Monday, July 30, 2018

General Chapter Concludes

“Every General Chapter is an opportunity for each member and each community of the Society to evaluate their own life and discern what it is that the Lord asks of us at this moment in our history. Therefore, it must be open to what the Spirit inspires through the concerns and questions of the brothers... It is a time in which we all are called to participate responsibly in the tasks which pertain to each of us. We do so, united in reflection and prayer, with the ardent desire to respond with enthusiasm and dedication to what the Lord asks of us.”

A final prayer, a few words from the new superior general, one last vote and the XXXV General Chapter is closed.

Deo gratias.


Sunday, July 29, 2018

The Sunday Word

Image result for the child at the multiplication of the loaves and fish

The readings today are rich and familiar. In our Gospel story of the feeding the 5,000, there is one person whose vision and faith go virtually unsung by Saint John. As the disciples are worrying about Jesus' question -- "Where are we to buy bread for these people?" -- one small solution steps forward. A small child offers as an answer to the food question a new possibility -- five barley loaves and two fish. With childlike trust, the lad offers all that he has to Jesus and the disciples. Andrew has enough presence of mind (and perhaps a small flicker of hope) to offer these childish gifts to Jesus. But his hard-nosed adult rationality gets in the way, for even as Andrew offers the loaves and fish with one hand, he pulls them back with a defeatist, "What are they among so many?" dismissal.

Jesus likes the child's solution. He uses the little boy's gift to feed the people. This child's heartfelt gift indicates that his vision and hope were not limited by the accepted norms of the day. He saw possibility, not puniness, in those five loaves and two fish. The child taught the disciples a lesson: They should have been looking for ways to succeed, not looking for excuses to fail.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Teenager to be canonized

Teenager to be canonized with Paul VI and Oscar Romero
Kathleen N. Hattrup| J

As the bishops are discussing young people at the synod, young Nunzio Sulprizio will be declared a saint

Pope Francis announced today that on October 14, in addition to Paul VI and Oscar Romero, five more people will be canonized, including a young Italian layperson.

The canonization of Blessed Nunzio Sulprizio, who died at age 19, is particularly appropriate as it will take place during the Synod of Bishops on young people and vocation.

Blessed Nunzio Sulprizio was born in Pescosansonesco, Italy, on April 13, 1817, and died in Naples on May 5, 1836.

He will be raised to the altars alongside the same pope who beatified him, Paul VI. His beatification took place as the Church was in the midst of the Second Vatican Council on December 1, 1963.

Nunzio lost both of his parents while still a child and was brought up by an uncle, who abused and exploited him, forcing him to work in his blacksmith shop.

The youth found refuge before the Tabernacle where he would keep Jesus company.

Eventually he contracted gangrene and suffered terribly, but was known to say things such as:

Jesus suffered so much for us and by his merits we await eternal life.

If we suffer a little bit, we will taste the joy of paradise.

Jesus suffered a lot for me. Why should I not suffer for Him?

I would die in order to convert even one sinner.

When asked who was taking care of him, he would respond: “God’s Providence”.

He died from bone cancer in May of 1836 at age 19.
Other saints

The other four to be canonized October 14 are:

Blessed Francesco Spinelli, Italian diocesan priest and Founder of the Institute of the Sister Adorers of the Blessed Sacrament: 1853-1913.

Blessed Vincenzo Romano, Italian diocesan priest: 1751-1831.

Blessed Maria Caterina Kasper, German foundress of the Institute of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ: 1820-1898.

Blessed Nazaria Ignazia March Mesa (in religion: Nazaria Ignazia di Santa Teresa di Gesù), Spanish foundress of the Congregation of the Misioneras Cruzadas de la Iglesia Sisters: 1889-1943. (She died in Argentina.)

Friday, July 27, 2018

Bishop Barron: All sinners are welcome!

Flannery O'Connor would surely have been delighted with this Georgia sign.

While I was in central Georgia, filming the Flannery O’Connor episode of my Pivotal Players series, I saw a sign on the outside of a church, which would have delighted the famously prickly Catholic author: “All Sinners Are Welcome!”

