Saturday, September 11, 2021

The Triumph of the Cross


September 2021

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

We are never far from tragedy. Nor are we ever far from triumph.

The convergence of two occasions brings this dichotomy of tragedy and triumph to mind. The first of these occasions, as you might have suspected, is the twentieth anniversary of 9/11. The images of a smoldering wing of the Pentagon and the hellish explosions that engulfed the Twin Towers in flames are seared indelibly in my memory, as they are I many of yours.

The second occasion this month is an ancient feast in both the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches, known alternately as the Exaltation of the Holy Cross and the Triumph of the Cross. This year, we will celebrate the Triumph of the Cross on September 14.

What do the Triumph of the Cross and the anniversary of 9/11have in common? The short answer is tragedy and triumph. Let me try to explain by means of a personal story.

Exactly one year after the terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers, the Soldiers of Christ of Lafayette, Louisiana contacted Chaminade, because they wanted to do something for the folks up North who had lost a loved one in the attack on the World Trade Center. The Soldiers of Christ were total strangers. We had never met them before. But we were not strangers for long; we soon became brothers and sisters in Christ, united by the power of the Cross, a bond stronger than blood.

And so, in November of 2002, a group of us traveled to Lafayette, Louisiana. I was privileged to accompany four young men – Greg, John, Kevin, and Charlie – on the trip.

Shortly after our plane touched down in Lafayette, at about 10:30 at night, we were greeted at the gate by about two dozen Soldiers of Christ – young men and young women in high school and college, their parents, and their adult leaders – with balloons and posters and banners and hugs and the repeated recitation of the sound “chau,” apparently a Louisiana expression of compassion and solidarity.

And for the next four days, we were showered with good old Southern hospitality – all because these Soldiers of Christ wanted to reach out halfway across the country with the healing power of the Cross. We toured the Louisiana Bayou on one of those flatbed speedboats powered by an enormous fan. We attended prayer services and high-school rallies and Masses. The boys were interviewed on Lafayette’s own television morning news show. And every meal was a banquet of savory Cajun cooking: scrambled eggs, bacon, and grits; corn dogs and soda pop; jambalaya, rice, and red beans; shrimp étouffée and buttery biscuits; pralines and pecan pie.

You see, John and Kevin had lost their uncles in 9/11; Greg and Charlie their dads. But thanks to the good people of Lafayette, Louisiana, they gained a family of brothers and sisters in Christ.

I remember our return to New York so vividly, as if it were yesterday. Again – somehow, I don’t know quite how – all the Soldiers of Christ had gained access to our departure gate to see us off. We formed a large circle and held hands, and those newfound brothers and sisters of ours prayed over us, sang songs, embraced us – yes, in a big group hug – and uttered their final “chaus.”

And, all of a sudden, Charlie, a sophomore at the time, burst into tears, a torrent of tears – not tears of bitterness or anger; not quite tears of joy; but tears of release, of liberation, of knowing that his life had indeed been forever changed by the loss of his father on 9/11; but that it was ok, that he was going to be alright, that he was loved, loved very deeply, not only by the Soldiers of Christ, but by Christ Himself and by his two fathers in heaven – by his earthly father . . . and his heavenly Father.

That, my friends, is the power of the Cross. The healing power of the Cross. The saving power of the Cross. It is but one example of the Triumph of the Cross.


My dear friends, consider the Cross. Behold its horizontal beam – and, nailed to that beam, Christ’s arms – stretched open wide, as if to say, “I love you, I embrace you, I stand beside you in every difficulty – every cross – you bear.” And this is what I want to leave you with today – this guarantee, this promise: Whatever cross you bear – if a family member or friend is very sick; if your parents are fighting – a lot; if you are battling depression, or struggling with what is beginning to look like an addiction to alcohol or drugs or pornography; if the loss of a loved one, perhaps a parent, grieves your heart – know that Christ stands beside you, that the healing power of the Cross will bear you up. Know that Mary, Our Blessed Mother, who stood at the foot of the Cross – her heart broken – stands beside you, taking your cares and concerns into her immaculate, maternal heart.

This is the power of the Cross. This is the promise of the Christ. Turn to Jesus in prayer when your cross seems too heavy to bear. Turn to Jesus’ adopted brothers and sisters – to all of us, to the Church. It is the power of the Cross that empowers us to help one another in our time of need, just as those Soldiers of Christ in Lafayette, Louisiana consoled Greg and John, Kevin and Charlie.

I promise you this; I guarantee you this: If you turn to Jesus and His Blessed Mother in your time of need, if you turn to one of us for advice and counsel, help and hope, you will experience the power of the Cross. I know I speak for every one of my Marianist Brothers and every one of my lay colleagues – in fact, for the entire Marianist Family – when I make this bold guarantee.

My friends, consider your lives. Consider the stories of heroism and healing that have emerged from September 11th, 2001. And consider the two wooden crossbeams we find in our homes, in our classrooms, atop every one of our Churches, and at every one of our altars. Then you will experience the power of the Cross. Then – then – you will truly know the Triumph of the Cross.

