Archive for the 'Men’s communities' Category

“The Best Evangelizers are the Poor!”

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

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

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

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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I Want to Become a Saint

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

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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Perpetual Adoration and Vocations

Friday, September 5th, 2014
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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Meet the Budding Conventual Franciscans

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014
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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St. Sharbel, Saint for the World

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

sharbelSt. Sharbel (or Charbel) Makhluf was born in 1828 as Youssef Antoun Makhluf. His father died when he was only three, though his mother re-married to a man who later sought Holy Orders. The family’s piety sparked in Youssef a desire to learn about the Saints. He began to spend long hours in daily prayer, and, in 1851, Youssef left home to enter the Lebanese Maronite Order.

The Maronites still use Syriac, a dialect of the Aramaic that Jesus Himself spoke, and take their name from the hermit-priest, Saint Maron, who died in 410 AD.They have never been in schism with Rome.

Youssef’s training began at the Monastery of Our Lady of Mayfouq, though he was later transferred to the Monastery of St. Maron. Here, Youssef received his religious habit and took the name “Sharbel,” which is the name of a second century martyr from Antioch.

 Although he was ordained a priest, he was also called to a hermetic life. Nevertheless, whenever a Superior requested his assistance outside of the hermitage, Sharbel would cheerfully obey. Many sought his counsel and admired his life. Sharbel never raised his eyes except to look up at Heaven in prayer. For this reason, those who saw him never were able to see his face.

 

In December of 1898, at age 70, Sharbel suffered a stroke and was born into eternal life. Even after his death, none beheld his eyes since they were shut. His eyes in death were as they had been in life: hidden.

 

The evening of his death brought severe, snowy weather. Many locals wanted desperately to see Sharbel (many were already calling him “saint”), and to receive one final blessing from him simply by attending his burial journey. The cold and howling wind at his high-elevation hermitage made the villagers understand the suffering Sharbel had endured for Christ. St. Sharbel interceded for his little flock, however, and the weather subsided so that the people were able to make the journey to see their “saint” one last time.

 St. Sharbel is honored as a Saint in the Roman and Eastern Rite Churches. The veneration of St. Sharbel allows the Church to “breathe with both lungs,” as Pope St. John Paul II was known to say. Let us keep all of our monastic communities in our prayers today, and ask St. Sharbel to intercede for us!

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The New Brigittines

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

brigittine vowsToday we celebrate the feast day of St. Bridget of Sweden who founded the Order of the Most Holy Savior in 1346 after her husband, Ulf, died. The holy couple had eight children, among them St. Catherine of Sweden.

The Order of the Most Holy Savior consisted of men and women, and are better known as the Brigittines. This order suffered much, particularly during the persecutions of Henry VIII. The King envied the Brigittines because of their wealth, which they freely gave to the poor. Ultimately, his greed drove him to seize all of the community’s property, including Syon Abbey, the only Brigittine house in England.

Henry VIII also despised the Brigittines because they did not support his marriage to Anne Boleyn. Members of the Brigittines spoke openly against the King, though some sources suggest this was done only in the confessional.

St. Richard Reynolds

St. Richard Reynolds

Among the Catholic religious who were persecuted by Henry VIII, St. Richard Reynolds, the only Brigittine Monk honored with Canonization, particularly angered the King. Because of his loyalty to the Church, St. Richard was martyred on May 4, 1535 by drawing and quartering, a punishment reserved for the most treasonous criminals.

During the funeral procession of Henry’s body from London to Windsor for the burial, the King’s casket rested overnight at Syon, then a country home. According to claims and eye-witness accounts, people noticed a rotten stench coming from the casket. The casket seemed to have expanded and even opened and oozed blood in parts. When men came to reseal the casket, a dog was seen to lick up the king’s blood.

This strange and bizarre occurrence seemed to fulfill a prophecy made by a Franciscan friar years earlier, which foretold of the King’s disgraceful burial if the King continued to behave like Ahab. After King Ahab’s death, wild dogs had licked Ahab’s blood (cf. 1 Kings 22:38).

Due to the severe persecution of the order, the last succeeding Brigittine monk died in 1863. Few Brigittines remain throughout the world, and only one community of monks, founded in 1976, exists today. We would like to extend our warm wishes of a blessed feast day to our affiliate community, the Brigittine Monks in Amity, OR.

