Friday, May 26, 2017

Man builds replicas of st. Peter's Square with 36,000 toothpiocks

Vatican City, May 21, 2017 / 04:23 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The Eiffel Tower, the Roman Coliseum, the Statue of Liberty, the Taj Mahal; are just some of the universal monuments that a Colombian teacher makes to scale out of little wooden sticks (toothpicks).

One of his recent works is Saint Peter's Square and he dreams of showing it to Pope Francis during the visit the pontiff will make to this country in September.

Alberto Antonio Cruz Serna has been building models with toothpicks since he was 12.

He currently resides in the town of Puerto Berrio, in the Antioquia district teaches natural science to high school students at the Antonio Nariño Educational Institution, and has built more than 200 artistic creations with his own unique style.

Among his works there are also small-scale replicas of Catholic buildings such as Our Lady of Sorrows Parish in Puerto Berrio and Saint Peter's Square in the Vatican.

Cruz, who is the father of five children, has displayed his works in a number of cities in Colombia, such as Medellín and Barrancabermeja. He has also won several awards.

“What motivates me to build these works of art in toothpicks is the challenge of it. The structure is spectacular. It's not like the wood you cut and set in place. Here it's about joining stick to stick, seeing the lengths and making shapes. The degree of difficulty makes it more interesting,” the 59-year-old teacher told CNA.

Cruz revealed that he has never visited the monuments he has reproduced with toothpicks. Nor has he studied architecture or design. He just does research on the Internet and in books on every detail of the artwork he wants to reproduce.

His tools? A nail clipper and special wood glue.

Cruz commented that his motivation for building the replica of Saint Peter's Square was that in late 2015, he learned that Pope Francis might be visiting Colombia. The Vatican would later confirm the trip, which is scheduled for this September.

The construction of the artwork took 17 months. Cruz spent about five hours a day on the project. On weekends, he worked almost all day.

The Saint Peter's Square model was made of more than 36,000 toothpicks. It measures about 6 feet long by 3 feet wide.

Cruz said that one of the most beautiful characteristics of St. Peter's Square are the columns because “they are like arms that welcome Catholics from all parts of the world each time that the Pope celebrates a Mass or appears. The shape of the plaza is like a hug.”

While he was working on this structure, Cruz also made a reproduction of the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Roman Coliseum.

Regarding the pontiff's visit to his country, Cruz said that “we Colombians are waiting for the moment when the pope visits. It is critical to the process we are going through (as a nation).”

He added that the Pope is important to him because “I'm Catholic, my family is too. And so, who would not want to meet the Pope? If he is the closest representative of God that we have on Earth? For Catholics, who would not want to be at his side?

Cruz said that he would like to display the model of St. Peter's Square and the other works of art in Medellin during Pope Francis' apostolic visit.

“My dream is that wherever the Holy Father is, I'd be nearby with my artwork and so he could take a look at them…That is the dream I want to fulfill. So he would be with me for just a few seconds.”

The teacher hopes that the Antioquia political and religious authorities will take an interest in his work and he will have the opportunity to display them. “I'll keep on persevering and knocking on doors,” he said.

Cruz said that the governor of Antioquia will soon be visiting the school where he teaches, and he will take advantage of the occasion to show him the Saint Peter's Square, the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Roman Coliseum.

His upcoming projects include the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain, the Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary of Las Lajas, and Notre Dame Cathedral.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Papal Thoughts

Pope Francis celebrates Mass at Rome's St. Peter Damiani parish May 21, 2017. Credit: Screenshot/CTV.Vatican City, May 21, 2017 / 11:20 am - During a visit to a Roman parish Sunday, Pope Francis repeated his frequent condemnation of gossip, telling the congregation instead to always treat others with gentleness and respect, as the Holy Spirit does.

“The language of Christians who cherish the Holy Spirit, who was given to us as a gift, is special: they don’t have to speak in Latin, no. It’s another language: it’s the language of gentleness and respect,” the Pope said May 21.