On behalf of all my Marianist Brothers,

Bro. Stephen

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Schools open 2


“It is best to choose leniency in discipline, rather than harsh methods.”

Blessed William Joseph Chaminade

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Birthday of Mary

“It is impossible to make mental prayer withoutMary … Let us unite ourselves to Mary in mental prayer and beg her to make her Son known to us. Mary is present. She is watching over us with maternal solicitude, making herself all to all and apportioning her help according to our needs … She enriches the poor, protects the timid, disarms the one who is angry, touches the hearts of the ungrateful, and never abandons anyone.”

 

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

SCHOOLS OPEN

 Our Marianist schools of the Province of Meribah have begun the 2021 school year.



“Ours is a work, a magnificent work. If it is universal, it is because we are missionaries of Mary, who has said to us, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’ Each one of us has received from the Blessed Virgin a commission to work at the salvation of our brothers and sisters in the world.”

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Happy Annversary!


 


Happy Annversary!

The Province of Meribah has conducted a series of summer retreats for the Brothers at our home in Accord, NY named Founder's Hollow. These annual retreats are called our summer renewal programs. All the members of the Province attend the week-long renewal program at Founder's Hollow for their annual retreat. This time, in which we meditate on the Word of God and pray more intensely, is a period of refreshment and revitalization of our Marianist religious vocations.

St. Elizabeth of the Trinity put together in words what we have tried to do on our summer renewals. She reminds us that we are all called to a greater relationship with Christ and His Mother. In order to attain this, however, one must become detached from the things of this world, and even oneself, and order them all to the love of God, as Elizabeth writes:

"To walk in Jesus Christ seems to me to want to leave self, lose sight of self, give up self in order to enter into Him with every passing moment, so deeply that one is rooted there, and to every event, to every circumstance we can fling this beautiful challenge: "Who will separate me from the love of Jesus Christ?'"

Our summer renewal is always an opportunity to reorder our lives toward the ultimate goal of the human race: eternal happiness in the presence of God.

The Province of Meribah also celebrated its 45th anniversary today. With joy we have been graced with many blessings from Almighty God. May God continue to bless us with his grace.

Sunday, August 15, 2021

The Assumption of Mary

Today we celebrate the great Marian Solemnity of the Assumption.

Bro. John M. Samaha tells us that Mary "... is a woman and a mother, and her grace is adapted to her own nature and to her own special function. Christ exists for God. Mary exists for Christ. God made Christ our unique Redeemer. Mary exercises her role as Cordemptrix only through union with Christ, and she herself had to be redeemed by him. Christ is our necessary advocate with the Father. Mary is our advocate with Christ and through Christ. So it is with all the privileges of the Blessed Virgin Mary."

In the eighth century St. John of Damascus explained in regard to the Assumption: “It was necessary that the Mother should have entered into the possession of all the goods of her Son, and that she should have been venerated by all creation as the Mother and Handmaid of God. It is a customary practice that the wealth of the parents pass to their children. But here . . . the springs of the sacred waters flow toward the height. The Son has submitted the entire creation to the dominion of his mother.” 

And finally enturies later St. Louis de Montfort wrote: “All that is proper to God Incarnate by nature is proper to Mary by grace.” Around 1930 the renowned Marianist Mariologist and author, Father Emile Neubert, S.M., expressed this principle of analogy with theological exactness: “To the various privileges of the humanity of Jesus there correspond analogous privileges in Mary, in the manner and in the degree required by the difference between her condition and that of her Son.” 

Monday, August 9, 2021

Marianist Monday

August 2021

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

August 14, 1941 - At the age of 47, Fr. Maximilian Kolbe, OFM, Conv. dies two weeks after offering his life in place of another prisoner at the German death camp of Auschwitz.

August 13, 1943 - At the age of 46, Fr. Jakob Gapp, SM is beheaded by the Nazi regime. They wanted him dead because he had been preaching against the National Socialist movement in Germany.

On October 10, 1982, Pope John Paul II canonized Fr. Kolbe, declaring him a martyr for charity.

On November 24, 1996, Pope John Paul II beatified Fr. Gapp, a Marianist martyr.

Each August, we celebrate the feast days of these two martyrs on the days their souls entered into their heavenly reward.

As I write this letter, I have just returned from a week of retreat with about 12 fellow Brothers from the Province of Meribah. We read together a book about the Saints entitled, A Living Gospel. I was struck by this question asked by St. Ignatius of Loyola:

“What if I should live like that?”

He asked this question as he read the lives of the Saints, bedridden for many weeks after a serious battle-injury to his leg.

“What if I should live like that?” Or, we might ask: “How were Blessed Jakob and St. Maximilian ready to die like that?” What brought them to the point of being able to give their lives freely, for the sake of their faith, when each of them surely could have made different choices and avoided their early demise?

How were they able to die like that? Because they lived like that!

