Archive for the 'General interest' Category

Benedictines in the Holy Land

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

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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My Life for Your Freedom

Friday, July 18th, 2014

white scapularMy Life for Your Freedom. This phrase captures the spirit of the Mercedarian friars and sisters around the world.

Yesterday, our pastor blessed a whole basket of brown scapulars and offered them to the faithful in honor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. It reminds me that the brown Carmelite scapular, while certainly the most popular, is by no means the only scapular around for the laity. There is also the beautiful white Mercedarian scapular.

The Scapular was originally the long, wide piece of cloth worn around the neck by religious as part of their habit. Today’s religious orders continue to wear such a Scapular but smaller versions are available to lay people.

The Mercedarian friars wear a white habit composed of a tunic, belt, scapular, capuche and shield. The white Mercedarian Scapular can be seen as a “smaller version” of the Order’s habit for laypeople.

The Mercedarian Scapular spiritually unites its wearer to the work of the worldwide Mercedarian Order in its work in ransoming Christians from various types of captivity. The Sodality of the Scapular is a spiritual organization of the laity who have a special devotion to the Blessed Mother under the title of Our Lady of Mercy. They unite themselves spiritually to the work of the Mercedarian Friars in the ransoming of Christian Captives in danger of apostasy. Besides wearing the White Scapular, members offer daily prayers for the Order, the Holy Father, and suffering and persecuted members of the Church.

The wearer of the Scapular places himself under the loving protection of Mary.

For more information on the Sodality of the Scapular, visit the Mercedarians’ website. There is also a YouTube video of a Mercedarian Sodality Scapular Investiture. For information on the Mercedarian sisters, go to their site as well.

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Watch 2014 National Meeting Via Live Video Streaming

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

40thThrough the generosity of Corey and Katherine Huber of the Mater Ecclesiae Fund for Vocations, we wish to extend a special invitation to all our IRL affiliates, especially cloistered and monastic communities, and IRL friends to participate in the 2014 IRL National Meeting by viewing all the scheduled chapel events online via video streaming.

To view select portions of the National Meeting on Friday, Saturday or Sunday, you can paste this link into your web browser:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrwD_SicR4hbkuvzS-zzf-w/videos?live_view=502&flow=list&view=2&sort=dd

Or you can go to the www.ReligiousLife.com home page and click on the link there.

The link will direct you to a dedicated IRL YouTube channel.

Please note that the times given below are Central Daylight Time. Check the YouTube channel for the times for your particular time zone.

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 Friday, April 25, 2014

4:00 pm        Pontifical High Mass (Extraordinary Form) celebrated by Most Rev. James Timlin

7:15 pm       Keynote Address: “Building the Civilization of Love through the Sacred Heart of Jesus,”   Dr.  Timothy O’Donnell

8:15 pm         Rosary & Benediction

 Saturday, April 26, 2014

1:30 pm       “Having Our Answers Ready: Combating the Cultural Climate of Confusion and Scorn,” Sheila Liaugminas

2:30 pm       “Our Shepherds Speak,” Panel Presentation featuring Most Rev. Robert F. Vasa  and Most Rev. James C. Timlin, moderated by Dr. Timothy O’Donnell

4:00 pm       Holy Mass, Main Chapel celebrated by Most Rev. Robert F. Vasa

 Sunday, April 27, 2014

9:00 am       “True Holiness, True Joy,” Mother M. Julie Saegaert, S.C.M.C.

10:00 am       Divine Mercy Chaplet & Relic Veneration

10:30 am       Holy Mass celebrated by Rev. Brian Mullady, O.P.


Please keep in your prayers the dear mother of Katherine Huber, Marjorie, who recently passed away. May her soul and the souls of all the faithful departed rest in peace!

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Institute on Religious Life Launches New Website

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

Revised screenThe Institute on Religious Life today launched a completely redesigned www.ReligiousLife.com. The new site is more dynamic and user friendly, houses a great resource of information, and provides expanded audio and video features.

