Sunday, June 30, 2019

The Sunday Word

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WE are celebrating the 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time this week. Our Gospel for this Sunday talks about excuses. We all have our own excuses. We have excuses for not following through on our good intentions, not living up to the challenge of discipleship. Jesus encounters in this week's Gospel text three would-be followers. These three would-be disciples were great at manufacturing excuses that would allow them to gracefully bow out of discipleship when it got too demanding or uncomfortable. Jesus responds with a no-nonsense, no-excuses mandate, separating those who would follow from those who could only hesitate and calculate the cost of their commitment.

The naive, thoughtless pledge of the first of these three potential disciples sounds as though he were actually committed to joining Jesus. But Jesus' response lays out the truth about his identity and mission, and makes it clear how demanding a personal commitment to this path would be.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Sts. Peter and Paul

Today we remember the apostles Peter and Paul, commemorating not only their divinely inspired writings in the New Testament but also their efforts as apostles of Christ.

Here are a few interesting facts about their lives and ministry:

Peter and Paul both ended their ministry as apostles in Rome. The Gospel had reached Rome before their arrival, but they both saw it necessary to journey to Rome and bring apostolic leadership to the church there. Since Peter is not mentioned by name in Romans, he arrived in Rome at some point afterwards, perhaps in the late ’50s or early ’60s.

Paul was called to be an apostle on the street. Acts: 9 tells the story of Paul’s mystical encounter with our Lord Jesus Christ. As a Pharisee, he was committed to the persecution of those following "the Way," but was now being confronted by the Lord for his actions. "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?" In persecuting the Church, Paul was persecuting Christ himself, for the Church is his Body.

The apostles were at first divided over the treatment of Gentile Christians. This controversy came to a head in Antioch, where Paul opposed Peter “to his face, because he stood condemned." Much of the New Testament is devoted to the issue of whether one must become a Jew before one can be a true Christian, and it was a great controversy in the early decades of the Church. Paul was resolute: we are justified through our faith in Jesus Christ, regardless of one’s adherence to Jewish law.

Both apostles died as martyrs in Rome. Since Paul was a Roman citizen, it seems that he was given the more “merciful” death of beheading in the mid-’60s.

Peter was to be crucified, and he requested that he be hung upside down, feeling unworthy to die in the same manner as Christ.

Friday, June 28, 2019

Sacred Heart of Jesus

The Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God, the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.
God, the Son, Redeemer of the World, have mercy on us.
God, the Holy Ghost, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, Son of the Eternal Father,
have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, formed in the womb of the Virgin Mother by the Holy Ghost, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, united substantially with the word of God, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, of infinite majesty, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, holy temple of God, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, tabernacle of the Most High, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, house of God and gate of heaven,
have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, glowing furnace of charity,
have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, vessel of justice and love, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, full of goodness and love, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, abyss of all virtues, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, most worthy of all praise, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, king and center of all hearts, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, in whom are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, in whom dwelleth all the fullness of the Divinity, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, in whom the Father is well pleased, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, of whose fullness we have all received, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, desire of the everlasting hills, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, patient and rich in mercy, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, rich to all who invoke Thee, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, fount of life and holiness, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, saturated with revilings, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, crushed for our iniquities, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, made obedient unto death, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, pierced with a lance, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, source of all consolation, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, our life and resurrection, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, our peace and reconciliation, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, victim for our sins, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, salvation of those who hope in Thee, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, hope of those who die in Thee, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, delight of all saints, have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord,
Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.
V. Jesus, meek and humble of Heart.
R. Make our hearts like unto Thine.

Let us pray

Almighty and everlasting God, look upon the Heart of Your well-beloved Son and upon the acts of praise and satisfaction which He renders unto You in the name of sinners; and in Your great goodness, grant pardon to them who seek Your mercy, in the name of the same Son, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You, world without end. Amen.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

The Cenacle

“Jesus made visible the love that is open to us all: none excluded! Open to all without borders.” 

— Pope Francis

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Fr. Matthew Browne Ordained

Fr. Thomas Cardone, S.M., Bro. Michael Gillen, S.M. and Bro. Kenneth Hoagland, S.M. attended the ordination of Fr. Matthew Browne ‘11 to the priesthood. Fr. Matthew will celebrate his first Mass tomorrow, at 10:15 a.m. at the Church of Holy Name of Mary, Valley Stream.