I thought it was a wonderfully Christian spin on the etiquette of welcome that is so pervasive in our culture today. In a time of almost complete ethical relativism, the one value that everyone seems to accept is inclusivity, and the only disvalue that everyone seems to abhor is exclusivity. “Who am I to tell you what to do?” and, of course, everyone gets inside the circle. What I especially liked about the sign in Georgia was that it compels us to make some distinctions and think a bit more precisely about this contemporary moral consensus.

Is it true to say “everyone is welcome”? Well, yes, if we mean welcome into the circle of the human family, welcome as a subject of infinite dignity and deserving love and respect. Christians—and indeed all decent people—stand against the view, pervasive enough in the supposed culture of inclusion, that the unborn, the aged, the unproductive are not particularly welcome. If by “all are welcome,” one means that all forms of racism, sexism, and elitism are morally repugnant, then yes, the slogan is quite correct.

But let’s consider some other scenarios. Would we claim that everyone is welcome to become a member of the college baseball team? Everyone is welcome to try out, I suppose, but the coach will assess each candidate and will then make a judgment that some are worthy of being on the team and others aren’t. Like it or not, he will include some and exclude others.

Would we claim that everyone is welcome to play in a symphony orchestra? Again, in principle, anyone is invited to give it a go, but the conductor will make a fairly ruthless determination as to who has what it takes to make music at the highest level and who doesn’t, and he will include and exclude accordingly.

Would we argue that everyone is welcome to be a free member of our civil society? Well, yes, if we consider the matter in abstraction; but we also acknowledge that certain forms of behavior are incompatible with full participation in the public space. And if misbehavior is sufficiently egregious, we set severe limits to the culprit, restricting his movement, bringing him to trial, perhaps even imprisoning him.

With this basic distinction in mind, let us consider membership in the Church of Jesus Christ. Are all people welcome to the Church? Yes of course! Everyone and his brother cites James Joyce to the effect that the Catholic Church’s motto is “here comes everybody,” and this is fundamentally right. Jesus means to bring everyone to union with the Triune God, or to state the same thing, to become a member of his Mystical Body the Church. In John’s Gospel, Jesus declares, “When the Son of Man is lifted up, he will draw all people to himself.” Bernini’s colonnade, reaching out like great in-gathering arms from St. Peter’s Basilica, is meant to symbolize this universally inclusive welcome offered by Christ.

Is the Church, as Pope Francis says, a field hospital where even the most gravely wounded are invited for treatment? Is the Lord’s mercy available to everyone, even to the most hardened of sinners? Yes! And does the Church even go out from itself to care for those who are not explicitly joined to Christ? Yes! In fact, this was one of the reasons the Church was so attractive in the ancient world: When Roman society left the sick to fend for themselves and often cast away the newly-born who were deemed unworthy, the Church included these victims of the “throwaway culture” of that time and place.

However, does this mean that the Church makes no judgments, no discriminations, no demands? Does the Church’s welcome imply that everyone is fine just as he or she is? Here we have to answer with a rather resounding no. And that Georgia sign helps us to understand why. The Greek word that we translate as “church” is “ekklesia,” which carries the sense of “called out from.”

Members of the Church have been called out of a certain way of life and into another one, out of conformity with the world and into conformity with Christ. Every ecclesiastical person, therefore, is a welcomed sinner who has been summoned to conversion. She is someone who is, by definition, not satisfied with who she is. To return to the pope’s famous image, a field hospital receives not those who are doing just great but those who are deeply, even gravely, wounded.

The problem is that anytime the Church sets a limit or makes a demand or summons to conversion, she is accused of being “exclusive” or insufficiently “welcoming.” But this cannot be right. As Cardinal George once put it, commenting upon the famous liturgical song “All Are Welcome,” all are indeed welcome, but on Christ’s terms, not their own.