“All of the changes are intended to convey a better sense of our mission and who we are as an organization,” said Michael D. Wick, executive director of the IRL. “We are so happy to launch our new website during the IRL’s 40th anniversary and as the Church prepares to celebrate the Year of Consecrated Life which Pope Francis declared to begin this October.”

The new site was made possible by a grant from Our Sunday Visitor Institute. It was designed by Solutio Software of Cheney, Kansas.

“The site will be a great help to young Catholics who wish to know more or are considering the priestly or religious life, something very much needed in our times. And it will connect them to faithful institutes of consecrated life. The VocationSearch database is terrific for learning about the IRL’s 160-plus affiliate communities,” said M. Kathleen O’Brien, IRL director of operations. “We believe it is the premier Catholic vocations information portal—a ‘one-stop shopping’ experience for those who are sincerely discerning their vocation or seeking resources to promote and pray for vocations. From its 8-day ‘virtual’ discernment retreats, to the new Religious Life e-magazine, to vocation prayer leaflets for distribution among family, friends or parishioners, the new site offers all kinds of resources for building up the consecrated life.”

The site has in-depth reflections on the consecrated life, print and audio, including meditations by the IRL’s founder, Servant of God Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J., and talks given by IRL national director Fr. Thomas Nelson, O.Praem. The home page photo rotation features IRL affiliates, as well as real-time entries from the IRL’s “Vocation Blog” and a listing of scheduled events.

Young people who are serious about discernment can sign up for the free “Speak Lord” audio download of the month club or find out about upcoming “Come & See” vocation retreats. “Young people need catechesis and direction to be able to discern the Lord’s calling for their lives and the IRL wishes to provide helpful resources that will allow them to discern God’s will,” notes Father Nelson.

The Institute on Religious Life was founded in 1974 by Servant of God Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J. Early supporters included Bl. Mother of Calcutta and Ven. Fulton J. Sheen. Its mission is to promote and support the consecrated life as a gift to the Church and an evangelical witness to the world.

 

Men of Christ

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

menof christOn March 15, 2014, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee will host a conference for men (and sons!) entitled Men of Christ. Open to men outside the archdiocese, I know personally from people who have attended the conference that it is an incredible event with inspiring speakers, fellowship, Mass, Confession and Eucharistic Adoration.

The purpose is to empower men to boldly live their Faith!

Auxiliary Bishop Donald Hying, an IRL Executive Board Member, will be the main celebrant for the 4:00 pm Mass. Other guests include:

  • Archbishop Jerome Listecki of Milwaukee
  • Tom Peterson from Catholics Come Home
  • Fr. Michael Gaitley, MIC, who will speak on the message of Divine Mercy
  • Michael Coren – TV Host, Radio Personality, Speaker, Author
  • And others

The event will be held at the Milwaukee Theater and will begin at 9:00am (7:00 am Mass will be offered). For more details visit the website: www.Menof Christ.net.

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Pope Francis Prayer Intentions – January

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

PopeFrancisPrayingThe Holy Father’s prayer intentions for the month of January and as well as reflections by Fr. James Kubicki, S.J., National Director of the Apostleship of Prayer.

1. Universal Intention

That all may promote authentic economic development that respects the dignity of all peoples.

Pope Francis sees that the “worship of the golden calf of old (see Exodus 32: 15-34) has found a new and heartless image in the cult of money” which puts making money ahead of people. “Concealed behind this attitude is a rejection of ethics, a rejection of God. Money has to serve, not to rule!”

The universal intention this month challenges us to examine ourselves and our choices, for as the Holy Father declared: “The Pope appeals for disinterested solidarity and for a return to person-centered ethics in the world of finance and economics.”

1 Timothy 6: 6-10 The love of money is the root of all evils.

2. Evangelization Intention

That Christians of diverse denominations may walk toward the unity desired by Christ.