Friday, June 21, 2019

"Education is not filling a pail, but lighting a fire."

Graduation of the Class of 2019
Graduation is often a time of celebration. Graduates of all ages are recognized for their academic accomplishments at the end of each academic era in their lives. This past Sunday our two high schools, Chaminade and Kellenberg Memorial, held their Baccalaureate Masses and their Commencement Exercises. In all, close to 1,000 young men and women graduated from our Marianist high schools.

Graduation quotes can provide insight to new graduates as they make their way on to the next chapter in their lives. A graduation quote can be written in a card to personalize a graduation message or used in a speech. Many graduation quotes celebrate accomplishment, new beginnings, and success. The top ten graduation quotes are a sampling of graduation quotes that stand out among the best.

1. "Education is not filling a pail, but lighting a fire." (William Butler Yeats)

2. "Knowledge is power." (Francis Bacon)

3. "The most rewarding things in life are often the ones that look like they cannot be done." (Arnold Palmer)

4. "The best of all things is to learn. Money can be lost or stolen, health and strength may fail, but what you have committed to your mind is yours forever." (Louis L'Amour)

5. "The important thing is this: to be able to give up in any given moment all that we are for what we can become." (DeSeaux)

6. "What lies behind us, and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us." (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

7. "Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever." (Mahatma Ghandi)

8. "Carpe Diem!" (Seize the day, translated from Latin)

9. "To accomplish great things, we must not only act but also dream, not only dream, but also believe." (Anatole France)

10. "Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Vocation: your deep gladness

Vocation: your deep gladness meets the world's deep hunger

From David Brooks, in the New York Times a little profundity —and a challenge to the world—

A human life is not just a means to produce outcomes, it is an end in itself. When we evaluate our friends, we don’t just measure the consequences of their lives. We measure who they intrinsically are. We don’t merely want to know if they have done good. We want to know if they are good.

That’s why when most people pick a vocation, they don’t only want one that will be externally useful. They want one that they will enjoy, and that will make them a better person. They want to find that place, as the novelist Frederick Buechner put it, “where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”

If you are smart, hard-working, careful and lucky you might even be able to find a job that is both productive and internally ennobling. Taking a job just to make money, on the other hand, is probably going to be corrosive, even if you use the money for charity rather than sports cars.

We live in a relentlessly commercial culture, so it’s natural that many people would organize their lives in utilitarian and consequentialist terms. But it’s possible to get carried away with this kind of thinking — to have logic but no wisdom, to become a specialist without spirit.

Making yourself is different than producing a product or an external outcome, requiring different logic and different means. I’d think you would be more likely to cultivate a deep soul if you put yourself in the middle of the things that engaged you most seriously. If your profoundest interest is dying children in Africa or Bangladesh, it’s probably best to go to Africa or Bangladesh, not to Wall Street.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

"All love relationships don't end at the altar."

"Listen and attend with the ear of your heart." - Saint Benedict

Dolores Hart stunned Hollywood in 1963, when after ten highly successful feature films, she chose to enter a contemplative monastery. Now, fifty years later, Mother Dolores gives this fascinating account of her life, with co-author and life-long friend, Richard DeNeut. Dolores was a bright and beautiful college student when she made her film debut with Elvis Presley in Paramount's 1957 Loving You.

She acted in nine more movies with other big stars such as Montgomery Clift, Anthony Quinn and Myrna Loy. She also gave a Tony-nominated performance in the Broadway play The Pleasure of His Company and appeared in television shows, including The Virginian and Playhouse 90. An important chapter in her life occurred while playing Saint Clare in the movie Francis of Assisi, which was filmed on location in Italy.

Born Dolores Hicks to a complicated and colorful Chicago family, Mother Dolores has travelled a charmed yet challenging road in her journey toward God, serenity and, yes, love. She entered the Abbey of Regina Laudis in Bethlehem, Connecticut, at the peak of her career, not in order to leave the glamorous world of acting she had dreamed of since childhood, but in order to answer a mysterious call she heard with the "ear of the heart". While contracted for another film and engaged to be married, she abandoned everything to become a bride of Christ.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Aims of Marianist Religious Community

Community life is designed to be a support and stimulus for holiness. The grace of Jesus is concretely at work in each of us. When we share our living of that grace, we all become enriched. Our prayer, our living of the vows, our faith, hope and charity thus develop new dimensions. When we accept the challenges of community as occasions for grace and conversion, when we overcome hostility by sympathetic understanding and indifference by interest and concern, we all support one another in our common call to holiness. 

