St. Agnes Cathedral 12:10 ‐ 3:00 pm *
Roslyn St. Mary 8:00 pm **
Sayville St. Lawrence the Martyr 12 noon ‐ 8:00 pm
Sea Cliff St. Boniface Martyr 8:00 pm **
Seaford St. James 6:00 pm ‐ 8:00 pm
Seaford St. James 7:00 pm ‐ 8:00 pm
‐ Holy Hour‐ Rev. Msgr. James McNamara
Southold St. Patrick 12 noon ‐ 3:00 pm
Syosset St. Edward 8:00 pm **
Valley Stream Blessed Sacrament 12 noon ‐ 8:00 pm
Wantagh St. Frances de Chantal 6:00 pm ‐ 8:00 pm
Westbury St. Brigid 2:00 pm ‐ 4:00 pm
West Islip Our Lady of Lourdes 6:00 pm ‐ 8:00 pm
Williston Park St. Aidan 12:30 pm ‐ 5:30 pm
Woodbury Holy Name of Jesus 8:00 pm **
Wednesday Bayville St. Gertrude 12 noon
November 27, 2013 Bellmore St. Barnabas the Apostle 12 noon ‐ 2:00 pm **
Brookville St. Paul the Apostle 12 noon
Cedarhurst St. Joachim after 8:30 am Mass
East Patchogue St. Joseph the Worker 12 noon ‐ 7:00 pm
East Rockaway St. Raymond at the 8:45 am Mass
Farmingville Resurrection 12noon ‐ 1:00 pm
Farmingville Resurrection 7:00 pm ‐ 8:00 pm
Garden City St. Joseph 9:00 am ‐ 11:00 am *
Glen Cove St. Patrick 12 noon
Glen Cove St. Rocco 12 noon
Glen Head St. Hyacinth 12 noon
Hewlett St. Joseph 9:00 am ‐ 8:00 pm
Inwood Our Lady of Good Counsel 6:15 pm ‐ 7:15 pm
Island Park Sacred Heart after 8:00 am Mass
Lindenhurst Our Lady of Perpetual Help 12 noon ‐ 2:00 pm
Long Beach St. Ignatius at the 8:00 am Mass
Long Beach St. Mary of the Isle at the 9:00 am Mass
Manhasset St. Mary 9:25 am ‐ 10:00 am
Massapequa St. Rose of Lima 6:30 pm Holy Hour
Mastic Beach St. Jude 12 noon ‐ 1:00 pm
New Hyde Park Notre Dame 11:00 am ‐ 11:45 am
Oceanside St. Anthony after the 11:30 am Mass
Oyster Bay St. Dominic 12 noon
Point Lookout Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal 8:00 am ‐ 12 noon
Port Washington St. Peter of Alcantara 11:30 am ‐ 3:30 pm

November 24 - 27, 2013
Rockville Centre St. Agnes Cathedral after 9:00 am Mass **
Roosevelt Queen of the Most Holy Rosary 8:00 am ‐ 12 noon
Roslyn St. Mary 12 noon
Sea Cliff St. Boniface Martyr 12 noon
Seaford Maria Regina 8:30 am ‐ 9:00 am **
Seaford St. William the Abbot 9:30 am **
Syosset St. Edward 12 noon
Wantagh St. Frances de Chantal 7:30 am ‐ 8:30 am **
West Babylon Our Lady of Lourdes 6:00 pm ‐ 8:00 pm
Williston Park St. Aidan 7:00 am ‐ 9:00 am
Woodbury Holy Name of Jesus 12 noon

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Christ the King

Most people may not realize it, but the feast we celebrate this Sunday, the Feast of Christ the King, is a very new one on the church calendar. It was added by Pope Pius XI in 1925. He created this feast as a reaction against the prevailing attitudes of his day – a way to refute the growing threats of communism and secularism. Two “isms” that sought to make man, not God, the most powerful force in the world. Within a few years, of course, the world would have another “ism” to confront, totalitarianism – making this feast even more significant.

A century later, those threats have been replaced by others that tend to marginalize God—”isms” like materialism or relativism. But here and now, this feast still stands in defiance of our culture. And it stands before us as a challenge.

It asks us: “Who – or WHAT — really rules our lives?” That’s a question we could spend all of Advent asking ourselves, and praying over. And maybe we should.

But today, I want to spend a few minutes considering not just Christ the King – but Christ’s kingdom. Because this feast reminds us what we pray for, day after day, week after week, when we pray “thy kingdom come.”

This kingdom doesn’t have a castle or a court. It isn’t a place of royal fanfare. It isn’t even found on a map.

It is a kingdom that dwells within the human heart.

And its great defining landmark…is the cross.

That is where we encounter Christ the King in today’s gospel reading. In fact, this reading may hit us as a shock. Usually, we hear this gospel during Holy Week. But on this feast, when we celebrate Christ’s triumphant presence in the world, we don’t meet this all-powerful King in a moment of splendor. We meet Him at his most humble — and most humiliated. Stripped. Beaten. Dying on a cross.

Yet, this is part of what we pray for when we pray “Thy kingdom come.”

We pray for a kingdom of peace and justice, of course. But we also pray for a kingdom of sacrificial love — a place where the greatest honor isn’t in how much you have or how much you control…but in how much you give up.