That is, everything about their lives was directed toward their ultimate end: union with Christ in Heaven.

These were men whose lives started out normally enough, much like any of ours, but they gradually entered more and more deeply into their faith, saying “Yes” to the offer of grace from Jesus our Savior, and to His Mother Mary’s invitation to collaborate with her in the work of bringing others closer to her Son.

Both men were deeply involved in this world, proclaiming the Gospel with unflagging energy, even when it became lethally dangerous to do so. Yet, both men oriented their entire lives toward eternal life in the world to come.

Thus, Blessed Jakob was able to write in a letter to his family on the day of his execution:
“At seven o’clock this evening, I will go to our dear Saviour, whom I have always ardently loved. Do not mourn for me. I am completely happy. Naturally, I have experienced many a difficult hour, but I have been able to prepare myself for death very well. Live well and suffer everything out of love for God. During this difficult time since my arrest, I have prayed for you continually, and now I will intercede for you in heaven. … Everything passes; only heaven remains.”
Both St. Maximilian and Blessed Jakob had a deep love for our Blessed Mother. On August 15, we celebrate her Assumption into Heaven. St. Maximilian and Blessed Jakob were able to “die like that” because they lived their entire lives focused on being in Heaven with our Lord and His Blessed Mother. In fact, our belief in Mary’s Assumption into Heaven is a key to our own hope of joining her there one day. The Catechism of the Catholic Church quotes Pope Pius XII:
“... the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all stain of original sin, when the course of her earthly life was finished, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things, so that she might be the more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords and conqueror of sin and death.” The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin is a singular participation in her Son’s Resurrection and an anticipation of the resurrection of other Christians. (#966)
In other words, Mary is the first to experience that union with Christ in Heaven that should be the ultimate end of every Christian. She paves the way and makes it possible for us as well. Mary’s Assumption anticipates our own resurrection to eternal life.

Thinking about death—especially our own—is neither pleasant, nor easy. But it can be a powerful spiritual exercise to ask ourselves:

Will I be ready when I die, as Gapp and Kolbe were?

If I knew I were going to die soon, is there anything I would change in my life?

Is there anything or anyone I’d be willing to give my life for, as Gapp and Kolbe did?

The powerful stories of Blessed Jakob and St. Maximilian provoke us to reflect on our life, by showing us that our earthly death is only one more step on the journey toward our ultimate end: union with Christ in Heaven.

How do we die like they did? By living like that!

By shining the light of eternal life on every decision we make and every action we take: “Is this leading me closer to union with Christ and His Blessed Mother in Heaven . . . or not?”

What if I should live like that?

On behalf of all of my Marianist Brothers, prayers for a good summer’s end and many blessings in the year ahead.

Fr. Peter Heiskell, S.M.

Saturday, August 7, 2021

Bl. Solanus Casey



“The Solanus Event”. That’s what one priest called it. “The Solanus Event, it began in the 1920’s and has never stopped… where God is still pouring out His healing love on His people.”⠀

“We worry and fret about the morrow as though Our Dear Lord had never spoken a word about His Divine Providence, or proved His loving solicitude for each of us a thousand times a day.”

- Bl. Solanus Casey

Pray for us!

Thursday, August 5, 2021

The summit of our life

                                                      


"From this moment on, live the Eucharist fully; be persons for whom the Holy Mass, Communion, and Eucharistic adoration are the center and summit of their whole life."

-Pope Saint John Paul II

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

St. John Mary Vianney




 


There is nothing so great as the Eucharist. If God had something more precious, He would have given it to us.

St. John Mary Vianney

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

“Come.”















“Come.” Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus."In our reading today, learn that when Jesus commands you, obey Him.

Jesus told Peter to “come” to Him on the water. Even though it made no sense, Peter did what Jesus said.

This is what obedience looks like - doing what Jesus says.
Is there any area in your life that you are not obeying the Lord?

The Canaanite Woman

048The Faith of the Canaanite Woman - The Ministry of Jesus
Did you notice that this Canaanite woman acknowledged that Jesus is the Messiah and came to him with her problem. She did not give up pleading with Jesus even though he said some things that were hard to accept. She did not doubt his love and become bitter or fatalistic and complain. She was not demanding but asked mercy. In contrast with the religious leaders, she was humble and trusting. She makes a great contrast with the religious leaders of the times.

"Then Jesus answered her, 'Woman, you have great faith. Let your desire be granted.' And from that moment her daughter was well again."

Monday, August 2, 2021

Saint Peter Julian Eymard

“It was Mary who first adored the Incarnate Word. He was in her womb, and no one on earth knew of it. Oh! how well was our Lord served in Mary's virginal womb! 

Never has He found a ciborium, a golden vase more precious or purer than was Mary's womb! Mary's adoration was more pleasing to Him than that of all the Angels. 

The Lord 'hath set His tabernacle in the sun,' says the Psalmist. The sun is Mary's heart," and "Mary is the aurora of the beautiful Sun of Justice.”