Reflecting on these two points can help each of us to reflect on our own attitude as Christians, he said, asking “is it an attitude of gentleness, or of wrath? Or bitterness?”

“It’s terrible to see people who say they are Christians, but who are full of bitterness,” Francis said, adding that the language of the Holy Spirit “is gentle...because he’s gentle. And respect. Always respect others. He teaches to respect others.”

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Wednesday Word

Image result for “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.”Jesus said to his disciples:
"I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now.
But when he comes, the Spirit of truth,
he will guide you to all truth.
He will not speak on his own,
but he will speak what he hears,
and will declare to you the things that are coming.
He will glorify me,
because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you.
Everything that the Father has is mine;
for this reason I told you that he will take from what is mine
and declare it to you."

Jesus calmly tells his disciples: “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.” 

Jesus is leaving his disciples with what they can handle at the moment. He is also telling them that when they need more from him, the Spirit is the “mechanism” who will provide it.

Jesus isn’t saying that they are resisting all he has taught them. But rather that they’ve not yet had the experiences that will enable them even to perceive what knowledge they will need. There are encounters ahead for them where there are things they will need to know, but that from their present viewpoint, they can’t even imagine what those things are.

In essence, Jesus is saying to his followers: “There are some things I need to tell you, but you are not yet in a position to comprehend them.”

Then Jesus tells them something that changes everything, and it explains why he is so calm. After he departs, Jesus says, the Holy Spirit will come to guide them and to convey to them what the Spirit hears from Jesus.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Marianists REJOICE


Marianist Seminarians Bro. Peter and Bro. Daniel were installed as Acolyte(Bro. Daniel) and as Lector(Bro. Peter) in the Marianist Seminary, Rome Italy.


In proclaiming God's word to others, accept it yourselves in obedience to the Holy Spirit. Meditate on it constantly, so that each day you will have a deeper love of the Scriptures, and in all you say and do show forth to the world our Savior, Jesus Christ.










Take this vessel with bread (wine) for the celebration of the eucharist. Make your life worthy of your service at the table of the Lord and of his Church

Monday, May 22, 2017

Marianist Monday

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In living in community, we seek daily to recognize and witness to the presence of Jesus in our midst.

We understand our religious community to be our primary community, through which we work to help other communities of faith develop, flourish and multiply. Our Rule of Life calls us to live a common life of prayer, shared faith and transforming relationships. It is a life that helps us witness to the Gospel here and now.

Living a vibrant community life as men of different ages, personalities and sensitivities takes cooperation and mutual sacrifice, and we accept this challenge in faith.

We find in Mary the mother of Jesus our inspiration for family spirit, hospitality, simplicity and apostolic courage. The mysterious presence of Mary informs our way of living and working together in ways we don’t understand.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Sunday Word

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There' still time to study the Scriptures for the Sixth Sunday after Easter. It is in this preparation that we will be better prepared to hear, understand, receive, and be nourished by the Lord's Word today.

The first text from the Acts of the Apostles continues to relate stories of the Easter proclamation. This week Philip. Peter and John make their way to Samaria and those present are filled with great Easter joy. Through their witness and their words many are cured and baptized. Peter and John laid hands on them and they were filled with the Holy Spirit.

Then Peter weighs in with his first letter. He seems to lend some weight to explaining the Easter hope with gentleness and reverence. At times our work will meet with hostility and difficulty. But doing good with suffering is what Christ endured and he was brought to life in the Spirit.

And finally, Jesus does not mince words in today's Gospel reading when he says, “Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me. And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him.”

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Blessed Adele - faith

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I embrace you in spirit in the stable of Bethlehem. Let us join the holy Magi who are going there to adore the Savior. Let us imitate their courage and their unselfish faith. -- Adele, January 3, 1816

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Marianist Family

Please join us in prayers of gratitude for the life of Bro. John Totten, who died recently at age 103. 