A kingdom where true power lies…in being powerless.

It is a place where we are called to love, and to give, until there is nothing left.

It is where pure love reigns. And it is in that kingdom where the “good thief” wants to dwell.

This exchange has a unique place in all of scripture. In this passage, Christ isn’t called “rabbi” or “teacher.” In the last moments of his life, someone finally calls Him, simply “Jesus.”

It is the only moment in the gospels where this happens: this is the only time that someone calls him by his given name.

The man hanging beside our Lord speaks to Him as a brother, as a friend.

He talks to him, literally, man to man.

“Jesus,” he says to Him, “remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

Those words, passed down through history, have become our words – the plea of anyone who has ever felt abandoned, or lonely, desperate or afraid. We pray that God doesn’t forget us. And that He gives us, somehow, His grace.

In other words: thy kingdom come.

And Jesus answers that simple prayer: “Today, you will be with me in paradise.” The kingdom WILL come. One man’s faith, at the last moments of his life, saves him. It is something that should give all of us comfort and consolation.

I mentioned at the beginning that this Feast is relatively new to the Church – but what it represents is as old as Christianity itself. A father of the Church, Cyril of Jerusalem, beautifully described how the first Christians received communion, saying that they “made their hands like a throne” to receive the Lord. The very title “Christ the King” has outlasted most of the world’s monarchies. Kings, of course, have fallen out of fashion — there are only about 40 real monarchs now ruling in the world. Most of them are just figureheads.

But the one we honor and celebrate today, of course, isn’t. As Paul describes him today: he is the “firtborn of all creation…for in him all the fullness was pleased to dwell.”

This is the one we celebrate. This is the one we prepare to welcome in a few weeks.

And, this is the one we will greet this morning, with our hands outstretched like a throne.

When I was a teenager, a popular hymn was “The King of Glory.” I won’t torture you by singing it. But I remember the lyrics so well: “The king of glory comes, the nation rejoices, open the gates before him, lift up your voices.”

This morning, on this singular feast, this last Sunday of the liturgical year, we open the gates. We lift up our voices. We stretch out our hands.

And we welcome this King of Glory into our hearts, praying like the good thief: Jesus, remember me, when you come into your kingdom

The Deacon's Bench

Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Sunday Word

Our Sunday Gospel reminds us that the Kingdom of Jesus is not one simply of command and might but, first, one of weakness and vulnerability. It is a crown of thorns before it is a crown of gold. Such a new sense of rule ushers in a new liturgical year as well, as Christ the King always leads into Advent: our Savior comes to us weak and dependent upon our desires to care for him, and to make him known in this world. He is a King, not a micro-manager, and he is willing to share whatever he can—his work, his mission, his very body and blood—with his members. On the Cross and in the Cradle, Christ undergoes a continual outpouring of His glory so that all might come to Him without fear.

This selection from the Gospel of Saint Luke reaches its crescendo with Christ’s promise that those who come to him will be with Him in paradise. So, we need again to stress how heaven for the Christian is not simply a place “out there,” apart from the trials and the crosses of this present life. Instead, heaven is a living, robust relationship with Jesus who longs to inform every moment and movement of our day here and now. We will be with Christ the King forever and in Christ and in his Church, forever begins today!

Friday, November 22, 2013


I needed an oil change yesterday, Lord,
and at the last minute I changed my mind
and went to a local service station
instead of Jiffy Lube...

Or was it you, your Spirit,
who changed my mind?

While I waited for my car to be done
I had an extraordinary conversation there
with someone I'd only said hello to before...

We spoke of you in our lives,
of grace and temptation,
of religious experience and prayer
and of struggling to live
as you call us to live...

More than an oil change, Lord,
it was an exchange of faith:
delightful and unexpected,
a gift from your heart...

Attune me to your Spirit's whispers, Lord,
and change my plans as you know best
and open me
to the surprising ways
you seek to meet me every day...


H/T A Concord Pastor

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Presentation of Mary

The culture in which we are being formed is one that has become more and more alienated from, at times even hostile toward, the things of God. Faith, sacrifice, and obedience are increasingly questioned and even discounted.

This creates a challenge for us who are called to proclaim and announce the message of the Gospel to the world. What does it mean to announce this message of faith and eternal life in a context where materialism and the values of this world only hold sway? Catechesis, the explanation of our faith and the teachings of the Church, are done sometimes only with difficulty and the challenges are many.

We can ask ourselves, “How could I ever expect to be an effective minister of the Gospel in the face of so many challenges?” What do I have to offer to the world or to the Church facing such adversity and so many obstacles to faith and the truth of the Gospel?

This morning we are reminded—by St. Luke and in this Feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary—that when we give what we have to God, He "by the power at work within us is able to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think."

Today we consider the Blessed Virgin Mary. Her parents, Anne and Joachim, bring her to the temple and present her before the Lord. A young girl, especially in the cultural climate of the day, would have been insignificant. She was not a man who could someday become king, or have great influence on the political scene. Yet that young girl would be the gateway through which the Redeemer of the world would come. Upon her “Fiat,” her simple, humble, “Yes,” to God rests the hope of salvation and the redemption of all mankind. She was all that Anne and Joachim had, and they gave her to the Lord. The rest is salvation history.

