Radio Maria

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By Anne Tschanz | Filed in News | No comments yet.

madonnaCheck out Radio Maria, a Catholic station committed to calling for conversion through radio programming. Tomorrow, Saturday, at 11:00am, Fr. James Kubicki, SJ, will be speaking with Sr. Beth Ann Dillon, DSMP, about her vocation, ministry and community (who care the for the mentally disabled). Both Father and Sister are on the Board of Directors of the IRL.

Begun in Italy in 1987, since 1991 Radio Maria has spread to the five continents, accomplishing the staggering number of 70 radio stations joined together in the World Family of Radio Maria. There are 18 channels in Africa alone. They are focusing their greatest effort in the African continent where another six projects are ready to start as soon as the resources are available. They do not accept advertising, preferring to rely on Divine Providence alone.

There are stations for English, Italian, German, Spanish and French-speaking people. In the US, the English stations are located in Louisiana, New York, Ohio, Mississippi, Texas, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, as well as streaming online. Italian and Spanish stations are in NY and Chicago (I didn’t know that there were many Italian-speaking people in Chicago).

I was unfamiliar with Radio Maria until today when Fr. Kubicki mentioned that he had a regular hour-long show on the air every week (Saturdays at 11:00 A.M.), where he brings in guests and often speaks with sisters from different congregations.

How do they measure success? Not on audience share but on the number of souls who return to God.

Radio Maria must be an effective instrument of Mary and must try to be a living image of Mary. Our Lady must have a silent presence on the radio, in all broadcasts, even in those which are not specifically religious, including music. Her beauty, light, peace, joy, tenderness, faith, hope and love must be present. Every Radio Maria program must emanate the presence of Mary.

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“The Best Evangelizers are the Poor!”

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By Anne Tschanz | Filed in Men's communities | No comments yet.

friar mariusFriar Marius-Petru Bîlha, OFM Conv., recently recounted his experience of visiting the parish of St. Maximilian Kolbe in Tegucigalpa, Nicaragua. It is on the outskirts of the capital in a poor and highly dangerous area. The Conventual friars there also serve another 16 chapels which they reach weekly or monthly to administer the sacraments and minister to the people. Or, in this case, have the people minister to them!

Friar Marius-Petru says, “One can’t help noticing the contrast between the joy and happiness of the people and the outward ugliness of a society where violence, corruption and poverty are everyday news. I have often wondered; where does it all come from, this joy, the desire for goodness and the outlook for a hopeful future? It can only come from hearts filled with love of God, hearts which put all hope and trust in Him.”

The friars in the US have a close relationship with their brothers from Honduras. Since 1997, their St. Joseph University Parish in Terre Haute, Indiana, has been sending friars and parishioners to assist in various ways at St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish. Many of the missions have offered much needed medical aid to the local community in Tegucigalpa.

The best evangelizers are the poor! “I return from Honduras evangelized by the poor, strengthened to live out my own gift of self with love, joy, simplicity, humility and generosity.”

If you think you might have a vocation to serve Christ in the missions and in the poor, visit the Conventual Franciscans’ website.

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Joy is the Fruit of Not Having

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By Anne Tschanz | Filed in Men's communities | No comments yet.

osb norcia

“A life spent seeking God is to many the most useless of occupations. But that, of course, is the great reason for the monk’s joy. The more he seeks God, the less he needs to know why he does so. The answer takes away the question. Joy is the fruit not of having, but of no longer needing to have.

 —Fr. Benedict, O.S.B., Monastero di San Benedetto, Norcia, Italy

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Our Lady of Sorrows

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By Anne Tschanz | Filed in Liturgical Year | No comments yet.

Today is the Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows. Vatican approval for the celebration of a feast in honor of Our Lady of Sorrows was first granted to the Servites in 1667. Images of Our Lady of Sorrows are numerous, but two are special to me.

golgotha

First, in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, there is an image of Our Lady of Sorrows next to the actual rock of Calvary, a gift from the Queen of Portugal. Though it is a statue, Mary’s eyes seem filled with tears and a sword has pierced her breast. It is an image worthy of prolonged mediation.