He was a Marianist for 83 years. 

Bro. John was an alumnus of St. Mary's University and spent much of his long teaching career there.

Thank you, Bro. John, for the blessing you were to the Marianists Family.Image may contain: 2 people, eyeglasses and closeup

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Beatification for Mother Adele de Batz de Trenquelléon

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PROMULGATION OF THE DECREE OF BEATIFICATION

Dear Marianist brothers and sisters,

It is with great joy that we share the news that today, May 4, 2017, our Holy Father, Francis, signed the Decree of Beatification for Mother Adele de Batz de Trenquelléon, having received the favorable judgement of the Cardinals and Bishops who are members of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, rendered in their meeting of May 2. The Cardinal Prefect, His Eminence Angelo Amato, presented the favorable vote to the Pope this morning, and the Holy Father signed the Decree regarding the “miracle, attributed to the intercession of the Venerable Servant of God Mary of the
Immaculate Conception (neé: Adelaide de Batz de Trenquelléon), founder of the Daughters of Mary Immaculate; born 10 June 1789 and died 10 January 1828.”


We are infinitely grateful to God, the Most Blessed Virgin Mary and Venerable Mother Adele for this happy outcome, so long sought, regarding the case of the miraculous cure of Sr. Michela Messina, FMI.

We ask you to offer the Eucharist next May 12, the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mediatrix of All Graces, in thanksgiving for this singular grace received in favor of Mother Adele and the entire Marianist Family.

Fr. Antonio Gascón, SM, Postulator of the Cause

M. Franca Zonta, FMI, Superior General

Monday, May 8, 2017

"Do Whatever He Tells You: Vocation, Virtue, and Marian Courage."

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All our college-age graduates are invited to our upcoming college-age alumni men's retreat "Do Whatever He Tells You: Vocation, Virtue, and Marian Courage."

The retreat will run from Monday, May 22nd through Wednesday, May 24th.

There are few better ways to begin a summer than with friends, in prayer, surrounded by the natural beauty of Founder's Hollow.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

To live in the light

We're called to live in the light, but we tend to have an overly romantic idea of what that should mean. We tend to think that to live in the light means that there should be a kind of special sunshine inside of us, a divine glow in our conscience, a sunny joy inside us that makes us constantly want to praise God, an ambience of sacredness surrounding our attitude. But that's unreal. What does it mean to live in the light?

To live in the light means to live in honesty, pure and simple, to be transparent, to not have part of us hidden as a dark secret.

All conversion and recovery programs worthy of the name are based on bringing us to this type of honesty. We move towards spiritual health precisely by flushing out our sickest secrets and bringing them into the light. Sobriety is more about living in honesty and transparency than it is about living without a certain chemical, gambling, or sexual habit. It's the hiding of something, the lying, the dishonesty, the deception, the resentment we harbor towards those who stand between us and our addiction, that does the real damage to us and to those we love.

Spiritual health lies in honesty and transparency and so we live in the light when we are willing to lay every part of our lives open to examination by those who need to trust us.

· To live in the light is to be able always to tell our loves ones where we are and what we are doing.

· To live in the light is not have to worry if someone traces what websites we have visited.

· To live in the light is to not be anxious if someone in the family finds our files unlocked.

· To live in the light is to be able to let those we live with listen to what's inside our cell-phones, see what's inside our emails, and know who's on our speed-dial.

· To live in the light is to have a confessor and to be able to tell that person what we struggle with, without having to hide anything.

To live in the light is to live in such a way that, for those who know us, our lives are an open book.

Fr. Ronald Rohleiser, OMI

Friday, May 5, 2017

Imagine

After the completion of Disney World, someone remarked, "Isn't it too bad that Walt Disney didn't live to see this!" Mike Vance, creative director of Disney Studios replied, "He did see it -- that's why it's here."