Bishop Robert Barron

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Adoration ...Silence

On Adoration...Silence....
Carlo Carretto (1910-1988)

Carlo Carretto was a leader in Italian "Catholic Action" and served as National President of Catholic Youth from 1946 to 1952. At the age of forty-four he heard the call of God to go into the desert. There he joined the Little Brothers of Jesus of Charles de Foucauld.

The great joy of the Saharan novitiate is the solitude, and the joy of solitude - silence, true silence, which penetrates everywhere and invades one's whole being, speaking to the soul with wonderful new strength unknown to men to whom this silence means thing.

Here, living in perpetual silence, one learns to distinguish its different shades: silence of the church, silence in one's cell, silence of work, interior silence, silence of the soul, God's silence.

To learn to live these silences, the novice-master lets us go away for a few days' "desert."

A hamper of bread, a few dates, some water, the Bible. A day's march: a cave.

A priest celebrates Mass: then goes away, leaving in the cave on an altar of stones, the Eucharist. Thus, for a week one remains alone with the Eucharist exposed day and night. Silence in the desert, silence in the cave, silence in the Eucharist. No prayer is so difficult as the adoration of the Eucharist. One's whole natural strength rebels against it.

One would prefer to carry stones in the sun. The senses, memory, imagination, all are repressed. Faith alone triumphs, and faith is hard, dark, stark.

To place oneself before what seems to be bread and to say, "Christ is there living and true," is pure faith.

But nothing is more nourishing than pure faith, and prayer in faith is real prayer.

"There's no pleasure in adoring the Eucharist," one novice used to say to me. But it is precisely this renunciation of all desire to satisfy the senses that makes prayer strong and real. One meets God beyond the senses, beyond the imagination, beyond nature.

This is crucial: as long as we pray only when and how we want to, our life of prayer is bound to be unreal. It will run in fits and starts. The slightest upset - even a toothache - will be enough to destroy the whole edifice of our prayer life.

"You must strip your prayers," the novice master told me. You must simplify, de- intellectualize. Put yourself in front of Jesus as a poor man: not with any big ideas, but with living faith. Remain motionless in an act of love before the Father. Don't try to reach God with your understanding; that is impossible. Reach him in love; that is possible.

The struggle is not easy, because nature will try to get back her own, get her dose of enjoyment; but union with Christ Crucified is something quite different.

After some hours - or some days - of this exercise, the body relaxes. A-, the will refuses to let it have its own wav it gives up the struggle. It becomes passive. The senses go to sleep. Or rather, as St. John of the Cross says, the night of senses is beginning. Then prayer becomes something serious, even if it is painful and dry. So serious that one can no longer do without it. The soul begins to share the redemptive work of Jesus.
Raphael's Disputation

Raphael's Disputation: On the Sacrament of the Altar represents the Church Triumphant contemplating the Divinity of Christ and the Church Militant worshipping him in the Sacrament of the Altar

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Prayer for the day

Image result for Lourdes

Father, hear the prayer we offer:
Not for ease that prayer shall be,
But for strength that we may ever
Live our lives courageously.

Not for ever in green pastures
Do we ask our way to be;
But the steep and rugged pathway
May we tread rejoicingly.

Not for ever by still waters
Would we idly rest and stay;
But would smite the living fountains
From the rocks along the way.

Be our strength in hours of weakness
In our wand’rings be our guide;
Through endeavor, failure, danger,
Father, be there at our side.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Lourdes Mission

Most of our service has been at the trains the past couple of days. We have assisted pilgrims from Nottingham, Belgium, and Italy. We also visited the Lourdes television studio that transmits to EWTN.

The early morning service and the late afternoon service has afforded us the opportunity to spend time in prayer, Adoration and the Baths.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Society of Mary - NEWS


Rome. July 21, 2018. The first order of business this morning was to determine the order of election for the three Assistants who, with the Superior General, will compose the General Council. The oldest member of the chapter, Fr. José María Arnaiz (attending his nineth General Chapter!), was chosen to select by lot the order of election. The first Assistant to be elected was the Assistant for Religious Life. The Assistant for Temporalities was chosen as the second to be elected, followed by the election of the Assistant for Education. After this order was determined, the capitulants continued with the election of the three General Assistants. Listed below are the results.