Because there are obvious divisions among Christians, the world has trouble believing in Jesus. Thus, part of evangelization—spreading the Gospel—is work and prayer for unity. At the Last Supper Jesus prayed to the Father that Christians “may all be one…so that the world may know” that the Father sent Him (John 17: 20-23). This unity among Christians must be visible so that the world can see and believe.

During the annual Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity, January 18-25, we pray with Pope Francis that the Holy Spirit may make us one as Jesus and the Father are one—so that the world may believe.

James 4: 1-12 Where do the conflicts among you come from?

For Father Kubicki’s complete reflections, please visit the Apostleship of Prayer.

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The Secret Behind the Renewal of Vocations

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

renewal2A new book was issued in December which sheds light on the priestly vocation crisis and what is drawing young men to the priesthood today. Entitled: Renewal: How a New Generation of Faithful Priests and Bishops Is Revitalizing the Catholic Church (Encounter Books, 2013) it studies the reasons behind the past decline and the current rise in vocations.

The authors Anne Hendershott and Christopher White say that the more parishes and dioceses and religious organizations compromise “with society and the world, blurring its identity and modifying its teachings and ethics, the more it will decline.”

Ms. Hendershott said that “good and holy priests provide wonderful role models for young men who might someday consider joining the priesthood. Conversely, in some parishes—run by progressive pastoral administrators—young men are less likely to answer the call to a priesthood that has been so diminished that the priest is a visiting ‘sacramental minister’ who arrives in time to consecrate the Eucharist and play a subservient role to the female ‘pastoral administrator.’”

Equally disturbing is the role or lack thereof that Catholic Colleges play in the nurturing of vocations. Says Ms. Hendershott: “There was a time when Catholic higher education saw it as their role to nurture priestly vocations. Now, most Catholic colleges and universities seem to do what they can to inhibit them.” However orthodox schools like Franciscan University, Ave Maria, and Christendom College have bountiful vocations. At Franciscan University, the Blessed Junipero Serra Fund provides spiritual and financial support to the 50 or 60 or so young men who are discerning a vocation to the priesthood.

Mr White says that “successful dioceses are led by bishops who are unafraid to be countercultural through their defense of the dignity of all human life, their support of traditional marriage, their efforts to protect and promote religious liberty, their willingness to live faithful and celibate lives.” Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley of Boston was advised to close the seminary when he arrived 10 years ago. “Now,” says Ms. Hendershott, “there are 70 men in Boston studying to be priests, and the seminary has had to turn away candidates for lack of space.”

Both authors are optimistic about the future. Young men and women are being trained to pass on the Faith in its fullness by orthodox colleges, FOCUS, etc. “A Church that continues down this road,” says Mr. West, “will find both its pews and altars full and will be attractive to the world around it!”

For more information, read the entire article in the Catholic World Report or order the book!

 

 

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Get Ready For Your Christmas Novena!

Monday, November 25th, 2013

st andrew November 30  is the Feast Day of St. Andrew the Apostle, younger brother of St. Peter and martyr of the Church. From the Gospels we know that Andrew was a follower of St. John the Baptist and it was he who led his brother Peter to Christ, telling him, “We have found the Messiah!”(John 1:41).

Tradition tells us that St. Andrew evangelized Turkey, the fringes of Russia, Malta, Cyrpus, Greece and other lands. He was crucified in Patras, Achaia (in Greece) on an x-shaped cross and bound not nailed to it so as to suffer more. His relics (including a finger, part of the skull and his cross) were returned to the Greek Orthodox Church in Patras by the Catholic Church in 1964 and 1980. St. Andrew is the patron saint of Russia and Scotland.

saltire

The Saltire (the Scottish flag with the cross of St. Andrew)

Something new to me is that this is also the day to start the traditional novena prayer to St. Andrew, also known as the Christmas Anticipation Novena or the Christmas Novena. Unlike the typical 9-day novena, this one runs through Christmas Eve. I don’t know the origin of the prayer but it appears to be popular and powerful. The faithful are asked to recite it 15 times a day (all at once or throughout the day as you see fit!). It is a beautiful meditation focusing us on the real meaning of Christmas. Here it is:

Hail, and blessed be the hour and moment at which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in the piercing cold. In that hour vouchsafe, O my God, to hear my prayers and grant my desires (mention your request), through the merits of Our Savior Jesus Christ and of His Blessed Mother. Amen.