Everything in life that we use or hold, eat or watch, wear, sit in or listen to -- in other words, everything that is a creation of human ingenuity -- started out as a dream. Before anything can become tangible, it must first become a reality in the mind of its dreamer. Only when the dream is real for one can it become real for all.

Like it or not, no one person shaped the face of American pop culture in the 20th Century more than Walt Disney, and no one entertainment company has been as consistently influential as The Disney Company.

During Walt's lifetime and after his death, the company never ceased to plow ahead, creating groundbreaking animated films, popular television shows, and theme parks that rank as some of the biggest tourist attractions in the world. Today, Disney magic infiltrates almost every aspect of American culture, from literature to sports to music to computers -- and the company continues to explore new opportunities.

Disney remains doggedly determined to dominate the business of making dreams come true. Our two high schools create a senior trip to Disney World in Orlando, Florida where the seniors can create lasting bonds of friendship. Each school offers the senior class trip from Thursday to Sunday to experience the imagination and creativity of Walt Disney.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

HUmble yourself

We are in the middle of the Blue and Gold season. Every afternoon hundreds of young ladies gather together to prepare an evening of storytelling, tumbling, hip-hop, and more. The one night performance will be an evening of energy and excitement. Everyone has their place of honor in the sunlight. It's the dream team.

Now, nothing made the Pharisees happier than having the place of honor at banquets, the best seats in the synogogues and respectful greetings of people in the marketplace. They sat on the seat of the great prophet Moses dressed as wise teachers of the law, with broad phylacteries and long fringes — the religious bling of first-century Judaism. They stroked their beards and beamed with pride when people called them “rabbi."

They were the height of arrogance. Flying high. Just not with it. And Jesus wanted to bring them down.

“Do whatever they teach you,” he says, “but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they teach."

The scribes and Pharisees are hypocrites — people who talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk. As exceptional men, they believe it was their duty to offer the gift of moral clarity to others. But as for practicing a little charity? Someone else’s problem!

Clarity, without charity, equals hypocrisy.

In place of arrogance, Jesus recommends humility. And then Jesus surprises everyone by making a statement that turns everything upside down, sending the arrogant down to the basement and the humble up to the penthouse suite. “The greatest among you will be your servant,” he predicts. “All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted."

WE learn this so well when we work with people. The Blue and Gold participants learn this day in and day out. Little steps add up. Serving others produces great results. Those who humble themselves will be exalted, says Jesus. That’s the height of humility.

In the end, we don’t get anywhere by exalting ourselves. We learn that the only real lift comes from exploring humility. Call it the height of humility. Call it God's dream team. See you at Blue and Gold!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The Bread of Life

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Today’s readings speak of the relationship that exists between a believer and God. The more one draws closer to God, the stronger the relationship is. The believer knows that God will provide all that is necessary for life – life now and also eternal life. All that is asked of the believer is to proclaim one’s relationship with God.

Our first reading is an account of the martyrdom of St. Stephen. As he faces his death, Stephen places himself into the hands of God. The beautiful psalm response for today echoes Stephen’s faith in the words “Into Your hands I commend my spirit.” 

It is psalm of trust in God.

And Jesus, in the Gospel today, describes Himself as the Bread of Life which nourishes those who receive Him – and this nourishment is forever.

Stephen is the first martyr. We know the Greek word for “martyr” means “witness.” Stephen gives witness to his relationship with God by the ultimate sign of witnessing – his death. As a Spirit-filled individual and a man of faith and wisdom, he knows the cost of giving witness. In his final speech, Stephen reflects on the role of the prophets of old. They were persecuted by unfaithful individuals. Stephen is willing to take on the role of prophet (to speak for God) and to give witness to the relationship which God wants to establish with those who believe in the Lord Jesus. Thus, as he is being dragged out of the city of Jerusalem and stoned, he looks to the heavens and sees Jesus, his Risen Lord. He hands over his body to Jesus saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit . . . Lord; do not hold this sin against them.”