Assistant General for Religious Life: Fr. Pablo Rambaud, Province of Spain, was born on May 1, 1965 in Madrid, Spain. He made his novitiate at Zaragoza. On July 30, 1988 he professed his first vows in the Society of Mary at El Escorial, and perpetual vows in September 12, 1994. Later, he studied theology at the Gregorianum in Rome and was ordained to the priesthood on June 27, 1998 in Madrid. Fr. Pablo was a teacher at Colegio Nuestra Señora del Prado in Ciudad Real prior to his seminary studies, and then at several other Marianist schools following his ordination.

From 2004-2013 he served as the director of the Marianist Foundation in the Philippines, as well as Novices Director there. He returned to Madrid in 2013 and has served as chaplain of Nuestra Señora del Pilar, and director of the community. Fr. Pablo speaks fluent Spanish, Italian, English and has some command of French. Fr. Pablo has been elected to his first term as Assistant General for Religious Life.

Assistant General for Education: Bro. Maximin Magnan, Region of Togo, was born on May 25, 1961 in Lomé-Tokorin, Togo. Having completed novitiate studies in 1986, he professed first vows at Abidjan that same year. On September 21, 1991, Bro. Max professed perpetual vows. He has studied in Africa, Europe and the United States and has degrees in Catechetics, Mathematics and Physics. He speaks several languages fluently. In the SM, Bro. Max has served many years as a leader both on the Unit level and in education. He has been a provincial counselor, sector coordinator and regional superior (he was in his second term at the time of his election).

Throughout most of those years, he also served as director Collège Chaminade in Kara, Togo. He is well respected in Africa and beyond for his leadership skills and commitment to education. He is the first African to serve of the General Council of the Society of Mary. He is fluent in French, English, Italian, Spanish, German and Kabye. He was elected to his first term as Assistant General for Education at the General Chapter of 2012.

Assistant General for Temporalities: Bro. Michael McAward, Province of Meribah, was born on November 5, 1958 in New York, USA. He made his novitiate at Chaminade, Mineola, New York and following his first profession on May 30, 1978, he pursued higher studies leading to degrees in Theology, Mathematics and Spanish. He professed perpetual vows on May 31, 1981. Bro. Michael spent nearly 30 years at Chaminade High School in Mineola, serving as teacher, Counselor, Dean of Students and Principal.

He served two terms as community director and was a member of the Provincial Council. In 2005, he came to Rome to serve as Director of Communications for the General Administration and assisted in the preparation of the General Chapter of 2006. That year, with the election of Fr. Manuel Cortés as Superior General, he was appointed Secretary General, and served in this capacity until his election as Assistant General for Temporalities in 2013. Bro. Michael is fluent in English, Spanish, Italian and is able to understand French. Today, he begins his second term.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Society of Mary - NEWS

The General Chapter of the Society of Mary (Marianists) currently in session at the Marianist Generalate in Rome, the delegates elected Fr. André Fétis, S.M. to become our 15th Superior General. He succeeds Fr. Manuel Cortes, S.M. who just completed his second term as Superior General.

Fr. André Fétis, member of the District of Ivory Coast.

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

A member of the District of Ivory Coast, Fr. André was born on April 16, 1961 in Périgueux, France, the same city where our Founder, Blessed William Joseph Chaminade was born 200 years before! Fr. André made his novitiate at Art-sur-Meurthe, France. On August 31, 1985 he professed his final vows in the Society of Mary at Bordeaux. Later, he studied theology at the Gregorianum in Rome. Fr. André was ordained on June 25, 1996 at Antony.

Prior to his election in 2006 as the Assistant General for Religious Life, he served as rector of the Marian Shrine in Abidjan. Before going to Abidjan, Fr. André majored in music, studying both in Paris and Bordeaux. He was also the master of novices. He has the ability to communicate in several languages, including English, Spanish, French, German and Italian. Fr. André shared that, after 12 years as Assistant General for Religious Life, he thought his time in Rome was coming to a conclusion.