-- Peter Julian Eymard

Sunday, August 1, 2021

Blessed Carlos Eraña Guruceta - Marianist


























Marianist Blessed Carlos had written in applying for vows: "The service of God, the practice of love toward the Divine Model and Mary his most holy Mother, I want that these be the aims of my entire life. That is the way he offered his life at the end."

When the civil war broke out in Spain, on July 24, 1936, the Colegio del Pilar was seized and the Marianist Community dispersed. Brother Carlos took refuge in Ciudad Real. There he was arrested on September 6 by the militiamen and taken to the seminary, where he remained for twelve days in complete isolation. The following September 18, he was taken from his cell and shot in Alarcos , near Ciudad Real.

Saturday, July 31, 2021

Blessed Adèle de Batz de Trenquelléon, Marianist



"Let us then courageously put ourselves to work, not letting ourselves be frightened by the greatness of the task. Let us think only of what we are doing at the moment, of doing it well, for it is only in the fidelity and perfection with which we do our ordinary actions that our progress in virtue consists."


– Adèle de Batz de Trenquelléon, Letters, August 3, 1814.












Friday, July 30, 2021

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Pope St. John Paul II


"Do not be afraid. Do not be satisfied with mediocrity. Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch."

                      - Pope St. John Paul II

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

St. Augustine




"You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you."

- St. Augustine

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

St. Francis of Assisi



 "Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words."

-St. Francis of Assisi

Monday, July 26, 2021

Sts. Joachim and Anne


 

“It is important for grandparents to meet their grandchildren and for grandchildren to meet their grandparents because — as the prophet Joel says — grandparents, before their grandchildren, will dream and have great desires, and young people — taking strength from their grandparents — will go forward and prophesy.” 

                                                  -Pope Francis

Sunday, July 25, 2021

New Feast - World Day of Grandparents


 




Pope Francis has called for the first World Day of Grandparents to have grandparents and grandchildren renew that covenant and mutually strengthen each other through that bond. 

Saturday, July 24, 2021

St. Catherine of Siena






"Be who God meant you to be and you will set the whole world on fire."









St. Catherine of Siena

Friday, July 23, 2021

Thomas Merton





"Just remaining quietly in the presence of God, listening to Him, being attentive to Him, requires a lot of courage and know-how."

                                                        -Thomas Merton

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Saint Christopher





Saint Christopher, (feast day July 25),  martyr of the early church. Venerated as one of the 14 Auxiliary Saints (Holy Helpers), he is the patron saint of travelers and, beginning in the 20th century, of motorists.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Caryll Houselander




“In this great fiat of the little girl Mary, the strength and foundation of our life of contemplation is grounded, for it means absolute trust in God, trust which will not set us free from suffering but will set us free from anxiety, hesitation, and above all from the fear of suffering. Trust which makes us willing to be what God wants us to be, however great or however little that may prove. Trust which accepts God as illimitable Love.”
― Caryll Houselander

Monday, July 19, 2021

Pope Francis




"Although the life of a person is in a land full of thorns and weeds, there is always a space in which the good seed can grow. You have to trust God."

-Pope Francis

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Dorothy Day


“You will know your vocation by the joy that it brings you. 
You will know. You will know when it's right.”



Saturday, July 17, 2021



Each sumer the Brothers from the Province gather together with 3 ideas: Renew, Reflect and Fellowship.

Our focus this summer has been on great heroes of our faith. St. Therese is just one of many that we have focused on during our time of retreat. She is the patron saint of the mission and yet never left her convent.

She was named a doctor of the church by Pope John Paul II in 1997. She is a patron saint of missions and of florists. ... Her burial site at Lisieux became a place of pilgrimage, and a basilica bearing her name was built there (1929–54).

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Marianist Monday

“What the world is in particular need of today is the credible witness of people enlightened in mind and heart by the word of the Lord, and capable of opening the hearts and minds of many to the desire for God and for true life, life without end.” -Pope Benedict XVI, Porta Fidei 15

In 2015, when I had just graduated from college and was starting a vocation discernment year at Chaminade, Bro. Dan introduced me to a Blessed whom I had never heard of before. He had been sharing the story of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati with his classes, and a lot of the guys were really inspired by the life of this regular Catholic guy. There was even a kind of black-market to get Bl. Frassati bracelets with his catchphrase “Verso l’Alto — To the Heights!”

To the Heights — I really don’t like hiking that much. Bro. Rysz convinces me every once in a while to go along with him up some mountain, but I am much more of a sea-level kind of guy. I much prefer the view of ocean waves to a view of the Catskills. Still, there is something compelling about the mountains. It can seem that life is a lot like a long hike. We start out on the path, but pretty quickly on, we realize that the road to the summit can be an arduous one. Things get steep very quickly, and the trees can block out our view of the goal. During the climb, exhaustion and boredom set in more quickly than we would like. After a snack, we feel a rush of energy, but pretty soon we find ourselves tired out again. The heights can often seem so far away that we start to think, “Is this even worth it?”