One of those to whom he gives witness is a young man named Saul.
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We may recall that Jesus has fed the multitude earlier in the sixth chapter of the Gospel of St. John. The people in today’s Gospel seek a sign from Jesus. They know Jesus is a great teacher and prophet like Moses of old. As God’s spokesperson, Moses “performed” many signs. Jesus reminds His listeners that Moses did not do the miracles. It was God who provided for the people. Jesus continues by saying that God is now providing an even better bread – a bread which gives eternal life. The people cry out for this bread. Jesus says that He is the Bread of Life. He is the One Who will nourish the believers in a way in which they will never want for any other food.

The readings today challenge us to look at our relationship with Jesus.

“Do I really seek Jesus as the source of our life?”

The more I deepen my relationship with Jesus, the more I will be able to be a martyr for (witness to) Jesus – the more I will want to be a martyr (witness).

And I will only be able to do that if I feed on Jesus, the Bread of Life.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Marianist Monday

May, 2016

Dear Friends,

Happy Easter!

A few weeks ago, I was reflecting on a familiar passage from scripture. This passage from the Book of the Prophet Daniel (3:14-20, 91-92, 95) serves as the first reading for Wednesday of the Fifth Week in Lent. It is a passage, a story, that has always captured my interest and my curiosity.

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My reflection focused on the courage of the three young men – Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. The three young men are, along with everyone else under King Nebuchadnezzar’s rule, instructed – commanded – to bow down and worship the statue. They are commanded to worship the statue, the idol, the false god. They refuse to do so. Their response is amazing:
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“There is no need for us to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If our God, whom we serve, can save us from the white-hot furnace and from your hands, O king, may he save us! But even if he will not, know, O king, that we will not serve your god or worship the golden statues that you set up.”

Wow! To have the courage, to have the faith, to say that to King Nebuchadnezzar. King Nebuchadnezzar was arguably the most powerful ruler in his day.

The king was pretty mad. The verse from Daniel paints quite a vivid picture of his anger: “King Nebuchadnezzar's face became livid with utter rage against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.” He then orders the three young men thrown into the fiery furnace, heated seven times hotter than usual.

We all face situations, daily situations, in fact, where we might fall short in the courage department. These include situations involving temptation, situations involving comments about our faith from non-believers or skeptics.

These situations in which we find ourselves pale in comparison to the situations in which our Christian brothers and sisters find themselves in parts of the Middle East and Africa. Hardly a day passes when we do not hear of some new atrocity committed against Christians in these parts of the world. During the Mass of the Holy Spirit at Catholic University to open the 2014-2015 academic year, Cardinal Donald Wuerl said, “Atrocities occur for two reasons. There are those willing to commit them and there are those who remain silent.”

In light of these reflections, my prayer for us this Easter season is twofold:

1. Should we ever be faced with such intense persecution, I pray that we would have the courage to stand up for our faith. I pray that, during any situation in which we encounter the least bit of resistance to our faith, we would not give in.

2. I also pray that we do not forget our suffering Christian brothers and sisters in the troubled parts of our world. We live in a crazy dangerous world. Let us be thankful for all the blessings we have received.

In Christ,

Bro. Benjamin Knapp, S.M.

P.S. My goodness, time flies! It seems like only yesterday when we were all together for our January College-Age Retreat at Meribah.

Our next Retreat for College-Age Men will take place at Founder’s Hollow, “Do Whatever He Tells You: Vocation, Virtue, and Marian Courage” runs from Monday, May 22 through Wednesday, May 24, 2017. Our theme references one of Blessed Chaminade’s favorite quotations from Scripture. Our goal is to provide each and every retreatant with some down time to reflect on where he has been and where he is going in life. To register, enter the following link in your web browser: https://goo.gl/forms/45Yoa0dGhF7YjYhr1