What is God asking of you today? What is the offering you are asked to make? Your offering may seem insignificant and insufficient to meet the needs of what the world is searching for. But that offering, made to God in sincere faith and trust in Him, has the power to bear tremendous fruit in the Church and in the world. Today we make that offering to God. Joined to His sacrifice and His offering at this altar, we surrender to Him what we have, and we trust in faith that He will continue to accomplish beautiful and awesome things in us.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


I trust in your presence when I feel all alone...

I trust you'll follow me when I walk away...

I trust you’ll find me when I get lost...

I trust in your promise when hope has run out...

I trust in your wisdom when my thinking's confused...

I trust you're with me when others have left me...

I trust your compassion when I'm distressed...

I trust in your comfort when I’m deep in grief...

I trust in your strength when I'm weak and afraid...

I trust in your love when I don't love myself...

I trust in your mercy when I've fallen from grace...

I trust in your Spirit when I’m down and out...

I trust in you, Lord, when my trust is all spent...

I trust in you, Lord,

I trust you'll help me, heal me, hold me
and give me your peace...

H/T A Concord Pastor


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Heaven is for Real

Hot Trailer: ‘Heaven Is For Real’ By THE DEADLINE TEAM |
Friday November 15, 2013 @ 4:01pm PST
Tags: Gregg Kinnear, Heaven Is for Real, Movie Trailers, Sony Pictures

Gregg Kinnear stars as a small-town pastor whose 4-year-old son (Connor Corum) nearly dies during an emergency appendectomy. As young Colton recovers, he tells his family that he went to heaven. The plot thickens when the boy begins to give details about a miscarried sister and his long-dead grandpa that he couldn’t possibly have known about. Kelly Riley plays the mom in Heaven Is For Real, and Margo Martindale and Thomas Haden Church co-star. The film, based on Todd Burpo’s bestseller Heaven Is For Real: A Little Boy’s Astounding Story of His Trip To Heaven And Back, is directed by Randall Wallace, who wrote the script with Christopher Parker.

It was produced by Joe Roth and T.D. Jakes and exec produced by Sue Baden-Powell, Sam Mercer and Derrick Williams. Sony releases the faith-based drama April 16, the Wednesday before Easter. Here’s the first trailer:


Monday, November 18, 2013

Marianist Monday

Pope: missionary outreach is paradigm for pastoral action
Missionary outreach is “the paradigm for all pastoral action,” said Pope Francis in his remarks on Saturday in a video message to participants at a four-day pilgrimage-encounter in Mexico.

The Pope spoke about the need for creativity and about the missionary impulse in the evangelizing work of the Church, making reference to the conclusions of the 2007 Fifth General Conference of Latin American Bishops.

“Aparecida,” he said, “proposes to put the Church in a permanent state of mission… And this, in the certainty that missionary outreach, more than being one activity among others, is a paradigm, that is, the paradigm for all pastoral action.”

The intimacy of the Church with Jesus is an “itinerant intimacy,” he said, which calls people out of themselves to reach out to others.

“It is vital for the Church not to close in on itself, not to feel already satisfied and sure with what it has accomplished,” he said. “If this happens, the Church will get sick, it will get sick with imaginary abundance… in a certain sense it will ‘get indigestion’ and will weaken.”

All pastoral activity is oriented by the missionary impulse to reach everyone, he continued. “It is necessary to go out of one’s community and to have the boldness to go to the existential peripheries, which need to feel God’s closeness,” he said.

Evangelization is not exclusive and it considers the circumstances in which people find themselves. Christians must share the joy of having encountered Christ and not impose new obligations, reprimand others or complain about that which they consider to be lacking.

“The work of evangelization demands much patience,” he said. It also presents the “Christian message in manner that is serene and gradual… as did the Lord.”

It privileges that which is “essential and most necessary, that is, the beauty of the love of God, communicated in Christ, who died and resurrected.”

He urged Christians to step outside of their usual ways of doing things. “We must force ourselves to be creative in our methods,” he said. “We cannot remain confined in our common space of ‘it was always done this way’.”


The Pope also addressed the role of clerics and religious in the Church. He said a bishop leads the pastoral life of the Church with tenderness and patience, “manifesting the maternity of the Church and the mercy of God”.

The attitude of the true pastor must not be that of a prince or of a bureaucrat. Instead, a bishop must care for his people, knowing how to discern the movement of the Holy Spirit.

Pope Francis also addressed the need to deal with clericalism. “The temptation of clericalism, which does much damage to the Church in Latin America, is an obstacle to the development of maturity and Christian responsibility of a good part of the laity,” he said.

He described clericalism as a “group attitude” that is “self-referential” and which impoverishes encounter with Christ, which is what creates disciples.

“Therefore, I believe it is important, urgent, to form ministers capable… of encounter, who know how to enflame the hearts of people, walk with them, enter into dialogue with their hopes and fears,” he said.

He added that today’s culture requires good priestly formation, and he questioned whether the Church had “sufficient capacity to be self-critical in order to evaluate the results of very small seminaries, which have a shortage of formative staff.”

The Pope also said consecrated life is leaven for the Church and urged consecrated men and women to be faithful to their communities’ charisms, which are a “great prophecy… for the good of the Church.”