Community prayer is a “source and summit”: it both expresses the life of the community and aims to deepen our sense of God and to enrich our practical charity for one another and for the world around us. A prayerful community immeasurably stimulates and deepens the spiritual experience of its members. We need to recognize that we can learn from one another in our spiritual lives, from the different ways in which others pray and experience God. A reasonable diversity of styles and modes of prayer, corresponding to the religious sensibilities of the different members, should be an enrichment for everyone.

Marianist community is also a permanent mission, not a cozy atmosphere closed in on itself. To share in the mission of Jesus is to join in the company of his disciples, companions whom he sends to preach the good news and to heal. We find ourselves together in communities, not by personal choice, but in function of a mission we share in the local Church. Our community is meant to be less a refuge from apostolic battles than a source of creativity and strength for mission.

We are not meant to be individual free-lancers in our ministries. Our whole history as a Society teaches us that. Great Marianist success-stories, great times and places of grace, have always involved a vital and unified community. The witness of a group of people – whether three or fifty – who truly work together in harmonious support is contagious, sometimes overpowering. It attracts followers.

Even if we may at times be called to work more individually, we need to consider our ministry as an outreach of our Marianist community, and ask for the support, guidance and evaluative discernment of the community (Rule of Life, 68).

A key element of our apostolic mission as Marianists is the discovering, building and maintaining of close community among us and the extension of such an experience of community to those around us. This is a deep way of understanding our ministry as religious within the entire Marianist Family – even within the whole Church.

The emphasis on prayer with and for one another, on trying to understand one another, on affirmation, on team work, on dialogue and a strongly felt community life is not navel-gazing or “nesting” in a warm, supportive atmosphere. It is an essential mark of our Marianist mission.

Rev. David Joseph Fleming, S.M. 
Superior General of the Society of Mary 
Missionary Apostolic
Rome, September 12, 2004 
Feast of the Holy Name of Mary

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Celebrate Dad!

From the great Grassroots Films comes this short video that sums it all up beautifully. Happy Father’s Day dads.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

We Live in Community

Read a book that I have read a while ago. It touches at the heart of our Marianist community life. Each and every day we attempt to build this Gospel community that is the essential core of our lives. Our vowed life in the Church focuses on the two tables; the table of the Eucharist and the table of community.

The book is described as follows:

Everyone these days seems to be searching for community in one way or another - whether in the form of committed, nourishing relationships at home and at work, support networks, small groups, house churches - even cyberspace. But mention "community" and many people literally go blank. They claim that they're not ready for the commitment such a term implies, or lack sufficient energy, gifts, or time. It's just not 'where they're at.' Or is it? This new translation of a time-honored manifesto adds a fresh, engaging voice to the vital discussion of what real community is all about: love, joy, unity, and the great "adventure of faith" shared with others along the way. Neither Arnold nor Merton describe (or prescribe) community here, but for the individual seeker, they do provide a vision to guide and inspire the search, and for those who may have already answered the call to community, they offer the disarming challenge of greater commitment and a continually deepened faith.

Friday, June 14, 2019

The Spirit's flame

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The coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost lit the fire of the Church. God’s Spirit is still and must always be the main source of light for Christians. Individually and as the church, we should do what is necessary to keep ourselves good places for the Spirit’s flames to burn hotly and the Spirit’s light to shine brightly. It’s not our job to extinguish lesser lights that shine for the benefit of humankind so that we’re the only light in town; indeed, sometimes we should help their light be seen. 

At the same time, however, we should never be so dazzled by other lights that we no longer shine for Christ or no longer “reproduce” and bring forth new generations of Christians.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Light of the Spirit

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In some of Jesus’ subsequent followers, the light of the Spirit can be almost visually seen. Several years ago, after the English writer Malcolm Muggeridge spent some time observing Mother Teresa working in Calcutta, India, taking care of dying people she plucked off the streets, he wrote a book about her he titled Something Beautiful for God. In it, he said, “God’s universal love has rubbed off on Mother Teresa, giving her features a noticeable luminosity, a shining quality.”

In most of us who follow Jesus today, the light within us may not be quite that apparent to others, but when we confront darkness in our lives, we often become conscious of how the way of the Lord is the primary light of our lives.

