Friday, November 16, 2018

Dorothy Day



By Mary DeTurris Poust

"Dorothy Day is one of the most significant women in the life of the Church in the United States." That's how Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York began a moving and inspiring talk about the founder of the Catholic Worker Movement on the anniversary of her birthday Nov. 9 at St. Joseph's Church in Greenwich Village. The video clip above is worth watching to the end. I had tears in my eyes by the time it was over, but I'll give you the synopsis of what Archbishop Dolan labeled the six "insights" we can take from Dorothy Day.

1. "She was quintessentially American." The archbishop went on to emphasize that Dorothy's faith was freely chosen. She was raised Protestant and converted to Catholicism. Her faith was "her free choice," something Archbishop Dolan said should resonate particularly well with Americans who more and more reject the faith of their births.

2. "Dorothy was from the beginning a social critic and activist in the best prophetic sense of American Christian spirituality, whether Protestant, Catholic, or Orthodox." The archbishop said that Dorothys' vision and her intellectual contributions may well have "foreshadowed" what Pope John XXIII, Vatican II, and Pope John Paul II tried to advance "relative to the dignity of each person as a worker, as a human being created in the image and likeness of God."

3. "Dorothy's mission to the Church in every area -- social and legal reform, workers' rights, publications, her renowned pacifism, the ability to prophetically challenge even Church authority -- all of that found its taproot in prayer," something the archbishop said is too often reversed by reform-minded leaders. He stressed that Dorothy began and ended each day with prayer and rarely missed daily Mass, adding, "Her activism was the fruit of a profound prayer that I would say bordered on the mystic."

4. "Dorothy lived through two experiences of her day that are particularly enlightening for us today. Experience one: loneliness, alienation and disconnection to foundational institutions such as marriage and family. Secondly, the sexual revolution..." Archbishop Dolan called her life one of "upheaval," but said that her Augustinian model of faith reminds us that our sexuality cannot be cast aside as a weakness but is integral to our lives as an expression of our likeness to God. "She invites us to watch her grow in integrity in this most precious act of being human," he said.

5. "Dorothy neither hid from sin nor would allow any person, no matter their motives, to be simply equated with the sum of their sins. We are not ever or only the sum total of our sins, are we?" The archbishop said that Dorothy's life was "ever in process" and she was ever more converted to Jesus Christ every day. "Holiness of life, Dorothy would tell us, would have no chance without honesty at its base," he said, stressing that we cannot deny or lawyer up when it comes to our mistakes.

6. "Dorothy was a woman of the Church. She loved being a Catholic. She loved the Catholic Church. I'm not talking about some nebulous, generic Church. She loved the one, holy, catholic, apostolic, Roman church...She was proud to be Catholic."

Finally, Archbishop Dolan went on to say that our greatest pastoral challenge as Catholics today is to "respond to those who want Christ without his Church, and their name is legion." Saying that many people don't have a problem with Jesus but have "tons of problems" with his Church, he pointed out that Dorothy knew full well the flaws of her Church and loved it anyway:
"She loved the mystical body, but she new the mystical body had warts galore...Here's one of her saltier quotes, and there were many: 'Yes, the Church is the spotless bride of Christ, but at other times, she's the whore of Babylon.' Dorothy was well aware of the flaws, the wounds, the imperfections, the ugly side of the Church, but she loved it all the more."
Amen.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Marianist spirit

On Wednesday we had a vocations evening in the Kellenberg Memorial Community known as Operation Fiat. It is a chance for those pondering religious life to have a look at a Marianist community and chat with some of the Brothers about the Community, our life, and our mission. 

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There were over sixty young men who spent the evening in Adoration, Benediction, Evening Prayer, dinner, and conversation. 
I was struck over the course of the day by how often I was asked the question - each time expressed in a slightly different way - what is Marianist spirituality?  This can be something of a tricky question for Marianists to answer. For Marianists, a spiritual life is one that is guided and inspired by the Holy Spirit in all its aspects and dimensions. Blessed Chaminade passed to us a way of life and a mission. Yet if this tradition is to lead both those that hear us teach and the Brothers themselves to God, it must be founded on the one true God. That is, it must be founded on love. Hence a loving family spirit - that leads us to Jesus through Mary - the motto of the Marianists.
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The New Testament inspires the whole of our community life. We are guided by this new commandment of love. If we forget this commandment, our life together will be a source of ruin. If this commandment of love directs our actions, our community life will rekindle with joy, inspire love and esteem our vocation, attract others to share our life, and strengthen our apostolic work of education.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Papal Meetings