The Pope concluded by urging us to live our baptismal call in faith and to share it with others.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Marianist family spirit

From its very foundation, the Society of Mary has given great emphasis and experience, both in the expression of the religious commitment of its members and in the apostolic services it has rendered to the Church.

In Community, the members of the Province earnestly strive to follow the Gospel by creating a family spirit of shared prayer, shared work, and shared vision. Through its apostolic activities the Province fosters communities of faith and strives to communicate the person of Jesus Christ.

The family spirit that is present among the Brothers is certainly a vocational attraction. We live together, eat together, pray together, cook together, teach together, work together, laugh together, and share every aspect of our lives with one another. This companionship is shared with those whom we work in our schools. Our students notice, experience and develop the same family spirit.

You might think that these men who make the same vows might all turn out pretty much the same. Well, we do share many similarities even beyond the black suits and ties we all wear. But even though we all made the same vows in the tent of the same Church, we are men of many different stripes and our differences are as variegated as nature and grace can possibly allow.

"Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell as one ..."
Psalm 133

Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Sunday Word

"This will be your opportunity to bear witness," the Sunday Gospel tells us (Luke 21:13). We can better navigate a world that's on fire when we realize that each time we're singed by its fires we have an opportunity to show those without hope that despite our circumstances there is always a reason to hope. There is a mission and a purpose behind every evil we experience in this world.

Jesus urges us to live with a constant focus.  Admittedly, all of this is easier said than done, which is what makes Jesus' last piece of advice so critical. He calls us to live with our hearts and minds anchored in the fact that in the end, no matter what happens, we will be okay. Sure, the storyline might get scary, but when the last page turns his people win the battle. Jesus spoils the ending -- well, not really -- by promising that, "not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your lives" (Luke 21:18-19).

What would you do if you knew you couldn't fail? What would you try if you knew for a fact that it would turn out just fine? How would you walk through life if you had assurance, a deep, abiding assurance, that when all's said and done you'll be safe and satisfied? It's a beautiful question, isn't it? Sure, the world around us is insane, but in the middle of it all, Jesus is inviting us to ask this question: "How should you live in light of the fact that I've guaranteed your survival?"

Friday, November 15, 2013

Fiat 2013

Last evening the Chapel of the Transfiguration at the Kellenberg Memorial Marianist Community was filled to capacity. Young men gathered for our annual fall Operation Fiat to share in our prayer and our evening meal to learn about our Marianist life. Bro. Karl, our featured speaker, talked about the "nexus of graces" that nourished his own vocation.

Please just whisper a prayer for an increase of vocations.

MY LORD GOD, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.
                                                                                                                              – Thomas Merton

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Everyday YES

There are times when — all too innocently, because we have not been mindful of what is before us — we give too much license to a dead past that cannot be changed, and then we lose our handle on things. Like the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, we conjure from the either of our past a solitary-but-sharply-outlined idea, and then suddenly, one after another, memories begin to fall upon us, like bright orbs called from galaxies far beyond, and much better kept in the distance. Our disappointing families and imperfect parents, our closely held secrets and sins and sorrows and regrets, given too much free reign, begin to dominate us. They wreak havoc on our emotions and then begin to drain our spirits until we are depleted and depressed — all trust, all hope diminished.

When we get to that place, we begin to hate everyone — or to imagine that we do — and to wonder about that Being people call “God”; we think if that Being exists, it’s probably worth hating too, for creating so much that is warped and destructive; for allowing death and devastation such as we are seeing in the wake of Haiyan; for permitting innocence to be stolen, and hearts to be broken, and evil to flourish all-too-widely.

When we reach the point where God seems worth hating, we have also unavoidably entered into self-hatred. We can’t help it; we are fallen and the same instincts to idolatry that cause us to make godlings of the things and circumstances and people we love are also at work when everything becomes about our hatred and our hurts and where our darker feelings may safely be projected.

How do we protect ourselves from falling into this accidental deterioration of our spiritual and emotional health? Clearly, we cannot erase memory, and even if we could, the price would be enormous — it would entail a shutting-down that fragments wholeness and seeks to deny much of what has helped to make us who we are, in our weaknesses, yes, but also in our strengths.

To train the mind toward optimism, or to choose to think the best of a circumstance, or of a person, is no frivolous thing. To be sure, an outlook so positive that it blinds one to real possibilities of harm, or leads to reckless behavior, is unbalanced foolishness. Determined optimism however — the intent to seek what is good rather than focus on the bad — has an element of subversion to it; it willfully admits into one’s thinking a level of vulnerability that can open us up to charges of naivete and (even worse) of being out-of-touch with the prevailing winds — an deplorable weakness in our cynical age.

For some, that can seem downright dangerous.

It’s a danger worth dancing with, though, particularly if it leads us away from the shadowlands of despair.

What trains the mind, steadies the heart and grounds the soul? Psalmody. A regular praying of the psalms, every day, helps to form the hopeful mind — it does that by exposing to us the simple fact that no matter how unique we believe our situation to be, or how profoundly we are feeling something, it has happened before; those feelings have been felt before. The psalms are the perfect reflection of the human condition, and nothing works so potently to counteract self-absorption and bring bouyancy to hope than the realization that this song:

I have become like a pelican in the wilderness,
like an owl in desolate places.
I lie awake and I moan
like some lonely bird on a roof.