The thing is, in this world, there are lots of other lights, some that seem more glitzy or powerful or, in some fields, even more illuminating. And just as fireflies are finding their inner lights overpowered by bright but artificial lighting, so, too, we Christians sometimes find the light of God within us — especially if we don’t tend it — growing dim.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019


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On Sunday we celebrated Pentecost. It is the anniversary of that first-century day when the Holy Spirit came in a mighty way upon the disciples of Jesus hunkered down in an upper room in Jerusalem. The Bible’s description of the sudden infilling of those disciples with the Spirit includes this: “Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them.” Even since then, fire, which, of course, is a source of light, has been a symbol of the Holy Spirit. At the same time, that symbol also connects to Jesus, who said, “I am the light of the world.”

The fact that these tongues of fire rested on each of Jesus’ followers on Pentecost is a way of showing that when the Spirit fills us, we, too, radiate the light of God. Thus, Spirit-filled Christians are light-bearers. And over the centuries, Christians have “glowed” with that light as they have spread the gospel, shared the good news, gone about doing good, committed sacrificial acts of love for neighbor and even for enemies, and have sought to understand and do the will of God.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Marianist Monday

June 2019

Dear graduates of Chaminade, Kellenberg Memorial, and St. Martin de Porres,

This month we celebrate the feast of Pentecost. The event of the Holy Spirit descending upon the Apostles and empowering them for their work of evangelization is one of the most important moments in the history of the Church. This great gift of God’s grace is given again to each of us in the sacrament of Confirmation. How frequently, though, do we properly reflect on the magnitude of this gift? Do we recognize in our daily lives how the Holy Spirit is working in and through us?

It is not always easy to live up to the standard set by the Apostles and the early Church. Following their example of steadfast faith through adversity is definitely not the easy road to take in life. We may not come up against the violent persecution and martyrdom faced by most of the Apostles and many other disciples throughout the early days of the Church, but our culture today is at odds with many of our Church’s teachings and values. There is a great temptation and societal pressure to brush off these differences as merely old-fashioned remnants of a morality long-since rendered irrelevant by our modern and enlightened sensibilities. And while our approach is certainly allowed to evolve to encounter the world as it changes around the stalwart foundations laid by our forebears, this does not mean that our convictions should waver. Reflect on the strength the Spirit offers through your Confirmation – the very same strength given to the Apostles – which allowed them to forge the way for our Church, which has survived for two millennia.

The sacrament of Confirmation strengthens us spiritually to grow deeper in our relationship with Jesus Christ and to spread our faith as messengers to the world. Through the anointing, we are able to participate in a share of what the Apostles were blessed with at Pentecost. On that day, about two thousand years ago, they were together. In your minds, place yourself in their midst. The first community of Christian faith was all together, but the Lord had ascended into Heaven. The Apostles knew what they were called to do, but how to go about it? How could a group made up largely of fishermen – common men who did not hold respected theological positions – convince others of the Truth they had received? God did not leave them to find this strength and ability on their own. We read in Acts of the Apostles, “And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.” (Acts 2:2-4)

While we may not be miraculously gifted with the ability to speak in different tongues at Confirmation, we aregiven gifts that will help us with our ministry. The Apostles needed the strength and ability to found the Church, and weneed the strength and ability to keep the faith alive for ourselves and others. We are all called to go out into the world and live the Gospels in all aspects of our lives. Let Christ enter into your lives as much as possible. He is the Way that will lead you to a blessed and joyful life.

I challenge each of you to reflect this summer on what it means to share in this blessing. We, like the Apostles, are sent out on a mission to bring Christ to the world. How do we live our lives? Do those around us see the Light of Christ shining through us in our words and actions? A good way to start living this way is to reflect on our own Baptism and Confirmation. I will leave you with one bit of prayerful advice: Look up the dates of your Baptism and Confirmation and treat these as important days for you. Let them serve as spiritual birthdays, and take the opportunity to renew and reflect on these Sacraments and the strength God offers through them.

God bless each and every one of you, and have a blessed and peaceful summer!

Yours faithfully in Christ through His Blessed Mother,

Bro. Andrew Santoriello, S.M.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Pentecost Sunday

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Today, Pentecost, is the day the church of Jesus Christ entered the public domain, and it's today that we can also say to the church, "Happy birthday to you!"

Until Jesus' little band of disciples experienced the descending dove, the tongues of fire and the babble of ecstatic voices, they weren't ready for prime time. Their faith was somewhat private. After those remarkable events, though, their old song suddenly became new.