Monday, November 12, 2018

Prayer for Veterans Day



We ask for blessings on all those who have served their country in the armed forces.
We ask for healing for the veterans who have been wounded,
in body and soul, in conflicts around the globe.
We pray especially for the young men and women, in the thousands, 
who are coming home from Iraq with injured bodies and traumatized spirits.
Bring solace to them, O Lord; may we pray for them when they cannot pray.
We ask for an end to wars and the dawning of a new era of peace,
As a way to honor all the veterans of past wars.
Have mercy on all our veterans from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq,
Bring peace to their hearts and peace to the regions they fought in.
Bless all the soldiers who served in non-combative posts;
May their calling to service continue in their lives in many positive ways.
Give us all the creative vision to see a world which, grown weary with fighting,
Moves to affirming the life of every human being and so moves beyond war.
Hear our prayer, O Prince of Peace, hear our prayer
Amen.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

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.

MIGUEL LÉIBAR GARAY
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.

FLORENCIO ARNÁIZ CEJUDO
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.

JOAQUÍN OCHOA SALAZAR
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.

SABINO AYASTUY ERRASTI
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.”

Monday, November 5, 2018

Marianist Monday

November, 2018

My dear graduates of Chaminade, Kellenberg Memorial, and St. Martin de Porres Marianist School,

Yesterday, I had occasion to remember some immortal lines from Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales:

Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote,
The droghte of March hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veyne in swich licóur
Of which vertú engendred is the flour; . . .
Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages,
And palmeres for to seken straunge strondes,
To ferne halwes, kowthe in sondry londes;
And specially, from every shires ende
Of Engelond, to Caunterbury they wende,
The hooly blisful martir for to seke,
That hem hath holpen whan that they were seeke.

Well, it wasn’t exactly a warm, breezy day in spring – more like an uncharacteristically cold, windy Sunday in October. The skies were cobalt blue, and temperatures hovered in the low 40s. And on this Sunday in mid-October – October 21, to be exact – several Brothers and lay teachers escorted a group of sodalists on a pilgrimage of sorts, from Mineola to Lower Manhattan. We gathered at 8:30 a.m.,

Image result for pilgrimagewalked to the Mineola Train Station, rode the Long Island Railroad to the Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn, and from there pounded the pavement northwest on Flatbush Avenue and over the Brooklyn Bridge to the Church of St. Andrew, right next to One Police Plaza. Fr. Garrett said Mass for us at St. Andrew’s, a church established in 1842 and recently acquired by the Sisters of Life to become the downtown headquarters for their outreach programs to unwed, pregnant women.

All told, we walked three or four miles, for about an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes, at best. So, the distance and the strain paled in comparison to what those hardy pilgrims of the Middle Ages endured, or even many of our contemporaries who have hiked the Camino de Santiago.

Still, for me, making this “pilgrimage” was a major accomplishment, because it was the longest walk I have taken since my hip surgery back in June. I was a little nervous before our departure, wondering if I would be able to make the trip without slowing down the group. For better or for worse, I don’t get much exercise, so I was certainly not in the same shape as our younger teachers and our even younger students. But I made it! I kept up with the group and sometimes was even in the lead, despite one replaced hip, another hip that will need replacing a few years down the line, some 62 years of age, and more extra pounds than I care to admit.

I was reminded of a lot of lessons that day, so I am particularly grateful that I did not let my fears dissuade me from taking this next major step of my full recovery.

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And what exactly was I reminded of? Of the many parallels between life and a pilgrimage, of course. Life is a journey, a pilgrimage, and we complete it by putting one foot in front of another, in spite of all the temptations to take it easy, to stay at rest, and to stagnate. You set out, you put one foot in front of another, with faith that somehow, someway, you will make it to your destination. Without that faith, all is lost. With that faith, what is daunting becomes doable, and what seems impossible becomes possible.

There will always be challenges and difficulties along the road. But there will also be great rewards. The view of the New York City skyline, the sun glinting off the glass-sheathed One World Trade Center, the sturdy arches and the graceful cables of the Brooklyn Bridge all took my breath away, as they do every time I see them (these days, usually by car). And then, of course, was the satisfaction of reaching our destination, much less worse for the wear than I had imagined.