Immediately gives way to this one:

It is he who forgives all your guilt,
who heals every one of your ills,
who redeems your life from the grave,
who crowns you with love and compassion,
who fills your life with good things,
renewing your youth like an eagle’s.

An email correspondent prompts these thoughts — a young man who is struggling, trying not to stumble into the dark holes, even as he feels their edges through his soles, trips against them in his soul.

I can only tell him what I know, but it’s a thing I know deeply:

We do nothing to earn the love of God, and there is nothing we can do to lose it — we can only reject it.

We are loved into being.

We did nothing to deserve that. Our whole being came about because the love of the Creator said “yes” to his own intention; the Creator assented to his own desire, and brought forth you and me.

God’s gifts are never withdrawn, and his first and most fundamental gift to each of us is the love upon which our lives are initiated and formed, no matter what shape they take. The love is there, forever; even in our rejection, it remains.

It is pointless to reject what we cannot stop; the fullness of our formation is rooted in our willingness to let this relentless love rain down upon us, and fill us, imbue us, saturate us until our fallen-ness is fallen away, and we finally know the fulfillment of God’s deepest longings for us — ransomed; reclaimed; restored; healed.

The Creator has deemed us worth creating, and that brings us the only measure of worthiness we need worry about. The approach to God, and the acceptance of his love, has nothing at all to do with worthiness. It’s all about willingness.

This is a great mystery, but it’s true, and it is wholly trustworthy.

Everything begins with willingness. God said “yes” to his own willingness, and all was created, down to you, down to me. Our willingness in return, our open-hearted, trusting “yes” is all that is required for our lives to become co-creative with God, in whatever way he directs.

Everyday, “yes.” Everyday, a constant conversio, a constant turn toward the very first of the commandments, which is all about “yes.”

God seeks out our yes because it is most like him; it creates more unto abundance. Within our faith communities — particularly if we are open to hearing the wisdom of those who have come before us, rather than insisting on our own notions — we come to understand this more fully. [...] To say yes to God is to say yes to the very essence of what is positive, expansive, and co-creative — and for anything creative to happen, there must first be space. A wonderful Anglican hymn begins, “There is a wideness in God’s mercy.” Both wideness and mercy are formed within yes.

What has no ever created, besides hell?
— Strange Gods

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The value of belonging

The value of belonging

But what does that mean? We can get some sense of that by considering what belonging in general does for us. We belong to our spouses, to families, to friends, to congregations, to church groups, to clubs, to political parties and so on. Some of these associations are by birth and kinship, but many are by choice. Whatever. To whom and to what we belong both affects who we are, and reveals something about who we are.

If I am a member of the church choir, that says something about my interests, my values and my willingness to participate in worship, and it points to a group of people with whom I identify. But it also says something about what has drawn me to belong to the choir. It may have been my enjoyment of singing, but more likely it was because someone in the choir invited me to join.

Belonging to Jesus, however, is always by invitation. When Paul talks about those "called to belong," the emphasis should not be just on "belong" but on "called to belong." Paul understood God's call as a powerful word of invitation that offered new life, a word that also makes our response to the invitation possible.

Of course, the divine invitation is extended to all -- to "whosoever will." We are all called to belong to Jesus Christ -- even if not all of us choose to belong to him.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

You are all missionaries

"Christian families are missionary families."

They are "the salt of the earth and the light of the world," the "leaven for society." They do all this by guarding the faith, not "as a private good," but as something to be shared "by our witness, by our acceptance of others, by our openness".

Pope Francis gave Christian families this task in the address he made before a crowd of 100,000 and more people gathered in St Peter's Square for this morning's Mass on Family Day on the occasion of the Year of Faith. The faithful included families from around the world, representing several generations: moms, dads, grandparents, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Veterans Day

To the Soldier, To the Veteran

These things I do not know:

The sound of a bullet.
The power of a blast.
The blood of a comrade.
The depth of your wound.
The terror at midnight.
The dread at dawn.
Your fear or your pain.

These things I know:

The sound of your honor.
The power of your courage.
The blood of your wound.
The depth of your strength.
The terror that binds you.
The dread that remains.
Your dignity and your valor.

For these things we pray:

The sound of your laughter.
The power of your voice.
The blood of your yearning.
The depth of your healing.
The joy that frees you.
The hope that remains.
Your wholeness and your love.

© 2011 Alden Solovy and To Bend Light.

Veterans Day Prayer

God of compassion,
God of dignity and strength,
Watch over the veterans of the United States
In recognition of their loyal service to our nation.
Bless them with wholeness and love.
Shelter them.
Heal their wounds,
Comfort their hearts.
Grant them peace.

God of justice and truth,
Rock of our lives,
Bless our veterans,
These men and women of courage and valor,
With a deep and abiding understanding
Of our profound gratitude.
Protect them and their families from loneliness and want.
Grant them lives of joy and bounty.
May their dedication and honor
Be remembered as a blessing
From generation to generation.

Blessed are You,
Protector and Redeemer,
Our Shield and our Stronghold.

© 2011 Alden Solovy and To Bend Light.

