“Inside the Vatican” 2011 Man of the Year to be Honored at the 2012 IRL National Meeting

This year, the IRL’s Pro Fidelitate et Virtute Award will go to the Very. Rev. Cassian Folsom, O.S.B., named the 2011 Man of the Year by Inside the Vatican magazine.

In the article, Dr. Robert Moynihan, editor-in-chief of the magazine, wrote: “Sometimes we are able to see a splendid adventure of life and faith just at the moment that it is unfolding. … Such is the case with Father Cassian Folsom and the refounding of the Benedictine monastery in Norcia, Italy—the birthplace of St. Benedict in about A.D. 480—which was closed in 1810, and reopened after 190 years in the year 2000. For what Father Folsom has done for Norcia, for what he has done for monasticism in general and Benedictine monasticism in particular, for what he has done for the Church’s liturgy and for what he has taught all of us about following Christ by his Christian example, we feel privileged to have the opportunity to select Cassian Folsom, who is also an old friend, as our ‘Person of the Year’ for 2011.”

Please join us at the IRL banquet dinner honoring Fr. Cassian which will be held on Saturday, April 14, 2012, at the University of St. Mary of the Lake. The banquet is just one part of our National Meeting (April 13-15, 2012) which this year is focusing on The Sacred Liturgy  as a Foretaste of Heaven. All are invited to attend. Please visit our website for more information.

African American Catholics

The most current issue of Our Sunday Visitor (2/5/12) has an article on African American Catholics. The whole article is very interesting but one family stood out. Michael Healy, an Irish immigrant, and his common-law wife and slave, Eliza Clark, had ten children together. They were unable to marry because the laws of the time (early 1800’s) prohibited interracial marriage. Even worse, the children born to them were considered slaves. Therefore, the parents sent their children North for their education and freedom.

Their son James, a Suplician,  became the Bishop of Portland, Maine. Their son Patrick, a Jesuit (pictured left), became President of Georgetown University. Sherwood was the rector of Holy Cross Cathedral, Boston. Two of their daughters, Josephine and Eliza, became nuns with the Religious Hospitallers of St. Joseph and the Congregation of Notre Dame in Canada. What sacrifices the parents made on behalf of their children! What wonderful formation the children must have received from others known only to God! God bless all parents who give so much for the welfare of their children.

St. Thomas Aquinas

A beautiful article on St. Thomas Aquinas by Fr. Brain Mullady, O.P., and his impact on Catholic teachings can be found at the Catholics United for the Faith website. Father makes the point that modern schlolars often miss the crux of Saint Thomas’ thinking, believing that he taught us how to think rather than what to think. “Often his followers have sacrificed what he thought so that they might enlist him as a support for some contemporary philosophy, and so have not done justice to the master.”

During Mass this morning, our Associate Pastor reminded us of the most important legacy that Saint Thomas left for us. When Our Lord told Thomas, “You have written well of me, Thomas! What do you desire?” Saint Thomas famously replied, “Non nisi te, Domine” (Only You, Lord). May we too desire only the Lord!

St. Thomas, pray for our modern day theologians who strive to present ancient truths in our modern times.

St. Angela Merici and Bl. Mary of the Incarnation

Today, the Church celebrates the Feast Day of St. Angela Merici who died in 1474. The Order that she founded, the Ursulines, sent the first missionaries sisters to the New World in 1639. One of these was Bl. Mary of the Incarnation (1599-1672) who was a wife, mother, widow and religious. When she was a young girl, Jesus appeared to her in a dream and asked, “Do you want to belong to me?” She answered, yes!, and later sacrificed everything dear to her to follow His call to go to Quebec to found the first Ursuline convent outside of Europe.  When she entered the Ursulines, she told her young son, “God wills it, my son. If we love Him, we should will it, too. It is up to Him to command, and up to us to obey.” She is known as the St. Teresa of Avila of Canada.

Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George

In the January 9, 2012, issue of People Magazine is a beautiful article entitled, “How Ashley Found Her Calling,” the story of Ashley Vola and her entrance into the Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George of Alton, Illinois. As a youngster, Ashley felt drawn by the witness of the Sisters in her school who were inspiring, kind and fun. As a teenager in love with country music, the desire to consecrate her life to God persisted. One day, while surfing the internet, she read an article by a priest “urging young people to follow their hearts.” She said, “Yes, Lord, I will do it!”

“All of you must be the light of the world.  To those of you who think that Christ may be inviting you to follow Him in the priesthood or consecrated life, I make this personal appeal: I ask you to open your hearts generously to Him; do not delay your response.  The Lord will help you to know His Will; He will help you to follow your vocation courageously.” Pope John Paul II, St. Louis, MO, 1999.

Thomas Aquinas College Celebrates 52 Alumni Priests

The most recent Thomas Aquinas College Newsletter highlighted the more than 50 alumni ordained to the priesthood in the College’s first 40 years.  Serving as pastors, chaplains, seminary professors, and missionaries in 12 religious orders, 21 states and 8 countries, many more alumni are preparing for the priesthood as seminarians.

President Michael McLean says, “One of the greatest affirmations of the work we do at the College is that so many men who graduate from here go on to answer God’s call to the priesthood.”