To reach your destination, it’s not a bad idea to have a guidebook, a subway map, GPS on your phone, a Bible and a Lives of the Saints in your backpack.

Here’s another important point: I made the mid-October pilgrimage in the company of many fellow pilgrims. We would do well in life to travel in groups, to rely on our fellow travelers for support and encouragement. Are our fellow pilgrims perfect? By no means. I found myself getting annoyed from time as our more athletic pilgrims bolted way out front, sometimes as much as a football field’s length ahead of the group. And exasperated when other pilgrims would dawdle and stand stock still, staring at the sights, as if they had never seen a skyscraper before! Irritated, when one or the other particularly garrulous pilgrim would rattle on and on about some trivial pursuit of his. And then, as should come as no surprise, frustrated with myself for growing impatient with my fellow pilgrims in the first place.

For all their foibles (and mine too!), these were the pilgrims that God had given me that day. Without them, I never would have made the pilgrimage in the first place. Besides that, when all was said and done, their foibles were just that – foibles, minor weaknesses and nothing more. Far more important was the youth and enthusiasm of my companions, their good cheer and their lively curiosity, and their willingness to go on a religious pilgrimage when they could have been doing scores of other things on a sunny, autumn Sunday.

The journey of life is not always easy. We can’t always choose our fellow travelers. But, by God, we have fellow travelers in the first place, and we have the strength to put one foot in front of another. Further, if we cultivate the right attitude, we can discover the joy of the journey and, one day, taste the unfathomable rewards of our destination.

Let’s get going!

On behalf of all my Marianist Brothers,

Bro. Stephen

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Vocation Awareness Week

The Vocation of a Brother

Here is an excerpt from Fr. James Martin, S.J. who writes for America Magazine on St. Alphonsus and the vocation of the Brother:

Earlier in the week I posted a link to a story about a wonderful Christian Brother who began a school in New York for the poor. Just a few days ago, another Catholic brother, André Bessette, became the first member of the Congregation of the Holy Cross to be canonized. Catholic brothers, like Catholic sisters, are the unsung heroes of the church, laboring in schools, hospitals, parishes and other ministries with somewhat less public acclaim than their priestly counterparts.

The vocation of the Catholic brother is often misunderstood. Frequently they are asked, even by members of their own religious order, "Why don't you get ordained?" Is is often an insensitive question. You might as well ask a married man why he didn’t join a religious order. Or you might ask a young married woman: “Why aren't you in a convent?” It is simply a different vocation. Early on in my Jesuit life, a Jesuit brother memorably explained his vocation to me this way: "I just don't relate to people as a father. I relate to them as a brother.”

In the 1990s, when I worked in Kenya with the Jesuit Refugee Service, the refugees took to calling me Brother Jim. I was not ordained yet, so “Father Jim” was out, and they felt uncomfortable calling me simply “Jim,” so therefore: Brother Jim. It was an honorific that I treasured. And my friend's words about relating to people as a brother helped me to accompany the refugees more easily. And, 
truth to tell, on the day I was ordained a priest several years later, on perhaps the happiest day of my life, I felt nonetheless that while I was receiving an incredibe gift from God, I was also losing something: being seen publicly as a brother.

Sunday (Oct. 31) is the feast of another remarkable Catholic brother, St. Alphonsus Rodríguez, the humble Jesuit porter of Majorca. Here is a brief excerpt from my book The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything, which I offer as a tribute to this remarkable man, and to all the Catholic brothers. 

Alphonsus had come to the Society of Jesus by a circuitous route. Born in 1533, he was the second son of a prosperous cloth merchant in Segovia. When Peter Favre, one of the original Jesuits, visited the city to preach, the Rodríguez family provided hospitality to the Jesuit. Favre, in fact, prepared the young Alphonsus for his First Communion, an important rite of passage in the church.

At 12, Alphonsus was sent to the Jesuit college at Alcalá, but his father's death put an end to his studies: he was forced to return home to take over the family business. At 27, Alphonsus married. He and his wife Maria had three children, but, tragically, his wife and children all died, one after the other. Heavy taxes and expenses led Alphonsus to the brink of financial ruin; many biographers depict him as feeling like a failure in life. In desperation he called on the Jesuits for guidance. The lonely widower prayed for many years to understand God's desires for him.