Blessed Pier Giorgio was just 24 years old when he died, but in his young life, he kept on climbing verso l’alto. He knows that none of us climb the mountain of life alone, so he also invited his friends to climb with him towards Christ and with Christ. His Catholic faith guided everything he did because he really believed that Catholicism is true. That Jesus is God and out of love He came to save us. That He set up the Church to help us climb to the heights of Heaven and that He gave us the Eucharist and the Sacraments to strengthen us to say, “Yes, life is worth it because eternal life with God is worth it.” He was a true credible witness.

I hope you guys have a great summer. I know I feel like we were robbed of a good one last year, so have some fun! Take Blessed Pier Giorgio’s lead and hang out with your family and friends. Catch up on some reading at the beach. Climb a mountain. But don’t lose sight of the true Heights! The summer is a great time to get to Confession and to go to Mass. Use this Magnificat to pray in the morning. Invite Christ the Lord to be the Lord of your life, and you will be a credible witness too.

I have included here a short biography of Blessed Pier Giorgio so that you too might be inspired by his life. If you’re bored one day, type his name into YouTube and check out a purported miracle through his intercession of a local college guy from Lynbrook. His feast day is July 4, so say a prayer to him that he would help you become a man on fire in love with Christ. Keep climbing!

Verso l’alto,

Bro. Patrick Cahill

“The Man of the Eight Beatitudes”

Pier Giorgio Michelangelo Frassati was born in Turin, Italy on April 6, 1901. His mother, Adelaide Ametis, was a painter. His father, Alfredo, was the founder and director of the newspaper, “La Stampa," and was influential in Italian politics, holding positions as a Senator and Ambassador to Germany.

At an early age, Pier Giorgio joined the Marian Sodality and the Apostleship of Prayer, and obtained permission to receive daily Communion (which was rare at that time). He developed a deep spiritual life, which he never hesitated to share with his friends. The Holy Eucharist and the Blessed Virgin were the two poles of his world of prayer. At the age of 17, he joined the St. Vincent de Paul Society, a Catholic volunteer group, and dedicated much of his spare time to serving the sick and the needy, caring for orphans, and assisting the demobilized servicemen returning from World War I.

Throughout his life, Pier Giorgio and his sister were close friends. Outside of the home, he developed a wide network of friends, where he found great consolation to balance the tensions of family life. He summed it up best in a letter to his best friend Marco Beltramo: "In this earthly life after the affection for parents and sisters, one of the most beautiful affections is that of friendship; and every day I ought to thank God because he has given me men and lady friends of such goodness who form for me a precious guide for my whole life."

What little he did have, Pier Giorgio gave to help the poor, even using his bus fare for charity and then running home to be on time for meals. He considered the poor and the suffering as his masters, and he himself their privileged servant. His charity did not simply involve giving something to others but giving completely of himself.


Mountain climbing was one of his favorite sports. Outings in the mountains, which he organized with his friends, also served as opportunities for his apostolic work. He never lost the chance to lead his friends to Mass, to the reading of Scripture, and to praying the rosary. He inspired his friends to climb the mountain of holiness, something each and every one of us are capable of doing. His motto was “Verso l’alto! To the heights!"

Pier Giorgio contracted polio, which doctors later speculated he caught from the sick people whom he cared for. Neglecting his own health because his grandmother was dying, after six days of terrible suffering Pier Giorgio died at the age of 24 on July 4, 1925. His last preoccupation was for the poor. On the eve of his death, with a paralyzed hand he scribbled a message to a friend, asking him to take medicine to a needy person.

Pier Giorgio’s funeral was a triumph. The streets of the city were lined with a multitude of mourners who were unknown to his family -- the poor and the needy whom he had served so unselfishly for seven years. Many of these people, in turn, were surprised to learn that the saintly young man they knew had actually been the heir of the influential Frassati family.
Pope John Paul II, after visiting his original tomb in the family plot in Pollone, said in 1989: “I wanted to pay homage to a young man who was able to witness to Christ with singular effectiveness in this century of ours. When I was a young man, I, too, felt the beneficial influence of his example and, as a student; I was impressed by the force of his testimony." On May 20, 1990, in St. Peter’s Square in the presence of thousands of people, the pope beatified him, calling him the “Man of the Eight Beatitudes.”

His mortal remains, found completely intact and incorrupt upon their exhumation on March 31, 1981, were transferred from the family tomb to the cathedral in Turin. Many pilgrims, especially students and the young, come to the tomb of Blessed Frassati to seek favors and the courage to follow his example. His feast day is July 4.

“I urge you with all the strength of my soul to approach the Eucharist Table as often as possible. Feed on this Bread of the Angels from which you will draw the strength to fight inner struggles.”

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

“Yes, Lord, I want to spend time with you.”



The Province of Meribah will take some time at Founder's Hollow this summer for its annual retreat. Rest, prayer, rejuvenation and time for Community will fill Founders's Hollow.