Yet, the Holy Spirit had other plans for him and, through the fraternal voice of his Brothers, the Spirit has called Fr. André to additional service of leadership in the SM and the Church. As always, Fr. André has responded with humble generosity.

The General Chapter continues, with the election of the General Assistants. The Chapter is expected to continue until July 29th. During this time, directions and priorities for both the new General Council, as well as the Society as a whole, will be discussed and determined.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Lourdes - Mission of Mercy

Our Missionaries of Mercy have had the chance to experience almost every area of the hospitalité and the sanctuary in some way by now. The Hospitalité has been particularly helpful on this trip because of the great deal of native-English speakers volunteering during our time here. We have learned a lot from them.

The weather has changed some of the plans in recent days but there is always still work to do for our students. We have been scheduled at the train station for a number of services already as there aren’t many volunteers this week and our students have done a very good job in their service at the station.

We are looking forward to getting the most out of the days we have left! Students will continue their formation classes tomorrow and be back again at the station in the evening.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Lourdes - Evening service

Part of of the hospitalier service is demanding. Last evening we were asked to greet and transport the large train filled with Italian pilgrims. They had travelled over 40 hours to arrive at Lourdes at 9:30p.m.

Along with many other volunteers, our Marianist pilgrims greeted the pilgrims with humility. Many were tired and hungry. A good number were maladies who needed greater attention and assistance moving to their transport.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Lourdes - Service Preparations

Our first evening in Lourdes led us to the rosary candlelight processions with an international flavor. Our students participated from the top of the Basilica the first night in Lourdes.

At the conclusion of the evening we stayed for a magnificent firework show set off from the Lourdes Fort. While Macy's does a great job back in New York, the French version on Bastille Day gave some serious competition.

Sunday, July 15th we participated in English Mass in the St. John Paul II Center and acquired our service papers in the Hospitalite - Notre Dame de Lourdes. WE shall start our service tomorrow in various sites.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

35th General Chapter - Society of Mary

As our 35th General Chapter continues in Rome, our capitulants gather in our "chapter room" above. Here Province of Meribah Michael McAward addresses the General Chapter during one of the sessions.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Marianist Monday

Related image

July, 2018

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

I must admit that my perspective for this letter has changed about four or five times since I began mulling it over in my head

My thoughts are occasioned by the recent suicides of celebrities Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. Spade rose to the top of her profession as a fashion designer, and, as I learned from my mother and my sisters, any stylish woman would be happy to number a Kate Spade handbag among the accessories in her wardrobe.

Bourdain was the executive chef for many years at Brasserie Les Halles in Manhattan. He authored a number of books about his experiences in the food industry, including Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly. As many of you know, Bourdain went on to host the popular CNN series Parts Unknown, a television travelogue featuring unique destinations all over the globe and, of course, their exotic foods. The show aired (and still does, posthumously) on Sunday nights at 9:00 p.m. After a long afternoon of marking papers or preparing class, it was – and still is – one of my guilty pleasures to travel with Tony to places like Sicily and South Korea, Uruguay and Appalachia, Reykjavik and Riyadh.

What are we to make of these suicides, both of which occurred, apparently, by hanging?

I thought I had the answer, and I thought the answer was God. I was going to opine that, ultimately, all the success in the world will not shield us from darkness and despair if we do not have God in our world. That seemed obvious enough to me.

But then a colleague, quite coincidentally, forwarded an article to me: “Every Day, a Survivor,” by Daysi Calavia-Robertson, appearing in the June 15, 2018 edition of Newsday. In it, the reporter bravely reveals,

I have a job I’ve dreamed of since I was a little girl, and a career I’m deeply
passionate about. I’m married to a handsome godsend of a man whose love
and support are the envy of many of my single friends. I have two, beautiful,
healthy children.

In many ways, I believe I’m one of the happiest, luckiest people I know.
And yet, it’s too easy for me to imagine the unbearable pain that drove
both Spade and Bourdain to their fates.

Ms. Calavia-Roberston goes on to describe the suicidal thoughts that she has entertained, from “slipping” into “a tub full of water and never coming up for air” to fantasizing “what it would be like to fall asleep and never wake up.”