Gradually Alphonsus found within himself the desire to become a Jesuit. At 35, he was deemed too old to begin the long training required for the priesthood and he was rejected for entrance. But his holiness was evident to the local provincial, who accepted Alphonsus into the novitiate as a brother two years later. The provincial is supposed to have said that if Alphonsus wasn’t qualified to become a brother or a priest, he could enter to become a saint. He stayed for only six months before being sent to the Jesuit school in Majorca, Spain in 1571, where he assumed the job of porter, or doorkeeper.

Each time he opened the door, as I had mentioned, Brother Alphonsus said to himself, "I'm coming, Lord!" The practice reminded him to treat each person with as much respect as if it were Jesus himself.

In 1605 Peter Claver, a 25-year-old Jesuit seminarian, met the humble, 72-year-old Alphonsus at the college. The two met almost daily for spiritual conversations, and in time Alphonsus would encouraged Peter to think about working overseas in "the missions.” The prospect thrilled Peter, who wrote to his provincial for permission, and was sent to Cartagena, in what is now Colombia, to work with the West African slaves who had been captured by traders and shipped to South America. For his tireless efforts to feed, counsel and comfort the slaves, who had endured horrifying conditions, Peter would earn the sobriquet el esclavo de los esclavos, the slave of the slaves.

Peter Claver, the great missionary, would be canonized for his heroic efforts. Alphonsus Rodríguez would be canonized for his own brand of heroism: a lifelong humility.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Patron Saint of Hairdressers

Saint Martín de Porres was noted for tireless work on behalf of the poor, establishing an orphanage and a children's hospital. He maintained an austere lifestyle, which included fasting and abstaining from meat. His devotion to prayer was notable even by the pious standards of the age. Among the many miracles attributed to him were those of levitation, bilocation, miraculous knowledge, instantaneous cures and an ability to communicate with animals.

St. Martin de Porres became the patron saint of hairdressers because hairdressing was one of the duties he performed for his brothers in the friary.

Check him out, doesn't he look like the guy who played Jesus in Madonna’s Like A Pray music video?

St. Martin de Porres was born at Lima, Peru, in 1579. His father was a Spanish gentleman and his mother a black 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, and infirmarian among other things.

I wonder what I have to do to get canonized as a modern day saint?

Friday, November 2, 2018

November 2: All Souls Day


“Since I have the chance now, there is something I very much want to say to you. I hope that among those of you listening to me today there are some of the future saints of the twenty-first century.

What God wants most of all for each one of you is that you should become holy. He loves you much more than you could ever begin to imagine, and he wants the very best for you. And by far the best thing for you is to grow in holiness.

Perhaps some of you have never thought about this before. Perhaps some of you think being a saint is not for you. Let me explain what I mean. When we are young, we can usually think of people that we look up to, people we admire, people we want to be like. It could be someone we meet in our daily lives that we hold in great esteem. Or it could be someone famous. We live in a celebrity culture, and young people are often encouraged to model themselves on figures from the world of sport or entertainment. My question for you is this: what are the qualities you see in others that you would most like to have yourselves? What kind of person would you really like to be?

When I invite you to become saints, I am asking you not to be content with second best. I am asking you not to pursue one limited goal and ignore all the others. Having money makes it possible to be generous and to do good in the world, but on its own, it is not enough to make us happy. Being highly skilled in some activity or profession is good, but it will not satisfy us unless we aim for something greater still. It might make us famous, but it will not make us happy. Happiness is something we all want, but one of the great tragedies in this world is that so many people never find it, because they look for it in the wrong places. The key to it is very simple – true happiness is to be found in God. We need to have the courage to place our deepest hopes in God alone, not in money, in a career, in worldly success, or in our relationships with others, but in God. Only he can satisfy the deepest needs of our hearts.

Not only does God love us with a depth and an intensity that we can scarcely begin to comprehend, but he invites us to respond to that love. You all know what it is like when you meet someone interesting and attractive, and you want to be that person’s friend. You always hope they will find you interesting and attractive, and want to be your friend.