Thomas Aquinas College is an Affiliate Member of the Institute on Religious Life. We are pleased to have on our Board of Directors, Rev. James E. Isaacson, S.J.C., Class of ’88.

Please visit the College website for more information.

St. Francis de Sales

Today we celebrate the Feast Day of St. Francis de Sales (1567-1622) : Bishop, Evangelist and Spiritual Director.

Though he died almost 400 years ago, his words of wisdom for those desiring to deepen their spiritual life are as pertinent today as they were then. He presented a wonderful image to keep in mind on the value of  receiving of Holy Communion regularly: “As the hares living in our snowy mountains grow white from living in the snow, so by perpetually worshiping and adoring beauty, goodness and purity in this Divine Sacrament, you, too, will become beautiful, good and pure” (An Introduction to the Devout Life).

St. Francis de Sales, pray for us and for the Church.

Sisters of Life

Today, the Church asks all people to pray for the legal protection of unborn children. Tens of millions of children have died since the Supreme Court ruling of 1973. But out of this darkness, a beautiful seed of hope has arisen — the Sisters of Life. Founded in 1991 by John Cardinal O’Connor for the protection and enhancement of the sacredness of every human life, they profess the three traditional vows but also a special, fourth vow— to protect and enhance the sacredness of human life.

The Sisters of Life, an IRL Affiliate, carry out their mission with the hope of revealing to those they serve the inherent goodness and beauty of their own lives, so that each person may see and experience the truth that they are an unrepeatable creation of the Master.

The Sister of Life are opening their eighth convent in Rockland County, NY, which will be their motherhouse. We pray this day for them and the 700 women a year they serve through outreach programs and advocacy.

“Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me” (Mt 25:40).

World Day for Consecrated Life Set for February 4-5 in U.S.

The 16th annual World Day for Consecrated Life will be observed in parishes in the United States the weekend of February 4-5.

The annual celebration was established by Pope John Paul II in 1997, to be marked each year on February 2, the Feast of the Presentation.

The U.S. bishops voted to observe the occasion the weekend following the feast, to highlight men and women religious in consecrated life as part of weekend Mass celebrations and to enable expressions of appreciation for the service of those who have chosen the consecrated life and to pray for an increase of vocations.

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson of St. Louis, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations (CCLV), heralded the role of religious.

“Many consecrated men and women share Christ’s light and love through their work in parish or diocesan ministries, education, health care, social services, spiritual direction and prayer,” he said. “Through their service and vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, they show that Jesus Christ is our most valued possession.”

The Church recognizes several forms of consecrated life, said Father Shawn McKnight, executive director of the Secretariat. “All who embrace the consecrated life promise poverty, chastity and obedience,” he said. “Religious priests, sisters and brothers live and pray in community, and they serve the Church in apostolic service or are wholly devoted to contemplation. Members of secular institutes fulfill their promises living within, not apart from, the world. Consecrated virgins, who are consecrated by the diocesan bishop, also serve the Church while remaining within the world, and hermits observe separation from the world in solitude, prayer and penance.”

Prayers of the Faithful, a bulletin announcement and a prayer card for the World Day for Consecrated Life can be found on the U.S. bishops’ website here .

In 1997, Pope John Paul II instituted a day of prayer for women and men in consecrated life. This celebration is attached to the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord on February 2nd. This Feast is also known as Candlemas Day; the day on which candles are blessed symbolizing Christ who is the light of the world. So too, those in consecrated life are called to reflect light of Jesus Christ to all peoples. The celebration of World Day for Consecrated Life is transferred to the following Sunday in order to highlight the gift of consecrated persons for the whole Church.

Eastern Rite Monastery Opens Doors

In October, five monks, members of the Eastern rite Catholic Church, arrived at their new monastery in St. Nazianz, about 50 miles south of Green Bay. The three-story structure, originally a convent, offers enough space for the community to grow and to welcome guests from around the Midwest for retreats and worship.

“We are a new foundation of a very ancient tradition in the Eastern Catholic Church,” said Abbot Nicholas Zachariadis, leader of the monastic community. “We began about 17 years ago and we had a home in Newberry Springs,” located in the western Mojave Desert in California.

Last year, one of the monks, Fr. Moses Wright, came across Maria Haus — formerly St. Mary Convent in St. Nazianz — while doing an online search for church property. “So we came and looked at it and we liked it,” said Abbot Nicholas.

“Bishop Ricken extended his invitation for us to come and made us feel very welcome,” said Abbot Nicholas. “He’s very enthusiastic about our presence and ministry here, so his support is important.”

With boxes yet to unpack, Abbot Nicholas said the monks are eager to settle into their new home. It’s especially significant to land in a community named after a father of the Eastern Catholic Church, St. Gregory Nazianzen.

Abbot Nicholas said the monastery wants to offer retreats and days of reflection to the community. “We hope to have Saturdays as days of pilgrimage and reflection,” he said. “Most Saturdays we hope to have groups of anywhere between 10 and 50 people who will come for the day to celebrate liturgy with us; Mass in the morning and lunch. We can show them around and explain to them about our tradition. Then they can stay for vespers.”

To read the complete article, click here. For more information, about Holy Resurrection Monastery, visit www.hrmonline.org.