When my anxiety is at its peak, depression swallows me like a puddle of quicksand. It strips me of myself. I look into the mirror and find nothing but loathing because I don’t feel like myself. And then this shocker: “As much as I believe in God, I know it can’t be faithed away.”

Needless to say, a statement like that gives me great pause. It leaves me speechless, at the very moment when I want to give an answer, when I want to say, “Do this, believe this, and you will find a way out of your darkness.”

Calavia-Robertson then poses the question I think we are all asking these days: “So, how do we fix this?”

Her answer consists of a combination of family and friends, professional help, medication, and candor about her condition:

Every day that I take my medication, every day that I reach out to
someone to talk about how I’m feeling, every day that other people’s
kindness and love remind me that I am not alone, and every time I
recognize that my mental illness does not define me, I win and
my demons lose.

Even as suicide, depression, and alcohol and substance abuse climb to record levels in our country, there is no room for simplistic solutions or a facile faith in our attempt to be of help.

Still, I would like to believe that God can and does play a significant role in helping us turn away from darkness and into the light. Newspapers, television news shows, and social media are all publicizing the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255), and rightly so.

I’d like to suggest another “lifeline” to those struggling with the forces of darkness: John 3:16. “For God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son, that everyone who believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Reach out. Get help. From all the many people out there who are waiting to help. Including God.

On behalf of all my Marianist Brothers,

Bro. Stephen

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Mission Trip to Lourdes 1

One of Marianist high schools, Kellenberg Memorial, has sent the a second group of missionaries for summer service in St. Bernadette's town of Lourdes.

The missionaries have arrived in Bordeaux! Tomorrow they will tour the city and attend Mass with the Marianist Community of Bordeaux while they visit the holy sites associated with Blessed William Joseph Chaminade before heading to Lourdes.

May Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception protect these missionaries of mercy during their time of service.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

35th General Chapter - Society of Mary 3

Three members of our Province of Meribah are assisting at the 35th General Chapter of the Society of Mary. Here Brothers Timothy, Michael and Peter pause after their preparations for this year's Chapter has been made.

Friday, July 13, 2018

35th General Chapter - Society of Mary

The capitulants concluded their official tasks of the day by choosing, according to the Manual of Procedures, Bro. Douglas A. Roper (PE) as president of the Coordinating Committee of the Chapter and Bro. Timothy Driscoll (ME) as secretary. Fr. Ignace Pagnan (TO) was chosen as the third member of the Coordinating Committee, which will guide and organize the good progress of the Chapter.
In the afternoon the capitulants came together to celebrate the Eucharist. United in the spirit of Mary, which Blessed Chaminade called the “spirit of the Institute”, the Brothers meditated on the message of the prophet Hosea: “I will allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak to her heart.” (Hos 2:16ff.) 

 Let us pray that the unity of the capitulants would be strengthened so that the spirit of the Society throughout the world would also grow stronger.
Brother Timothy 
Bro. Michael and Fr. Manuel
Bro. Peter

Thursday, July 12, 2018

35th General Chapter - Society of Mary

After many months of preparation and prayer, the 35th General Chapter of the Society of Mary opened with its first session at 11:00 am with 32 capitulants from five continents. The Superior General, Fr. Manuel Cortés, exhorted the delegates to be conscious of this historic and grace-filled moment that the Society of Mary is living now. With prayer, asking the intercession of our Founder and the strength of the Holy Spirit, the delegates solemnly began the Chapter.

Immediately following, the capitulants voted for the official opening of the Chapter, and approved the Manual of Procedures and the Calendar proposed by the Preparatory Commission (PREPCO).

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

St. Benedict - pray for us!

Pius XII wrote about our saint for today:

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

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

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

St. Benedict is the Patron of:

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

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

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

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

Things to do for the feast:

* Order your own copy of the original Rule of St. Benedict.
* Since St. Benedict is the patron of beekeepers, you could read up today on bees and bee keeping this day.