 God wants your friendship. And once you enter into friendship with God, everything in your life begins to change. As you come to know him better, you find you want to reflect something of his infinite goodness in your own life. You are attracted to the practice of virtue. You begin to see greed and selfishness and all the other sins for what they really are, destructive and dangerous tendencies that cause deep suffering and do great damage, and you want to avoid falling into that trap yourselves. You begin to feel compassion for people in difficulties and you are eager to do something to help them. You want to come to the aid of the poor and the hungry, you want to comfort the sorrowful, you want to be kind and generous. And once these things begin to matter to you, you are well on the way to becoming saints.”
--Pope Benedict XVI
Greeting to Catholic Pupils of the United Kingdom
St Mary's College, Twickenham
17 September 2010

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Saints among us


The prayers of All Saints Day highlight our belief that we continue to be in relationship with those who have gone before us, marked with the sign of faith. It is not only a matter of our honoring the holy lives these brothers and sisters led but also of acknowledging that they who are already with the Lord continue to be concerned for us and our welfare. That the very work of God can be manifest in our lives calls us to the responsibility of living in a way that the love of God be transparent in our deeds and relationships. Finally, our prayer on All Saints Day reminds us that when we share at the altar of the Lord's table we have a foretaste of the banquet the saints share forever in the reign of God. 

The Church calendar sets aside many days to honor the most famous of saints. November 1 is the day for us to remember and honor those saints whose lives made headlines not in the daily papers but in the hearts of those they served and touched. All of us know such saints in our own lives - some who have gone home to the Lord and some who are still with us.

Happy All Saints Day to all!

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Saints & Halloween


The Saint Anthony Messenger answers questions about the origins of the next two days on the Christian calendar. The following are excerpts from the Saint Anthony Messenger report.

When you think of Halloween, what comes to mind? For a lot of people, Halloween has become synonymous with candy, costumes, scary stuff, witches, ghosts and pumpkins. But do you know the Christian connection to the holiday?

The true origins of Halloween lie with the ancient Celtic tribes who lived in Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Brittany. For the Celts, November 1 marked the beginning of a new year and the coming of winter. The night before the new year, they celebrated the festival of Samhain, lord of the dead. During this festival, Celts believed the souls of the dead, including ghosts, goblins and witches, returned to mingle with the living. In order to scare away the evil spirits, people would wear masks and light bonfires.

When the Romans conquered the Celts, they added their own touches to the Samhain festival, such as making centerpieces out of apples and nuts for Pomona, the Roman goddess of the orchards. The Romans also bobbed for apples and drank cider, traditions which may sound familiar to you. But where does the Christian aspect of the holiday come into play? In 835, Pope Gregory IV moved the celebration for all the martyrs (later all saints)from May 13 to November 1. The night before became known as All Hallows' Even or holy evening. Eventually the name was shortened to the current Halloween. On November 2, the Church celebrates All Souls Day.

The purpose of these feasts is to remember those who have died, whether they are officially recognized by the Church as saints or not. It is a celebration of the "communion of saints," which reminds us that the Church is not bound by space or time.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says that through the communion of saints "a perennial link of charity exists between the faithful who have already reached their heavenly home, those who are expiating their sins in purgatory and those who are still pilgrims on earth. Between them there is, too, an abundant exchange of all good things" (CCC #1475).

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

The Call

God is great and He is calling each one of us by name.
Where is He calling you?
Is he calling you to consider a Marianist vocation?

Monday, October 29, 2018

We are called to be Saints - Marianist Monday

What I regard as a really distinctive trait of our two orders, and what seems to me to be without a precedent in all the religious orders I know of, is the fact, as I have said, that we embrace the religious life in the name and for the glory of the Blessed Virgin, and for the sake of devoting ourselves to her, that is to say, our bodies and all that we possess, in order to make her known, loved and served. Religious life is to Christianity what Christianity is to humanity. It is as imperishable in the Church as the church is imperishable in human society. For this reason, it would
be futile to pretend to re-establish Christianity without the institutions which permit men to practice the evangelical counsels. However, it would be difficult and inopportune to try to revive these institutions today under the same forms they had before the Revolution. But no form is essential to the religious life. One can be a religious under a secular appearance. It will be less offensive to the misguided. It will be more difficult for them to be opposed. The world and the Church will be even further edified. Let us then form a religious association by pronouncing the three vows of religion, but without name or costume. Nova bella elegit Dominus (The Lord had chosen new wars); and let us put the entire plan under the protection of Mary Immaculate, to whom her Divine Son has reserved the final victories over hell.Let us be, my child,... let us be, in our humility the heel of the Woman.


(From Blessed Chaminade's Letter of August 24, 1839 Letter to the Retreat Masters.)

Sunday, October 28, 2018

A word on the Word

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If we take a pause to look at the Sunday Gospel we find a leap of faith.