For those of you who would like to say the prayer with some meditative pictures, check out this YouTube video. The Dominican Nuns in Summit, NJ, also have a little card that you can print out.

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Thank you Faithful Men and Women

Monday, October 21st, 2013
Pope John Paul II on Mount Nebo

Pope John Paul II on Mount Nebo

Here’s a thought for the day, courtesy of Pope Francis — visit an elderly priest or religious!

At his daily Morning Mass (See Zenit for complete story) on October 18, Pope Francis called to mind three Biblical figures who endured the solitude and anguish of their older days.

First, there was Moses, “the courageous leader of the People of God” who led God’s people out of the slavery of Egypt into the Promised Land. But at the end of his life, he stands on Mount Nebo looking towards Jerusalem but he himself will not enter it.

Then, there was St. John the Baptist whose life “finished under the power of a weak, corrupt and drunken ruler who in turn was under the power of an adulteress’ jealousy and the capricious wishes of a dancer.”

Finally, there is Saint Paul who said in his second Letter to Timothy (read at Mass on Friday) (2 Tim 4:10-17)) that everyone had abandoned him yet, says the Holy Father, “the Lord was close to him and gave him the strength to complete his mission of announcing the Gospel.”

Remember the priests and religious whose active ministry might be complete but whose active prayer life and wisdom is a blessing for the world. It is also wonderful to give to the Retirement Fund for Religious appeal to help those who have insufficient funds for their care.

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The Enduring Story of the Story of Soul

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013
escritoire

A drawing of St. Therese by her sister Celine

When the relics of St. Therese of Lisieux came to Chicagoland some years ago, the crowds that descended upon the Carmelite Monastery in Des Plaines were tremendous. Just to be in the presence of some of the earthly remains of this cloistered apostolic missionary inspired a lot of people to leave the comfort of home to venture out into the deep. One hundred plus years after her death, she continues to draw people to Christ.

Now there is another opportunity to venerate unique relics of this Doctor of the Church. On Thursday, September 19th, visitors to Santa Teresita, a nursing home for seniors in Duarte, California, will have the privilege of viewing the writing case of this beloved saint. St. Therese used the writing case (escritoire) to compose her spiritual masterpiece, Story of a Soul, as well as seven of her eight plays, 47 of her 62 poems, 95 of her 266 letters and 16 of her 21 prayers. It is the first time that this precious memento has left France. Also included in the display are a pen and inkwell that she used.

The tour is sponsored by the Pontifical Mission Societies in the United States. The relics will be on display in St. Joseph Chapel at Santa Teresita from 11:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. on the 19th. Additional stops in escriore2September include San Antonio, Saint Louis and Metuchen, NJ. On October 1, St. Therese’s Feast day, the relics will be viewable at the Ven. Fulton J. Sheen World Mission Dinner in New York City. On October 4, they will be at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.  The latter event will be broadcast live, beginning at 10 a.m., on Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN).

Santa Teresita is run by the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles. Their home for the elderly is named not after St. Teresa of Avila, their revered patroness, but St. Therese, the Little Flower. They were founded by Venerable Mother Maria Luisa Josefa of the Most Blessed Sacrament to provide loving service to the people of God in a variety of ministries.

“The soul of each Carmelite raises herself to Christ, who is her heaven, while her shadow falls in charity upon earth doing good to all people.” – Mother Luisita

 

 

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