 

olsalette

The other image is from the apparition of Our Blessed Mother at LaSalette in France. She appeared to two shepherd children as a woman weeping. At the shrine high up in the Alps, a statue commemorates this event. Here, she is weeping because of the people who take the Lord’s name in vain and do not honor the Sabbath. She is still weeping today.

ols2build

You can stay at the LaSalette Shrine in very comfortable accommodations, high above the tree line, at the site where the apparition took place. A miraculous spring still gushes forth. It is open even in the winter as I can personally attest to after making the drive up the icy mountain surrounded by 10 foot snow drifts! As you can see from the picture (above), you are clearly above the cloud line!

Our Lady of Sorrows,

your Son sent you from Heaven to warn us of the consequences of disobedience to the Father.

You call each of us to reform our lives. Help us to do so.

And at the end of our days, may we be united with Jesus forever in Heaven. Amen.

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Benedictines in the Holy Land

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By Anne Tschanz | Filed in General interest | 4 comments

osb dormMany people are aware that the Franciscans are an ever-present presence in the Holy Land. The familiar Jerusalem cross above a door indicates that the Franciscans are the guardians of that particular (usually) holy site and all are welcome to come in.

But the Benedictines are also in the Holy Land at the Church of the Dormition of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Church of the Multiplication of Loaves and Fishes on the Sea of Galilee (Tabgha Priory), and at Abu Ghosh, where the Ark of the Covenant rested for twenty years. Fittingly, the Church in Abu Gosh is called Notre Dame de l’Arche d’Alliance (Our Lady of the Ark of the Covenant). Mary can be seen at the top holding the infant Jesus in her arms.

The National Catholic Register recently interviewed Fr. Mark Sheridan, a Benedictine monk at Dormition Abbey on Mount Zion in Jerusalem. He will celebrate 50 years in the priesthood in February 2015. In the lengthy interview, Fr. Sheridan describes the complex and fascinating life of a Benedictine in Israel.

In 2012, he founded Friends of the Benedictines to “provide financial support the religious, charitable and educational activities of the canonically established monastic communities following the Rule of St. Benedict in the Holy Land.” Their life in Israel is precarious. They rely on pilgrims to support their activities including special assistance to those in need. In unsettled times like today, they suffer.

tabghaIf you are fortunate to go to Israel and can get away on your own, I highly recommend checking out a stay at the Tabgha guesthouse on the Sea of Galilee. It is located in one of the quietest and most beautiful places in Israel. In the 1930′s, this site was excavated and lo and behold they discovered a 1000+ year old Byzantine Church. The ancient mosaics can still be seen in the new Church erected on the site. Also in Tabgha are the Benedictine Sisters from the Philippines from the Congregation of the Benedictine Sisters of the Eucharistic King. They care for the many Filipino workers in Israel.

In the Rule of St. Benedict it says that all guests who present themselves are to be welcomed as Christ (Chapter 53). The Benedictines in the Holy Land continue this practice, receiving pilgrims, Christian and non-Christian alike, showing them the door to Christ.

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I Want to Become a Saint

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By Anne Tschanz | Filed in Men's communities, News | No comments yet.

For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; or whether we die, we die unto the Lord. Therefore, whether we live, or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. (Rom 14:18)

brstephen_fiIn Memoriam: Br. Stephen Cox (1992 – 2014)

September 4, 2014

Stephen Timothy Cox was born in Walnut Creek, California on March 22nd, 1992 to Edwin and Nelda Cox. He is the second of two children. His sister, Sarah, is eight years his senior. The family home is in Concord, California, a community on the east side of San Francisco Bay.