Our Gospel says that we qualify for help before we can ask for help. Bartimaeus believed that he was worthy of help, not because he was a great person, but because he was one of God's children -- a Jew who had been looking for the arrival of the Son of David, the Messiah.

So, when Jesus heard his cries, and said, "Call him here," Bartimaeus responded by throwing off his cloak and leaping up to meet the one who could help him. He puts himself in a position to receive help and risks further embarrassment in order to get close to Jesus. It's an act of faith.

Bartimaeus thinks to ask, and asking is the key to receiving most anything we need. Jesus, in fact, would tell his disciples, "Whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours." Asking God for what we need in prayer and asking others for what we need in person opens the door to healing and wholeness.

Jesus' response to Bartimaeus is a question of invitation: "What do you want me to do for you?"

Bartimaeus is ready with a reply: "My teacher, let me see again."

"What do you want me to do for you?" Can you imagine Jesus asking you that question? What would be your response? What are your deepest needs that you haven't asked Jesus or anyone else to help you with? How might you take a leap of faith and ask, believing that you can receive all that you need and more?

Saturday, October 27, 2018

My Lord

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 my self,
and the fact that I think 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 I will 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 not leave me to face my perils alone.

-Thomas Merton

Friday, October 26, 2018

October leaves us


In Hardwood Groves

The same leaves over and over again!
They fall from giving shade above
To make one texture of faded brown
And fit the earth like a leather glove.

Before the leaves can mount again
To fill the trees with another shade,
They must go down past things coming up.
They must go down into the dark decayed.

They must be pierced by flowers and put
Beneath the feet of dancing flowers.
However it is in some other world
I know that this is the way in ours.
- Robert Frost

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Look ma. No feet






Now get yourself ready for a great Irish dance takeover of the world. Suzanne Cleary and Peter Harding, alumni of the Broadway hit "Riverdance," decided to take to the interwebs to spread their joyous take on Irish dancing with their two-person troupe Up & amp; Over It.

Filmmaker Jonny Reed creates the playful films to promote the new take on the historical dance form. So far they've made seven films and plan to take their show on the road next year. It will be a combination of film and dance.

For their most recent Youtube video, the duo took the traditional leg workout of Irish dancing and made it a hands-only affair. Enjoy your day and share your joy today. Now watch the magic:

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

The Catholicism Project

Bishop Robert Barron, former professor of systematic theology at the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary in Mundelein, Illinois has spent the last several years working on the Catholicism Project.

The purpose of this project is to present the story of the Catholic Church on its own terms by bringing viewers to the places where the Catholic story has taken place over the last two millennia.

We’re fortunate to be living in the time of this new evangelization that Blessed John Paul II spoke of, where the power of new media can help Christians spread the message of Christ to greater audiences than ever before. We are thankful for the tireless work Bishop Barron is doing and I hope you’ll take a few minutes to check his work out too.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Tuesday Tunes

LEAD ME TO THE CROSS - HILLSONG

Savior I come
quiet my soul remember
redemptions hill
Where Your blood was spilled
For my ransom
Everything I once held dear
I count it all as lost

Lead me to the cross
Where Your love poured out
Bring me to my knees
Lord I lay me down
Rid me of myself
I belong to You
Lead me, lead me to the cross

You were as I
Tempted and trialed
You are the word became flesh
Bore my sin and death
Now you're risen

To your heart
To your heart
Lead me to your heart
Lead me to your heart

Sunday, October 21, 2018

The Sunday Word

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Today's Gospel has Jesus telling his disciples that following him means thinking of themselves as people who:

• deny themselves for Jesus’ sake and for the sake of the Gospel, this may include risking and accepting worldly shame;

• are focused on Jesus and his words above all others;

• remain humbly dependent on God’s power to do God’s work;

• do not play the games of competitiveness, one-upmanship or glory grasping but choose the role of least of all and slave to all;

• relinquish control for who does what and how they do it in the kingdom;

• keep children at the center of their work, even when it appears distracting; and

• do not become overburdened by possessions but receive the gift of the hundredfold promise.

And after all that, James and John ask for places of special recognition! Unbelievable!

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Good Teacher

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Mark tells us that a man runs up to Jesus and kneels before him, asking him, "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" Although Saint Mark does not reveal his age, Saint Matthew says that he is a "young man." We might call him a Millennial, a person today in their 20s or early 30s.