When there is no time to do it, that’s when you most need to unclutter the calendar and go apart to pray. When the gridlock in your schedule relentlessly forbids it is the time you most need retreat. That is when your heart beats against the prison walls of your enslavement and says, “Yes, Lord, I want to spend time with you.” –Emily Griffin

Saturday, July 3, 2021

Saint Thomas

                                   



A "Doubting Thomas" is a skeptic who refuses to believe without direct personal experience—a reference to the Apostle Thomas, due to his refusal to believe the resurrected Jesus had appeared to the ten other apostles, until he could see and feel the wounds received by Jesus on the cross.

Friday, July 2, 2021




Our Gospel reading today reminds us of The Calling of Saint Matthew. It is a masterpiece by Caravaggio, depicting the moment at which Jesus Christ inspires Matthew to follow him. 

It was completed probably around 1599–1600 in Rome. It hangs alongside two other paintings of Matthew by Caravaggio, The Martyrdom of Saint Matthew (painted around the same time as the Calling) and The Inspiration of Saint Matthew (1602).

 

Thursday, July 1, 2021

Foundation Day - Kellenberg Memorial






Today we celebrate the foundation of Kellenberg Memorial Hgih School. Since the earliest years in 1987, the school has been a beacon of Catholic education in the Diocese. 

May God continue to bless Kellenberg Memorial.

St. Junípero Serra

 

St. Junípero Serra, (born November 24, 1713, Petra, Majorca, Spain—died August 28, 1784, Carmel, California, New Spain [now in U.S.]; canonized September 23, 2015; feast day August 28 (July 1 in the U.S.)), Spanish Franciscan priest whose missionary work among the Indians of North America earned him the title of Apostle of California. In 2015 he became the first saint of the Roman Catholic Church to be canonized in the United States.

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

First Martyrs of the Church of Rome

Our feast today commemorates the First Martyrs of the Church of Rome. They were Christians martyred in the city of Rome during Nero's persecution in 64. The event is recorded by both Tacitus and Pope Clement I. 

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Sts. Peter and Paul

 Mor-Christ-Condé.jpg

Saint Peter...you probably cannot find a more striking example of holiness. Jesus says to us as he said, in effect, to Peter: “It is not you who have chosen me, but I who have chosen you. Peter, it is not human wisdom that makes it possible for you to believe, but my Father’s revelation. I, not you, build my Church.” And Saint Paul ...his experience of the risen Jesus was on the road to Damascus. St. Paul was the driving force that made him one of the most zealous and courageous ambassadors of Christ the Church has ever had. One author tells us that, "The dying Christ was in him; the living Christ was his life."

Monday, June 28, 2021

Saint Irenaeus


"For the glory of God is a living man; and the life of man consists in beholding God. For if the manifestation of God which is made by means of the creation, affords life to all living in the earth, much more does that revelation of the Father which comes through the Word, give life to those who see God."Stained glass window of Saint Irenaeus in Église Saint-Irénée, France

Sunday, June 27, 2021


A Memorial was celebrated today for the repose of the soul of Marianist Father Ernest Lorfanfant. Fr. Ernest died on May 19, 2020. The Mass was celebrated with family and the Marianist Community.


Fr. Ernest P. Lorfanfant, S.M.

Marianist

Born

August 26, 1937

First Profession as a Marianist

September 8, 1956

Perpetual Profession

August 15, 1960

Ordained a Priest

March 30, 1968

Died

May 19, 2020

Pray for him, Holy Mother of God,

that he may be worthy of the promises of Christ.

Monday, June 14, 2021

Marianist Monday


June 2021 
My dear graduates of Chaminade, Kellenberg Memorial, and St. Martin de Porres Marianist School, 

Not too long ago, a firestorm erupted over the following words from Scripture: 

Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said: “Leaders of the people and elders: If we are being examined today about a good deed done to a cripple, namely, by what means he was saved, then all of you and all the people of Israel should know that it was in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead; in His name this man stands before you healed. He is the stone rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved.” (Acts 4: 8 – 12) 

Let me clarify a bit: It was not so much the reading from Acts that sparked the firestorm, but the preaching about this passage from Sacred Scripture. Why? Because of the troublesome lines, “There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved.” 

Does this mean that only those who profess the name of Jesus can be saved? Is St. Peter telling us that only Christians can go to heaven? 

It would take pages and pages to summarize all the theological perspectives on this question. Rather than summarize them and then evaluate each of those positions, let me instead offer my take on this question, my experiences of truly good men and women of other faiths, and my prescription for Christian evangelization. I know: that’s a lot to tackle in so short a letter. That’s why this letter will probably end up as a four-pager! 

I am indebted to the Catholic philosopher and theologian Peter Kreeft for the following understanding of these words of St. Peter. As Kreeft rightly maintains, Jesus Christ is the only Savior. It follows, of course, that if anyone is saved, it is by Jesus Christ! 