Prayer for Veterans Day

God of peace,
we pray for those who have served our nation,
who laid down their lives
to protect and defend our freedom...

We pray for those who have fought,
whose spirits and bodies are scarred by war
and whose nights are haunted by memories
too painful for the light of day...

We pray for those who serve us now,
especially for those in harm's way:
shield them from danger
and bring them home,

Turn the hearts and minds
of our leaders and our enemies
to the work of justice and a harvest of peace...

Spare the poor, Lord, spare the poor!

May the peace you left us,
the peace you gave us,
be the peace that sustains,
the peace that saves us.

Christ Jesus, hear us!
Lord Jesus, hear our prayer!


H/T A Concord Pastor

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Sunday Word

Paul's second letter to the Thessalonians today feared that the newly popularized cult of emperor worship in the city would draw Christians away from their commitment to Christ. The pagan population of Thessalonia was more than willing to pay homage to their "sponsor" - their good relationship with Roman powers had given them the enviable status of a free city. But worshiping Caesar was not taking a break from the profane to consider the holy - it was simply painting a gilded halo about a powerful political figure. Paul urged the Thessalonian Christians to resist the temptation of cultural standards and to boldly acknowledge their true "sponsor" - the gospel of Jesus Christ as held and passed along by the traditions and texts of the faith. Paul's letter is an effort to make sure that those who call themselves Christians in Thessalonia are literate in this tradition. The power of the Gospel to guard and guide these new Christians is only as effective as the ability of the Christ-body community to transmit it.

Paul's message is, of course, equally crucial to struggling Christians, new and mature, in our day. The texts and traditions are our true "sponsors," whose words we should be hearing, despite the bombardments of advertising that tries to convince us otherwise. We may have more cultural commercialism to wade through than the Thessalonians, but we also have the unshakable strength of an additional (almost 2000 years additional) faith tradition to guide us. The insights and wisdom of innumerable faith-heroes have contributed to the strength of the witness transmitted across the centuries.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Operation Fiat

You are invited!


Operation Fiat
Wednesday, November 13

Operation Fiat is for young men considering a vocation to religious life. 

The evening includes Evening Prayer, dinner with the Community, and a short presentation.

The Fall Operation Fiat will be held at the Kellenberg Memorial Community in Uniondale, New York.

Evening Prayer begins at 6 pm for those young men interested in exploring a religious vocation.

Dinner & discussion will follow. 

The evening will end at 8:30 p.m.

If interested, please contact Brother Michael at

Friday, November 8, 2013

Faith & Reason Seminar

Join us for the 

Kellenberg Memorial High School 

On Wednesday, November 20, 2013, we will have AN EVENING WITH RABBI ARYEH SPERO. The evening will be open to all and will begin at 7:30 PM.

Rabbi Aryeh Spero is a theologian and a political and social commentator. He is author of Push Back: Reclaiming Our American Judeo-Christian Spirit. Rabbi Spero has appeared on a number of Fox News programs, including The O’Reilly Factor, Fox and Friends, America’s Newsroom, and Neil Cavuto. He is a regular, featured commentator for American Morning News (TRN) on issues regarding Israel and the Middle East, the Jewish community, and religion and morality, and is called upon for commentary by The Blaze.

You are welcome to bring guests. If you are interested, kindly respond with the number of guests attending by e-mail to Mr. James Krug or Mr. Alex Basile at Kellenberg Memorial High School by Monday, November 18, 2013.

Thank you.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

A Veterans Day Prayer

November 11 is Veterans Day.

Prayer for Veterans Day 2013

God of peace,
we pray for those who have served our nation,
who laid down their lives
to protect and defend our freedom...

We pray for those who have fought,
whose spirits and bodies are scarred by war
and whose nights are haunted by memories
too painful for the light of day...

We pray for those who serve us now,
especially for those in harm's way:
shield them from danger
and bring them home,

Turn the hearts and minds
of our leaders and our enemies
to the work of justice and a harvest of peace...

Spare the poor, Lord, spare the poor!

May the peace you left us,
the peace you gave us,
be the peace that sustains,
the peace that saves us.

Christ Jesus, hear us!
Lord Jesus, hear our prayer!


H/T A concord pastor comments

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Marianist Martyrs of Madrid

TODAY we commemorate the the martyrdom of four Marianists: Miguel Léiber Garay, SM; Florencio Arániz Cejudo, SM; Joaquín Ochoa Salazar, SM; and Sabino Ayastuy Errasti, SM all martyred during the relgious persecution in Spain in 1936.

498 Spanish martyrs were proclaimed blessed and marked the largest number to be beatified simultaneously in the history of the Church. Some fifty thousand people gathered in St. Peter's Square for the celebration of the martyrs.

From early on, these four Marianists felt the call of Jesus to follow Him in the Society of Mary. And they responded with generosity.

Born February 17, 1885 in Aozaraza-Arechavaleta. He’s a sharp kid, happy, a prankster, yet a good student and godly. Not far from his village in Escoriaza is the Marianist Postulate of Nuestra Señora del Pilar.

“Dad, I want to be like them.”

“No way, son! - a boy as mischievous as you could never be a religious. And what’s more, our village always needs many strong arms and you need to help out as well!”

“But I’ll help you out in another way...”