Pentecost is the third biggest celebration of the Christian year, but it runs far behind Christmas and Easter in popularity. In the case of the other two holidays, secular culture has embraced the religious feast, manufacturing its own cheap knock-offs. There's secular Christmas, with its blatant consumerism and ethic of doing something nice for someone you already love. As for secular Easter, it's nothing more than a rite of spring.

No one has trouble finding decorations and greeting cards for secular Christmas or secular Easter. Many of them feature the familiar mascots of the holidays, Santa and the Easter Bunny. But there is no particular decorations, greeting cards or mascots for the great feast of Pentecost. And you will never hear the secular culture sing, "We wish you a merry Pentecost."

Nobody's trying to hijack the rights to this great holiday.

Pentecost is ours alone.

Enjoy and "Happy Pentecost to you and the whole Church."

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Jesus is truth

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"When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come."

"Truth" is a major theme in John's Gospel. In fact, it will be Pontius Pilate who asks the question on the world's mind as they are confronted with Jesus: "What is truth?"

The truth is, however, that Jesus himself is the way, the truth and the life. In other words, if we emulate Jesus, our lives will not be a lie. Our lives instead will be lives of integrity, honesty, service, selflessness and humility -- all counterintuitive from the world's point of view.

If the disciples want to follow Jesus where he is going, then that means following his way, his truth and his life in spite of the dangers, twists and turns ahead. The only way to navigate that way is with a Guide who will take what Jesus has said and done and "declare it" to us so that we will glorify him

Friday, June 7, 2019

The world for God's glory.

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This week we celebrate Pentecost Sunday. On Sunday, we remember that when the Guide arrived, he launched the disciples on a new adventure. Following Jesus has never been about retreating from the world to a tropical island and "getting away from it all." It's always been about following the way, the truth and the life of Jesus for the purpose of changing the world for God's glory. It's a tough adventure, but it's the only destination that ultimately matters. 

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Jesus died afraid.

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What’s a dark night of soul? It’s a God-given trial in life wherein we, much to our own surprise and anguish, can no longer imagine God’s existence or feel God in any affective way in our lives. In terms of inner feeling, this is felt as doubt, as atheism. Try as we might, we can no longer imagine that God exists, much less that God loves us. However, as the mystics point out and as Jesus’ himself gives witness to, this isn’t a loss of faith but actually a deeper modality of faith itself.
Up to this point in our faith, we have been relating to God mainly through images and feelings. But our images and feelings about God are not God. So, at some point, for some people, though not for everybody, God takes away the images and the feelings and leaves us conceptually empty and affectively dry, stripped of all the images we have created about God. While in reality this is actually an overpowering light, it is felt as darkness, anguish, fear, and doubt.

And so we might expect that our journey towards death and our face-to-face encounter with God might also involve the breaking down of many of the ways we have always thought about and felt about God. And that will bring doubt, darkness, and fear in our lives.

Henri Nouwen gives a powerful testimony to this in speaking about his mother’s death. His mother had been a woman of deep faith and had each day prayed to Jesus: Let me live like you, and let me die like you. Knowing his mother’s radical faith, Nouwen expected that the scene around her deathbed would be serene and a paradigm of how faith meets death without fear. But his mother suffered deep anguish and fear before she died and that left Nouwen perplexed, until he came to see that his mother’s lifelong prayer had indeed been answered. She had prayed to die like Jesus – and she did.

A common soldier dies without fear; Jesus died afraid. And so, paradoxically, do many women and men of faith.
Ron Rohleiser, O.M.I.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Your love is eternal

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"When I am so convinced about some negative aspect of my life, I sometimes sink into despair. I must put my trust in your love and abandon myself to you.

When I am so convinced about some negative aspect of another’s life, I am sometimes inclined to detest them and to stay away from them.
Then I must stop to contemplate your love for me. Why do you love me, Lord, when I feel disdain and disgust for my brothers and sisters?

Give me the courage to see things as you see them, Lord, and to love unconditionally. Only then will true communion be realized.

Often, behind a facade of courtesy and attentiveness there exists a hidden dissension, which weakens communion and renders it insincere.

Lord, you are infinite patience.

You are limitless understanding.

Your love is eternal." 
- Venerable Francis Xavier Nguyên Văn Thuân

Saturday, June 1, 2019