Stephen grew up in a traditional Catholic Family. His school years were spent in public schools, homeschooling, a small Catholic Academy and Prep School and finally graduating from Concord Public High School in 2010. After high school Br. Stephen enrolled in Diablo Valley Community College where he graduated with an Associate of Arts Degree in 2013. During his time in College he spent a semester abroad in Italy.

His interests and activities clustered around music and church. Br. Stephen played the trumpet and French horn and was a good vocalist. He sang in choirs at school and church and was looking forward to participating in the Renaissance choir here at the Abbey.

Br. Stephen awakened to a religious vocation at age 14 after viewing the Movie Therese by Leonardo de Filippis. He was profoundly moved by the film and immediately began to investigate religious orders to apply to.

First, Br. Stephen investigated religious orders which were in some way connected with St. Therese and the movie that was so instrumental in his vocational awakening. He was turned away in several instances because of his youth and the fact that he had epilepsy. Finally, he was permitted to apply and was accepted at Mount Angel Abbey. He began the postulancy on March 20th, 2014. He was ecstatic when he found out that part of the movie Therese was filmed at the abbey.

Br. Stephen was a very pious young man. He arrived at the abbey with all the zeal and romantic idealism that are typical of the young. He saw himself very much in the model of St. Therese of Lisieux. His aspirations were simple. As he put it in his application in response to the question “Why do you want to be a monk of Mount Angel Abbey?” He wrote, “Because I want to be a saint and I think that this is the best place for me to do that.”

Br. Stephen was loved by his classmates and the monks of the Abbey. He was very diligent in extending hospitality to the visitors coming to the monastery to consider a call to the monastic life.

He had a refreshing simplicity about him, a sense of humor and smiled a lot. He was humble and zealous; a good monk. Br. Stephen died suddenly in an epileptic seizure the morning of September 4th, 2014.

~Abbot Gregory Duerr & Community, Mount Angel Abbey

 

Memorial services in the Abbey Church:

September 9, Tuesday, 12:00 – Reception of Body

September 9, Tuesday, 7:25pm – Vigils for the Dead

September 10, Wednesday, 10am – Mass of Christian Burial (followed by procession to the Abbey Cemetery)

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Why Would Anyone Want to Become a Nun?

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By Anne Tschanz | Filed in News, Women's Communities | No comments yet.
Happy Birthday Blessed Mother! The first to walk behind the standard of Christ.

Happy Birthday Blessed Mother! The first to walk behind the standard of Christ.

Time magazine recently had an article about “nuns,” asking why anyone in their right mind would want to become a “nun” these days.

Father Robert McTeigue, S.J. wrote a brief rebuttal. I give you the highlights here. Check out his complete post at Aleteia.org.

To summarize the article, it said in essence:

  • No one is becoming a nun anymore.
  • No one is becoming a nun anymore because the Vatican is mean to nuns.
  • The proof that the Vatican is mean to nuns is that the Vatican won’t let nuns become priests.
  • No one is becoming a nun anymore because all the cool reasons for which young women used to become nuns can now be realized by young women without suffering the indignity of enduring the Vatican’s lack of appreciation.

The author asks why young women would want to join an institution where they cannot rise above a certain level (ie. the priesthood and Pope). Young women do not need religious life anymore. They can become highly educated, travel and do good without being tied down with kids and husbands.

Father says in reply: Notice what the author did not mention.

  • She did not mention women entering religious life because the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience are a path to holiness.
  • She did not mention women entering religious life because they wanted to live as a consecrated bride of Christ.
  • She did not mention women entering religious life to find the consolation of communal life.
  • She did not mention women entering religious life to live the charism of their order’s founder (e.g., loving God in simplicity in the manner of Saint Francis, loving God in truth in the manner of Saint Dominic, etc.).