Jesus lays out the commandments for him, ranging from "You shall not murder" through "Honor your father and mother." And the young man says, "Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth."

Clearly, this young man has a set of values, and is trying to craft a life of quality and authenticity.

Jesus looks at him, loves him, and says, "You lack one thing: go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me."

The young man is shocked and goes away grieving, because he has many possessions. He is unwilling to abandon his luxury lifestyle. We can assume that he had a lot of money.

Mark tells us that Jesus loves this young man -- yes, Jesus loves his adherence to the commandments, his values and his desire for quality. But Jesus sees one thing getting in the way of a life of integrity: the man's materialism. "Go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor," says Jesus. Jesus knows that if his earthly treasure is replaced with heavenly treasure, this young man will be ready to be a disciple.

Friday, October 19, 2018

FOCUS/SEEK Conference - Fr. Mike Schmitz

Fr. Mike Schmitz sits down with the Franciscan Friars of the Eternal Word during the 2018 FOCUS/SEEK Conference

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Open House - an annual event

Both of our Marianist high schools opened their doors on Saturday, October 13 for prospective students. Thousands of visitors followed self-guided tours and were greeted by enthusiastic students and faculty. Throughout the day faculty and students answered questions about the school's academic, activity and athletic programs. Visitors were able to experience the rich Marianist tradition in both Catholic schools.



Prospective Students Tour Chaminade

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Christian church dedicated to the Virgin Mary


We have a couple of “firsts” to deal with here. Saint James the Greater was the first Apostle of Jesus Christ to have been martyred. Also, the church that James and his disciples built around pillar and the wooden statue was the first Christian church dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Further, the vision of the Blessed Virgin was the first Marian Apparition in history.

The apparition of Our Lady of the Pillar is also unique in another way. The Virgin Mary was still alive and living in either Ephesus or Jerusalem when the apparition happened. Because of this, it’s apparent that Mary showed an ability that many Christian saints have exhibited over the ages … She was able to bilocate. Yup, She was in two places at the same time.

The apparition of Our Lady of the Pillar has been accepted as sacred tradition since the dawn of Christianity.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Our Lady of the Pillar


Today, October 12, is the celebration of Our Lady of the Pillar. For those who have never heard this title of Mary, it's what it sounds like - it is a shrine in Zaragoza, Spain, with...well...Mary atop a Pillar.

As the apostle James was in Spain preaching the Gospel and things weren't going well. Mary appeared to him (on top of a pillar) to encourage him in his endeavors. Of course, Spain was eventually converted and the Spaniards continue to honor St. James. Mary was still alive when she appeared to James. Mary, as Our Lady of the Pillar, is venerated in Spain and many parts of Latin America.

For us Marianists, this is a big day, too. On October 11, 1797 (the day before the feast), Marianist Founder Blessed William Joseph Chaminade arrived in Zaragoza. He had just been exiled from his native France because of the ongoing persecutions of the French Revolution. He would spend the next three years in Zaragoza, spending a great deal of time praying before the Shrine of Our Lady of the Pillar. And during those three years, something happened. Fr. Chaminade wrote practically nothing about his time in Spain, and only mentioned it in passing. However, he received some sort of inspiration or mission before Our Lady of the Pillar 
The Basilica
to return to France and "re-Christianize" the country devastated by the Revolution.

It was in Zaragoza that Fr. Chaminade began to develop a plan of bringing all types of people together into Sodalities as a means of evangelization. Of course, this led to the foundation of Marianist Lay Communities, The Daughters of Mary Immaculate (Marianist Sisters) and the Society of Mary (Marianist Brothers and Priests.)


Our Lady of the Pillar

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Santiago de Compostela


The Spanish legend tells us that on January 2, 40 AD, Saint James was near the newly-built Roman town of Caesaraugusta in the Roman province of Hispania. James was disheartened by the apparent failure of his evangelizing mission, so he stopped to pray on the bank of the Ebro River. While James and his few disciples were deep in prayer, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to them.

In the apparition, Mary stood on top of a marble pillar and she was accompanied by several angels. Mary assured James that he would soon have many converts to Christianity and that their faith would be as strong as the pillar upon which She was standing.

Further, Mary gave both the pillar and a small wooden statue of herself to James. Then, she instructed James to build a church on the spot where she appeared. Mary’s words were “This place is to be my house and this image and column shall be the title and altar of the temple that you shall build.”