Miguel made his first vows on March 24,1903. He took his perpetual vows in 1907. Armed with a licentiate in philosophy from the Central University of Madrid, he went on to study theology at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland.

The youngest of four brothers. Born on May 10, 1909, in Espinosa de Cerrata. His parents are farmers. He’s a good child, docile, cheerful, quiet and pious. An excellent teacher in the town makes him his assistant; this way he can help teach the younger students. Florencio loves this. He also helps the pastor as server and he loves this too... One day, his friend Agapito Alonso tells him: “I’m going to Escoriaza to be a religious.”

And Florencio asks “and can’t I go along as well?”

Florencio takes first vows on September 5, 1926. He graduates in primary education and makes his perpetual vows in 1934.

His family lives in Berantevilla, but he is born on April 16, 1910, in the home of his maternal grandmother in Villanueva de Valdegovía. There are six children in the family: four girls and two boys. They are a very close family. The father works for the local government of the province of Álava and is stationed with his family in Peñacerrada. One fine day, Father Gregorio Lasagabáster passes through to talk about the Marianists. Three kids sign up: the two brothers Ochoa and a friend, Agustín Alonso.

Indeed, two of them would become excellent religious, good educators and school principals. Joaquín “has a fine disposition; he is good and responsible, conscientious, a hard worker and pious.”

He makes his first vows on September 5, 1928, and his perpetual vows in 1935. Having completed his bachelor’s degree in Segovia, he is studying for his licentiate in history.

He is born on December 29, 1911, in Aozaraza, just like Miguel Léibar. He’s the sixth of seven children but soon his father dies. He is also set on entering the nearby Marianist community at Nuestra Señora del Pilar. He’s a young man with a rich and sensitive personality with deep feelings. One day he is sent out with the house donkey to do some errands. He doesn’t return and soon they find him on the way, like a Franciscan, urging his donkey forward:

“Eat, you little creature, eat, so you can continue to move on and carry me there!”

He has another side though: difficult, rebellious, yet he is of immense good will. His tremendous bursts of anger are soon followed by a remarkably humble repentance. And, as is usual for him, God is all. He takes his first vows with Joaquín Ochoa on September 5, 1928.

Father Miguel Léibar begins his priestly ministry in Cádiz. Then he is made principal of the Colegio San Juan Bautista in Jerez for six years (1916-1922). He becomes chaplain in Vitoria, then, once again becomes principal - this time at the Colegio Católico de Santa María in San Sebastián (1925-1930). Director of the community, he is a true father to his fellow brothers, fostering their spiritual life and attending to them with tenderness, when they are ill. He is loved by all.

In 1930, he is sent as chaplain to the Colegio Nuestra Señora del Pilar in Madrid, headed by the Servant of God Father Domingo Lázaro. They become close friends.

He is a first-rate educator – dynamic, enthusiastic and present to everyone and everything at the school. He knows how to reach his students, to be demand-ing and yet remain close to them. He is their spiritual director and confessor, and he would express his ideal in these words: “The great wish of my life is to guide souls on the path to heaven.”

A Marianist superior would say of him:

“The kids love him. He is an essentially dedicated soul, who knows how to bend to circumstances, to people and to the unforeseen situation. As a teacher he has a special knack of attracting students and dealing with them. He makes them like to work...”

Florencio Arnáiz flexes his first wings as an educator in September 1928 at the Colegio in Jerez. There he gives himself totally to the youngest students who came to worship him... not to mention being worshipped by their mothers as well. Always concerned with improving his teaching, he likes to keep up with the latest in pedagogy and pastoral ministry. In September 1933 he is sent to the Colegio del Pilar in Madrid, where again he leaves his unique mark upon his little madrileños.

Sabino Ayastuy begins his education ministry in September 1931 with the young Marianist aspirants in his homeland of Escoriaza. He remains there until September 1935 with only one brief period away for course work in San Sebastián. For those whom he helps to discern their call, he leaves an unforgettable remembrance. One of them writes:

“I can still see him with his kind smile, his affectionate demeanor, how he used to enter through the back door of the study and walk toward us without the slightest noise, in order to help us with our course work. And he would whisper in our ear: ‘Filioli carissimi... [My dear children...]’ He truly liked us and we could see his attempts to reign in his anger and ill-tempered disposition... An intense interior life of faith shone through whatever he taught. He would so often repeat to us those words of St. Paul: "This is God’s will: that you become saints."

Joaquín Ochoa, who had begun his education ministry with Sabino in Escoriaza, is sent the next year to the Colegio del Pilar in Madrid. There, from 1932- 1936, he is put in charge of the 8 to 10 year olds. He dedicates himself wholeheartedly to them. So note his superiors:

“Excellent religious. Fulfills all his duties faithfully. Upright judgment, prudent, responsible, very tractable. Very dedicated. Wholly in love with his profession as a religious and educator.”

How to pray

Say hello! When a friend enters a room, the first thing most people do is say hello or throw up a wave or nod. In many ways, this is the beginning of prayer: an acknowledgement of God's presence. When we walk into a Church, we genuflect in front of the tabernacle to humble ourselves while we acknowledge and reverence the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist inside. As you begin to pray, whether it's just walking somewhere during the day, in a chapel or in your room, take a moment to acknowledge whose presence you are in. 'Be still, and know that I am God' (Psalms 46:11).