Regarding this lack of understanding, here is what St. Paul has to say:

“…no one knows what pertains to God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit that is from God, so that we may understand the things freely given us by God. And we speak about them not with words taught by human wisdom, but with words taught by the Spirit, describing spiritual realities in spiritual terms. Now the natural person does not accept what pertains to the Spirit of God, for to him it is foolishness, and he cannot understand it, because it is judged spiritually” (1 Corinthians 2:11b-14).

Check out our website for communities faithful to the Church who are attracting vocations. Find one near you!

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Perpetual Adoration and Vocations

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By Anne Tschanz | Filed in Men's communities | No comments yet.
Students from Paris pray at the shrine

Students from Paris pray at the shrine

Fr. Basil Moreau, the Founder of the Congregation of Holy Cross, decreed in 1849 that all of the Holy Cross houses should institute perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament “to obtain necessary vocations and to draw down more abundant blessings from heaven on the work of Holy Cross.”

This is a model for all people—religious, consecrated and lay. If we want vocations, Adoration, especially Perpetual Adoration, is always a means to draw forth blessings from Heaven, whether it be for vocations in the family, in the parish, or in religious communities. All can participate in fostering vocations.

In December of 2013, the Congregation of Holy Cross announced that they are establishing an international shrine in honor of Blessed Basil Moreau at the Church of Notre-Dame de Sainte-Croix in Le Mans, France. The church, consecrated in 1857, is the Congregation’s spiritual home, and the church’s crypt is where Father Moreau is buried today.

It’s new rector, Fr. John DeRiso, C.S.C., said, “I believe the first step in the establishment of the shrine should be that of prayer. We have begun at Notre-Dame de Sainte-Croix a weekly Holy Hour of Eucharistic Adoration for the needs of the parish and the shrine together.” Fr DeRiso previously served in a parish in South Bend, Indiana.

I attended St. Mary’s College in Notre Dame, IN, run by the Holy Cross sisters, where I lived in LeMans Hall. Now I know where and why it got its name!

A Holy Cross brother sent us some quotes from Father Moreau of which I provide these two excerpts:

“Among the practices of piety in use in our congregation, there is one which I cannot recommend strongly enough, my dear sons and daughters in Jesus Christ, because its faithful practice is the richest source of divine blessings for us and for our houses. I refer to the perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.”

“Reverend Fathers and dear Brothers, I feel myself urged to commend earnestly to your attention, fidelity to your Hour of Adoration, so that day and night there may be someone among us before our Lord to adore Him, thank Him, beg for graces, and pardon in the name of the entire family of the Holy Cross.”

 

 

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The Worldwide Carmelite Virtual Choir

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By Anne Tschanz | Filed in Cloistered life, News | No comments yet.

st teresa choirOn March 28, 2015, the Carmelite family will celebrate the 500th anniversary of the birth of St. Teresa of Avila, foundress of the Discalced Carmelite Order and first woman Doctor of the Church.

In anticipation of this momentous event, Carmelite nuns and friars from around the world participated in a virtual choir, visually and musically demonstrating the familial ties that bind the Carmelites across the globe, all due to this Spanish nun who initiated a reform of the Carmelites in the 16th century.

Thanks to the wonders of computer technology, individual Carmelites in monasteries across the oceans, above and below the equator, did recordings in the comfort of their own monastery and submitted it on the virtual choir website where it was synchronized with many other voices from around the Carmelite worldwide community and compiled into a single choir.

Sr. Teresita Flynn of the Carmel, California, monastery was one of the singers. “I became so excited by the idea that nuns from all different countries were going to participate in this project to honor St. Teresa,” she said. “We actually didn’t have the equipment to make the recording, and I was very lucky that they prolonged the deadline, and also that someone donated a laptop so we could do it. I did it at about 5 minutes to midnight on the day of the deadline.”