* Learn about the medal of St. Benedict.

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

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

St. Benedict - Listen

“Listen carefully, my child,
to your master’s precepts,
and incline the ear of your heart (Prov. 4:20).

Receive willingly and carry out effectively
your loving father’s advice,
that by the labor of obedience
you may return to Him
from whom you had departed by the sloth of disobedience.

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

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

Monday, July 9, 2018

Spread the Good News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, July 8, 2018

St. Benedict - relevant for today

So how does St. Benedict speak to us today?

How does he address the issues that we face?

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

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

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

Saturday, July 7, 2018

St. Benedict - the Rule

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

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

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

The result was one of the formative documents of Western Civilization, the Benedictine Rule. Its virtues are many: Benedict's Rule is simpler and less restrictive than eak in ways that are appropriate if not extravagant. In doing so, he was enabling a healthy and lifelong Christian journey in community.

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

Friday, July 6, 2018

St. Benedict - bless your food

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

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

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Happy 4th !

There is probably no document in the history of the United States of America that has had a more profound influence upon our nation than the Declaration of Independence. Its implicit meaning not only reflected the attitude of those who strove to separate themselves from the tyranny of England, but has also guided the principles of freedom for a nation for over two-hundred years.

There have been many revolutions and many upheavals since then. Yet there is only one America, only one United States. And we, in this greatest of countries, have a legacy to uphold and a purpose to continue, something that goes beyond petty differences in party or thought, something that in the end will, as it must, bring us all together.

We are all Americans.

Happy Birthday America!

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

XXXV Marianist General Chapter Prayer



Loving Father, you formed us as men in your likeness
and shared with us your gifts of knowledge and creativity.
Pour out your Holy Spirit upon us that we may be both bold and prudent as we discern the path you invite us to walk.

Make us more devoted sons of your servant, William Joseph Chaminade.
Let us be what he called us to be:
“other Sons of Mary”, conformed to the likeness of her adorable Son.
As Brothers united in prayer and mission, let us be “the man who never dies,” zealous for the salvation of souls, and untiring in our efforts to form communities of faith.

With gratitude born of two centuries of apostolic life and mission,
let us look to the future with hope and courage.
Guide the deliberations and decisions of our General Chapter.
Inspire the capitulants to be alert and attentive as Mary was at Cana.
Open their ears to hear with faith,
and their hearts to respond with obedience to the needs of the Church and our world, so that all of us, together as Brothers, may respond faithfully and fruitfully
to Mary’s invitation: “Do whatever he tells you.”

Monday, July 2, 2018

Jairus' daughter

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Some people come from the house of Jairus to tell him that his daughter is dead. But overhearing what they say, Jesus says to Jairus, "Do not fear, only believe." He's challenging Jairus to trust with the very same conviction that the bleeding woman had just shown. 

Jesus cuts through a commotion of people weeping and wailing loudly, and enters the house. He asks them, "Why do you make a commotion and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping," (v. 39). They laugh at him, like the abusive high school classmates who mock.

But Jesus kicks them out and gathers the child's father and mother, along with his disciples. He takes the girl by the hand and says to her, "Little girl, get up!" And Mark tells us that immediately the girl gets up and begins to walk about. Jesus saves her not only from illness, but from death itself.

And the witnesses? Not surprisingly, they are "overcome with amazement."

Sunday, July 1, 2018

The Sunday Word

James Tissot, 1836-1902 The Bleeding WomanJesus has come to save us from anything that can damage, divide or destroy us. And he does this not only through his unique powers, but through our willingness to trust him.

Notice that Jesus says to the woman, "Your faith has saved you." It is her willingness to trust Jesus that permits the healing power of God to flow into her. Jesus says that her faith is the source of her healing, rather than his clothes or even his touch. She's saved by her willingness to believe that Jesus is the hero sent by God to do a rescue mission on Earth. After commending her for her faith, Jesus says, "Go in peace, and be healed of your disease."

Catholic Experience - 2018

The Catholic Experience enjoyed the week of camp while using Founder's Hollow as sustenance and rest.