St. Bridget of Sweden, pray for us!

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The Only Vocation I Could Be Satisfied With

Monday, June 30th, 2014

fr walkerOn the night of June 11, 2014, Fr. Kenneth Walker, FSSP, age 28, was shot to death in an apparent robbery attempt in his own rectory at Mater Misericordiae Mission in Phoenix, Arizona. The pastor, Fr.  Joseph Terra, FSSP, was severely beaten but thanks be to God, survived the attack.

According to the Vicar General of the Phoenix diocese, Fr. Terra was able to administer the Last Rites to Father Walker. Father Walker’s sister Sasha said that her family is able to smile through their tears because “he had Last Rites, and it gives us so much peace knowing that he was able to have those special graces.”

Who was Father Walker? He was ordained just 2 years ago by His Excellency Bishop Fabian W. Bruskewitz. Parishoners described Father Walker as a “sweet, gentle man,” “a young bright face almost angelic disposition” with “complete faithfulness to the Church.” The two priests at the Mission were often seen sitting on either side of the altar chanting Latin prayers. They prayed outside abortion clinics every week.

Both Fr. Walker and Fr. Terra were “incredibly devout and focused on their mission as priests of the Church.”

Fr. Walker was born in Poughkeepsie, New York, one of 11 children.His family’s life changed when they came across a book entitled, The Incredible Catholic Mass, which introduced them for the first time to the Latin Mass. On his own initiative, Father taught himself Latin and became an altar server at an FSSP apostolate in Scranton, PA. He attended Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Academy in Ontario and then entered the FSSP seminary.

The Superior General of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, Very Rev. John Berg, said:

“In an age where we seem so centered upon ‘clerical stars’ and are constantly searching for the ‘newest approach to evangelization,’ the life of our confrere gave witness to one of the greatest priestly virtues, a quiet and consistent strength, which is a mark of the Good Shepherd who watches vigilantly over His flock in season and out of season.”

We should appropriately end with Father Walker’s own words, written on his FSSP application:

God, in His infinite love, desires all men to be saved and so achieve their true end. Along with the Church, then, I am deeply grieved by these errors concerning the nature and dignity of man accepted by so many people in the world, which deviate them from their supernatural end. In full view of the situation in the world, then, the only vocation that I could be satisfied with, as a work, would be one that would be dedicated to bringing people to salvation in whatever way God wills for me to do so.

Mater Misericordiae, Ora pro nobis

Requiescat in Pace, dear Father.

 

 

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Bl. Paul Giustiniani, Son of Romuald

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

Remembering today the Camaldolese Monks of Monte Corona of Holy Family Hermitage in Bloomingdale, Ohio, on this Feast Day of St. Romuald. The Monte Corona monks were founded as a Camaldolese reform by Bl. Paul Giustiniani in 1520. The Camaldolese themselves were founded by St. Romuald in 1023. Pray for holy vocations for these dedicated men of God.

Bl. Paul and St. Romuald

Bl. Paul and St. Romuald

O God, Who chose St. Romuald to renew the eremitic life in Your Church, 

give us the strength to  deny ourselves in order to follow Christ in the way of the Cross

and to go up with Him into the glory of Your reign.

Through Jesus  Christ Your Son, Who is God and Who live and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, world without end.

Amen.

The above picture can be purchased from the monks in Ohio.

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Only a Passionist Vocation WIll Do

Monday, June 16th, 2014

cp imageFr. Jude Mead, CP, was a noted author, teacher, retreat master and dear friend of the IRL. He suddenly in 1992 just as he was preparing to attend, once again as Dean, the IRL’s summer school for religious. When he celebrated his Golden Anniversary as a priest, he had these beautiful words to share about his vocation:

If I could be sixteen again I would do exactly as I have done all over again and still savour every moment of it. I always wanted to be a priest. Once I met the Passionists, only the Passionist vocation would do. So when I turn up my toes, still rejoicing in all I have received, I hope another young man will step into my battered sandals, able to enjoy, as I have relished, all the moments of these past fifty years. For what little I have given, for the much I have received, for whatever is to come, I thank the One and Only God. Fr. Jude Mead, CP (1919-1992)

The Passionsist were founded by St. Paul of the Cross in Italy in. The mission of the Passionist men and women is to keep alive in the world the love of Jesus Crucified. For more information, please visit one of their websites.

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