The two songs were premiered at a August 2014 celebration of the life and legacy of St. Teresa of Avila in San Jose, California. Called “The Creative Spiritual Genius of St. Teresa of Avila Today,” it featured presentations by each branch of the Discalced Carmelite Order (Nuns, Friars, Seculars, Affiliates), a banquet, a special Eucharistic celebration, a concert and the two virtual choirs comprised of members of the Discalced Carmelite Order from around the world.

The three day celebration in San Jose, called “The Creative Spiritual Genius of St. Teresa of Avila Today,”  will feature presentations by each branch of the Discalced Carmelite Order (Nuns, Friars, Seculars, Affiliates), a banquet, a special Eucharistic celebration, a concert and the two virtual choirs comprised of members of the Discalced Carmelite Order from around the world. – See more at: http://vocationblog.com/#sthash.r5q5GglB.dpuf

The two songs, composed by Sister Claire Sokol, OCD, are Nada Te Turbe, a Spanish piece sung by Discalced Carmelite nuns, and Salve Regina, sung by nuns, friars and seculars. It can be viewed on YouTube. They are accompanied by the Teresian Orchestra of the Cathedral of St. James in Seattle, Washington. Listening to the angelic voices, one would think that they all were in one room, it is that perfect. Amazing. The PBS station KNPB is producing a documentary on the whole endeavor.

The phrase “Nada te turbe” was found in St. Teresa’s breviary after her death. It means “Let nothing disturb you.”

Let nothing disturb you; Let nothing frighten you. All things are passing. God never changes. Patience obtains all things. Nothing is wanting to him who possesses God. God alone suffices.

 

 

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Ted Cramer

Ted Cramer

We always keenly follow the events of the Conventual Franciscans at Marytown since we are located in the shadow of their monastery in Libertyville, Illinois. We are especially happy when we see young faces at the monastery, a sign of growth, vitality and the workings of the Holy Spirit. The following are pictures of six of the new postulants who are beginning their journey as Franciscans for the North American provinces.

Aaron Clark

Aaron Clark

As I read the brief write-ups of each young man, I was struck by some similarities in their vocation stories. One, they served the poor in some way. Two, their contact with a local Conventual Franciscan parish was a great influence, and three, God calls, no matter what the age – high school graduate to experienced businessman.

Aaron Clark (age 41, California), businessman, most recently worked on a spiritual care team at a hospital and tutoring immigrants.

Roberson Lubin

Roberson Lubin

Ted Cramer (age 33, Wyoming), managed construction for Habitat for Humanity and dedicated much time to the local Newman Center

Roberson Lubin (age 28, originally from Haiti), met the friars at a parish in Hermosa Beach in California, enjoyed volunteering at a medical center and parish.

Tim Blanchard

Tim Blanchard

Tim Blanchard (age 19, New York), working in kitchens, he helped provide meals for the poor. Met the Militia Immaculata Youth Group when he was volunteering at the Little Sisters of the Poor.

Franck Lino Sokpolie (age 19, originally from Togo), a freshman in college, after visiting many communities, he felt at home with the Conventuals.

Franck Lino Sokpolie

Franck Lino Sokpolie

Jaime Zaragoza (age 26, Texas), played college football, worked as a volunteer cook for a homeless shelter.

The Conventual Franciscans are one of the three branches of the First Order of St. Francis. The word Conventual is derived from the Latin convenire, “to come together.” Their Order includes about 4500 priests and brothers around the world.

In Assisi, their Friars care for the Basilica of St. Francis, which includes his tomb. In addition, the Conventuals are the Vatican confessors at St. Peter’s Basilica.

In an interesting bit of history, Friar Juan Perez, who pleaded Columbus’ case before King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain, is credited with celebrating the first Mass in the New World.

Jaime Zaragoza

Jaime Zaragoza

For a list of some vocation retreats, click here.

Francis said, “And the Lord gave me brothers.” And so we believe we can only experience humility and charity in relationship with one another as brothers. It is within the context of brotherhood that Conventual Franciscans strive to follow the poor and crucified Christ.

 

 

 

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