This does not mean, however, that one must profess the name of Jesus Christ in order to be saved. How could we possibly consider that a criterion for salvation? What of the millions upon millions of inhabitants of the planet, past and present, who have never even heard the name of Jesus? Or the men and women of non-Christian faiths, who follow in good conscience the religious tradition in which they have been raised from their youth? 

The answer is that they too have been saved – and saved by Christ – even if they do not realize it until they stand before the throne of the triune God. 

Consider, if you will, this analogy: I am traveling far from home. I suffer a heart attack. I am rushed to the emergency room and then operated on by a heart surgeon whom I have never met, whose name I do not even know. Or, perhaps I am closer to home, but the surgeon who saves my life is not my own doctor, but one whose name is well known in the community. In both of these scenarios, the doctor who has saved my life is not my own doctor, but he has nonetheless saved my life. And, no doubt, once I regain consciousness and learn the name of the surgeon who saved me, I will be eternally grateful to him. Why? Because in a very real sense, he was my savior. 

And so it is with Jesus Christ, our one, true, eternal Savior. He saves many who do not follow Him or who do not even know Him until the very end of their lives. And if we’re a little unsettled by the seeming unfairness of deathbed conversions – if we’re left wondering what was the point of a whole lifetime devoted to Christ – then we would do well to consider the parable of the vineyard laborers. In that iconic story, it turns out that the landowner pays the laborers hired at the eleventh hour the same wages as those he hired a daybreak, much to the chagrin of those who worked all day. Why should those Johnny-come-latelies receive the same wages as we? The response of the landowner says it all: “Are you envious because I am generous?” (Matthew 20: 16) 

I was blessed to grow up in a politician’s household. My dad was a Port Washington Republican Committeeman; a Republican Chairman; a North Hempstead Town Councilman; a New York State Assemblyman; a candidate for the United States Congress; and, until he passed from cancer in 1996, a New York State Supreme Court Judge and a Justice of the Appellate Division. 

And I mean it: I was blessed to grow up in a politician’s household. My dad was a bridgebuilder. He valued people from all walks of life, from all races and ethnic backgrounds, and from all religions. He loved – and I mean loved – Judge William C. Thompson, a Democrat, a pioneering African-American New York politician, and a fellow Justice of the Appellate Division. I remember that friendship nostalgically – and many others like it – today, when bitter division rather than mutual respect sems to characterize American politics. 

Some of my parents’ closest friends were men and women of the Jewish faith. We spent every Memorial Day with Marvin and Judy Bayles, Arthur and Lenny Holland, Ros and Eric May, and all their kids. Year after year, Herb and Barbara Balin invited my family to join their family for their annual Passover Seder dinner. Joe and Carol Hauptman were frequent guests at our Christmas Eve and Christmas Day dinner tables. From these wonderful friends of my parents – Catholics and non-Catholics, Christians and non-Christians alike – I learned about the life of virtue. I learned about loyalty, honesty, generosity, joy, grace under pressure, and unswerving adherence to principle. It is difficult – impossible, really – for me to believe that these good and upright friends are not saved by a good and generous God. And, if God sees fit to be generous with me (as I hope He will), I look forward to feasting with these friends at the Heavenly Banquet.

 “Are you envious because I am generous?” It saddens me when I see and hear fellow Catholics squabbling over who is saved and who is not. It pains me when we partake in the tribalism that tears at our social fabric. Some seem preoccupied with determining who’s in and who’s out, who’s with us and who’s against us, who’s saved and who’s not, who’s “us” and who’s “them.” 

 “Are you envious because I am generous?” 

And if we find it hard to imagine Christ’s saving generosity towards others, even if they think and believe very differently than we do, then perhaps we might do well to turn that question on ourselves. Because, after all, if we are going to be saved, it is because of God’s generosity. I know that’s true of me. My only hope is to echo the prayer of the tax collector: “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” (Luke 18: 13) I’d be more than a little hesitant to close off the pipeline of God’s generosity. 

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting that we should err by the sin of presumption, thinking that we’ll all be saved, no matter what kind of life we lead. I’m simply suggesting that, when and if we are saved, it will be by the mercy and generosity of God. And I think He just might do His best saving work in the emergency room. I suspect the repentant thief knew that! 

What are we to do in light of these considerations? I would suggest, first of all, that we stop judging one another, at least as much as is practically possible. In the final analysis, judgment is God’s job, not ours. Only He can read the hearts of men and women – their struggles, their motives, their strengths and weaknesses. We can’t. Fr. Daniel Griffin, a Kellenberg Memorial graduate of the Class of 2001 and now the chaplain of the Latin School there, frequently offers this intercession during the Prayer of the Faithful: “That we might pray for one another rather than judge one another.” I love that intercession. Every time I hear it, it’s a real wake-up call. 

Secondly, I would suggest that we fall ever more deeply in love with Christ. We know Him. We know His name, the name by which we will be saved. And yet, how often we take Him, His name, and His offer of salvation for granted! I know I do. 