Local tradition tells us that it took James and his disciples about one year to build the first simple chapel over the pillar and the wooden statue. James happened upon a “planned community” that was established for retired Roman Army soldiers and their dependents. Soon, the chapel was filled to overflowing at every Holy Mass.

James the Greater left for Jerusalem at some time during the year 41 AD and he was beheaded by Herod Agrippa in 44 AD. His body was returned to the area of what would one day be known as Santiago de Compostela in North-Central Spain.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Apparition of Our Lady of the Pillar

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The Apparition of Our Lady of the Pillar was approved as a miracle by the Sacred Congregation of Rites on August 7, 1723.


"According to ancient and pious tradition, St. James the Greater, led by Providence into Spain, spent some time at Saragossa. He there received a signal favor from the Blessed Virgin. As he was praying with his disciples one night, upon the banks of the Ebro, as the same tradition informs us, the Mother of God, who still lived, appeared to him, and commanded him to erect an oratory in that place. The apostle delayed not to obey this injunction, and with the assistance of his disciples soon constructed a small chapel.”

The original chapel was eventually destroyed, but the pillar and the statue remained intact. Constantine ordered a Romanesque cathedral to be built over the site in the 4th century.
The most recent church, the Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar, is Baroque in style and construction work on it began in 1681. The original building was finished in 1711, but there were additions as late as 1872.

Catholics who have prayed before the Altar of Our Lady of the Pillar include Saint John of the Cross, Saint Teresa of Ávila, Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Blessed William Joseph Chaminade and Saint John Paul II.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Our Lady of the Rosary






Pope Benedict XVI on the Rosary

When reciting the Rosary, the important and meaningful moments of salvation history are relived. The various steps of Christ's mission are traced. With Mary the heart is oriented toward the mystery of Jesus. Christ is put at the centre of our life, of our time, of our city, through the contemplation and meditation of his holy mysteries of joy, light, sorrow and glory. May Mary help us to welcome within ourselves the grace emanating from these mysteries, so that through us we can "water" society, beginning with our daily relationships, and purifying them from so many negative forces, thus opening them to the newness of God.


~ Recitation of the Holy Rosary, Address of His Holiness Benedict XVI, Basilica of Saint Mary Major, Saturday, May 3, 2008.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

How to know Christ

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Jesus tells his disciples that anyone who fails to care for those in need will be guilty of not caring for Jesus himself . 

The most effective mission experiences are those that cause us to look deeply at the needs of others and to stop and ask where we can participate with God in the work of the kingdom in every place. If we want people to know Christ, the best way to start is by acting like him!

Friday, October 5, 2018

It's not about us

The first great tenet of mission work that everyone who participates should repeat over and over again is this: it's not about us. Instead, it's all about asking and finding out what people really need rather than what we're expecting to give them. We're not heading out in order to justify ourselves, but rather to love our neighbors in the way that Jesus loves us: unconditionally, generously and humbly.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Invest yourself

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The hero of the Samaritan story is the Samaritan.

The Samaritan doesn't observe the right religion, like the priest and the Levite, but shows compassion to the stranger by actually stopping to care for him. The Samaritan didn't just drop off a few supplies, build the stranger a cinder block hospital, or snap a few pictures; instead, he poured expensive oil and wine on the victim's wounds, put him on his own animal, and took care of him at a roadside inn. He went out of his way to know what was needed and, once he assessed the situation, he stayed. Even when he had to leave, he left money for the local innkeeper to care for the man and promised to return. The Samaritan invested in the life of the stranger. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Foundation Day



On Tuesday, the Marianists of the Province of Meribah gave thanks to God as we celebrated Foundation Day! Our Province began in 1976 with our founding fathers, Fr. Francis Keenan, S.M. and Fr. Philip Eichner, S.M.

The Brothers' motto, Servire Quam Sentire, captures well the spirit which animates the members of the Province. We seek to put our own fears and reservations aside, and to serve the Lord with gladness and with joy.

The works of the Province have expanded since its initial foundation. Under the Meribah banner are: Chaminade High School, Kellenberg Memorial High School (including the Bro. Joseph C. Fox Latin School Division, for sixth, seventh and eight-graders); and St. Martin de Porres Marianist School (pre-k though eighth grade).

The Province also runs three retreat houses which are: Meribah, Emmanuel, and Founder's Hollow.

Since the Province of Meribah was created, it has maintained the common life of prayer, the common dress of the religious habit, and the common apostolates of education.