Be yourself. So many people think that holiness is unattainable, and that to pray we need to look like a statue of St. Francis with our hands folded piously. The reality is that we were created to be in communion with God, and He desires to be in a relationship with us. He doesn't want you to be a carbon copy of a past saint. He created you with your own gifts and passions, and wants to shine through you uniquely in them. Come to him as you are and let Him transform you into the saint He wants you to be!

“Teach us to pray' (Luke 11:1). Jesus' apostles asked Him these words, and that conversation resulted in what we call the 'Our Father' prayer. If his own apostles asked Jesus to teach them how to pray, how much more should we ask him to teach us to pray! Ask God to help you and know that He listens. 'Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you' (Matthew 7:7).

Hit the brakes! The world we live in today blasts us with media and noise from every direction all day, from texting to music to tv and internet. These aren't bad things, but too much can be distracting from our relationship and conversation with God. “Silence is so lacking in this world which is often too noisy, which is not favorable to recollection and listening to the voice of God” (Pope Benedict XVI). Take 10 minutes every day from the time you spend on facebook or tv, and use that time to pray. Put God back at the center of your heart and mind.

Keep it alive. A prayer life that isn't kept up is like a pond with no water flowing in or out. It becomes stagnant. There's no oxygen coming in, and it becomes uninhabitable. All you’ll find is scum and mosquitos. Nobody likes mosquitos; don't be that person. Yet a person who cultivates their relationship with God in prayer finds a much different picture. There is fresh water flowing in and out of the pond. It is life giving! There are flowers and trees that grow along the sides. Your prayer life will affect the other areas of your life.

'Happy those who do not follow the counsel of the wicked, Nor go the way of sinners, nor sit in company with scoffers. Rather, the law of the LORD is their joy; God’s law they study day and night. They are like a tree planted near streams of water, that yields its fruit in season; Its leaves never wither; whatever they do prospers' (Psalms 1:1-3).

Let it transform you. Practice makes perfect. The entire Christian life, including prayer, is something that we have to work on to become better at it. God can do amazing things in us through our reaching out to him in prayer!

'Virtues are formed by prayer. Prayer preserves temperance. Prayer suppresses anger. Prayer prevents emotions of pride and envy. Prayer draws into the soul the Holy Spirit, and raises man to Heaven' (St. Ephraem of Syria).

                                                                                                                  H/T Lifeteen

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Tuesday Tunes

Founded by Joshua Havens (vocals/guitar/keyboard) and Matt Fuqua (guitar/backing vocals), The Afters was formed as the two musicians who worked together as baristas at a Starbucks in Mesquite, Texas began playing for customers at the local coffee shop. Their popularity and fanbase would spread, as Joshua and Matt eventually moved on to performing at local clubs in the Dallas area. After catching the attention of a Nashville record label, the band, which also includes bassist Jordan Mohilowski and bassist Dan Ostebo, gained popularity with its first single "Beautiful Love." The song was used as the theme song for MTV's hit show "8th and Ocean" and was also featured in the 2006 Lindsay Lohan film, "Just My Luck."

After forging a partnership with a mainstream label in addition to its Christian market label, The Afters' second single "Never Going Back to OK" was a #1 hit that pushed listeners to drop their "comfortable lifestyles and yearn for something greater. It was followed up with their latest single, "Light Up The Sky," which speaks of God's continued guidance when we stumble in the darkness. With their new single, "Every Good Thing," off their new album Life Is Beautiful (April 16, 2013), the band continues to encourage listeners, reminding us of how God can make beauty from heartache.

"It seems like we're reminded everyday about how much bad there is in the world," Josh said. "Our new song 'Every Good Thing,' is a reminder of all the good things that God is doing in our lives" "Our hope for our record—and a lot of heartache went into this album—is that it will encourage people to see how God is working in their lives,” Josh explains. “He's not just there on the sunny days. No matter what we go through in life, God is still with us and life is beautiful—God is beautiful."

Monday, November 4, 2013

Marianist Monday

Today our Marianist school, St. Martin de Porres, will celebrate its feast day.  This year our school celebrates its 10th anniversary.
St. Martin was born at Lima, Peru, in 1579. His father was a Spanish gentleman and his mother a freed-woman from Panama. At fifteen, he became a lay brother at the Dominican Friary at Lima and spent his whole life there-as a barber, farm laborer, almoner, and infirmarian among other things.

Martin had a great desire to go off to some foreign mission and thus earn the palm of martyrdom. However, since this was not possible, he made a martyr out of his body, devoting himself to ceaseless and severe penances. In turn, God endowed him with many graces and wondrous gifts.

St. Martin's love was all-embracing, shown equally to humans and to animals, and he maintained a cat and dog hospital at his sister's house. A close friend of St. Rose of Lima, this saintly man died on November 3, 1639 and was canonized on May 6, 1962. His feast day was yesterday, but our school will celebrate today.

Marianist Monday

. . . I am like a brook that makes no effort to overcome obstacles in its way. All the obstacles can do is hold me up for a while, as a brook is held up; but during that time it grows broader and deeper and after a while it overflows the obstruction and flows along again. That is how I am going to work."

                                                                               Blessed William Joseph Chaminade