Because, if we really loved Christ – with our whole mind, our whole heart, and our whole soul – then how much more effective would our evangelization be! If Christ made a real difference in our lives, then how much more would He make a real difference in the lives of those we meet! Let us evangelize by our example of a vibrant life lived intentionally and intensely in the joy of the Gospel, the joy of the Good News, the joy that Jesus saves. 

I confessed a moment ago that I often take Jesus, my Savior, for granted. How do I combat this? Well, if you will indulge me for a moment, I take a bit of roundabout inspiration from the 1997 award-winning movie As Good as It Gets. In this film, Melvin Udall (played by Jack Nicholson) is an obsessive-compulsive (and quite wealthy!) writer of romantic fiction who is rude to everyone he meets. He sees a psychiatrist, who has prescribed medication to make Melvin a little less obsessive-compulsive, a little less socially awkward, a little less obnoxious, and a little more agreeable to others. Melvin does not take the medication . . . until he begins to fall in love with Carol Conelly (played by Helen Hunt), the only waitress at the local diner (at which Melvin eats dinner EVERY day) who will serve him. 

To make a long story short, Melvin invites Carol on a date to an upscale restaurant and, in his own exceedingly clumsy way, tries to explain just how much she means to him. True to form, Melvin says all the wrong things, even insulting the just-for-the-occasion red dress that Carol has picked out for their night out on the town. She’s about to walk out on him, but he beseeches Carol to stay. She does so, but only on the condition that Melvin pay her a compliment. “Pay me a compliment, Melvin. You hurt my feelings. So, pay me a compliment, and it better be a good one.” 

Wringing his hands and dripping with perspiration, Melvin explains, “I see a doctor – a shrink – and he prescribed these pills that are supposed to make me a little less obnoxious. Now, I hate pills. I’m talkin’ HATE. But, when I met you, I started taking those pills.” 

“Melvin, I don’t quite see how that’s a compliment for me,” Carol responds, puzzled. 

And with that, the romantic music swells; Melvin laughs nervously; and Carol, now glowing, declares, “Melvin, that’s the nicest compliment that I’ve ever received.” 

“You make me want to be a better man.” At some point in our lives, all of us meet someone or encounter some cause that makes us want to be better people. I think that’s a big part of what falling in love means. “You make me want to be a better man.” When I look at the Cross, when I see Jesus hanging there for my sins, when I consider the lengths He went to save me, I say, in hushed tones and in fear and trembling, “You make me want to be a better man.” For all my faults, for all my sins, for all the times I say and do all the wrong things, Jesus makes me want to be a better man. I’m not there yet, but, by God, Jesus does make me want to be a better man. 

“You make me want to be a better man.” When they see Him, those who have not known Jesus will almost certainly exclaim, “You make me want to be a better man.” When they encounter the radiance of His glory and the depth of His love, those who have not yet been convinced and converted will, I think, declare, “You make me want to be a better man.” They will, like doubting Thomas, humbly confess, “My Lord and My God.” (John 20: 28) 

It is indeed Jesus, and only Jesus, who saves. It is the name of Jesus that saves. In the end, I think many – a vast multitude, in fact – will bend the knee at the name of Jesus and acknowledge Him as their Lord and Savior. And, like the repentant thief, they will be saved. 

Hopefully, we will not be envious because He is generous. 

In Christ and His Blessed Mother, 

Bro. Stephen

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Saint Anthony of Padua

The gospel call to leave everything and follow Christ was the rule of Saint Anthony of Padua’s life. Over and over again, God called him to something new in his plan. Every time Anthony responded with renewed zeal and self-sacrificing to serve his Lord Jesus more completely.

His journey as the servant of God began as a very young man when he decided to join the Augustinians in Lisbon, giving up a future of wealth and power to be a servant of God. Later when the bodies of the first Franciscan martyrs went through the Portuguese city where he was stationed, he was again filled with an intense longing to be one of those closest to Jesus himself: those who die for the Good News.

So Anthony entered the Franciscan Order and set out to preach to the Moors. But an illness prevented him from achieving that goal. He went to Italy and was stationed in a small hermitage where he spent most of his time praying, reading the Scriptures and doing menial tasks.

Friday, June 11, 2021

Saint Barnabas


Barnabas, a Jew of Cyprus, comes as close as anyone outside the Twelve to being a full-fledged apostle. He was closely associated with Saint Paul—he introduced Paul to Peter and the other apostles—and served as a kind of mediator between the former persecutor and the still suspicious Jewish Christians.

When a Christian community developed at Antioch, Barnabas was sent as the official representative of the church of Jerusalem to incorporate them into the fold. He and Paul instructed in Antioch for a year, after which they took relief contributions to Jerusalem.Later Paul and Barnabas, now clearly seen as charismatic leaders, were sent by Antioch officials to preach to the gentiles. Enormous success crowned their efforts. After a miracle at Lystra, the people wanted to offer sacrifice to them as gods—Barnabas being Zeus, and Paul, Hermes—but the two said, “We are of the same nature as you, human beings. We proclaim to you good news that you should turn from these idols to the living God” (see Acts 14:8-18).