Category Archives: News

Five Ways to Discern a Religious Vocation

This practical advice was written by Fr. Paul Sheller, OSB, Conception Abbey Vocation Director. To find out more about discerning religious life at Conception Abbey, visit their Monastic Vocations website or contact Fr. Paul, the Vocation Director.

  • Take time for personal prayer

Prayer is the foundation to discern your vocation and deepening your relationship with Christ. You can listen best when you remove yourself from the things that distract us and compete for our attention (cell phones, the radio, computers, traffic, and other noises) and place yourself in an environment of silence so as to listen to God. The time spent in silence may be difficult, or even uncomfortable at first, but perseverance is key. God speaks to you in the stillness of your heart. Do not be concerned with asking yourself “what should I do, or what should I be thinking,” but desire above all to be in God’s presence and allow God to be the one who acts.

  • Celebrate the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist

The Holy Spirit works powerfully when you approach the Sacrament of Reconciliation with humility and openness. Prepare for the Sacrament by making a good examination of conscience, and do not be afraid or embarrassed to confess your sins to a priest honestly.  This is an opportunity to trust more in God’s mercy than in your own sinfulness. You should get into the practice of going to confession frequently, at least once a month.

Certainly, you should be attending Mass every Sunday and on Holy Days of obligation, but it is very important for you to make an effort to attend Mass during the week when possible. Due to school and work schedules sometimes making it to daily Mass is not feasible. Whether you attend Mass during the week or not, you should take the time to prayerfully read and reflect on the Scripture readings from the day’s Mass. Christ speaks to us powerfully through the words of Sacred Scripture.

  • Find a Spiritual Director

Discerning the action of the Holy Spirit is much easier with the help of a priest or religious who can give sound spiritual guidance. Discerning your own motivations is difficult alone, and God’s action comes to light when you are able to express your intentions aloud to someone experience in the spiritual life. The spiritual director’s primary role is to listen to the movement of grace in your life. The foundation of this relationship must be in trust and honesty. Whenever you place your trust in your spiritual director, it shows humility and a sincere desire to see clearly God’s will in your life.

  • Contact the Vocation Director

Almost all monasteries and religious communities have someone appointed as the Vocation Director. The role of the Vocation Director is to help you further listen to what God is calling you, to answer your questions, and eventually discern whether or not you are being called to the community. Beginning the dialogue is important because it can help alleviate your fears and doubts. It is important to dialogue with the Vocation Director, especially since he or she is a professed religious who lives the joys and challenges of the particular way of life each and every day. Vocation Directors often ask important reflection questions that you may not have considered, which can be tremendously beneficial in your process of discernment. After talking with the Vocation Director, he or she may invite you to visit the community for a personal retreat or as part of a “Come and See” weekend experience.

  • Visit the Religious Community that Attracts You

Only so many questions can be answered on the Internet or addressed on the telephone, and at some point, you must experience firsthand the environment, encounter the community, and try the life (even if it is just for a weekend). Take the leap of faith, and do not be afraid to place your trust wholeheartedly in Christ. Before your visit, do not be weighed down with expectations of how you should feel or what you ought to experience. Simply be open and receptive to the Holy Spirit. It does not help to visit a community with an attitude that is closed off and says, “I’m just going so I can check this off of my list.” God’s grace is at work when you follow the Lord joyfully and cultivate praise and gratitude in your life.

Remember that there is no commitment or obligation when you initially explore religious life. It is a process of understanding how God is speaking to your heart. To explore your vocation is an exciting journey of faith!

 

In Sinu Jesu – When Heart Speaks to Heart

A new book has been issued by Angelico Press entitled: In Sinu Jesu: When Heart Speaks to Heart, The Journal of a Priest at Prayer.

Endorsed by Raymond Cardinal Burke, it chronicles the words that Our Lord and Our Lady revealed to the heart of a priest, a Benedictine monk, beginning in 2007.

In the introduction, it states that this priest was in great need of their intervention. Since he talks about a diagnosis of a serious illness, this may be part of his struggle but he also mentions that thirty years ago, when he received a call from the Lord to be “entirely Thy priest, as was Saint John…standing at the foot of the Cross,” it was a call “to which I did not know how to respond, or to which I found myself unable to respond fully.”

It is through Eucharistic Adoration that this priest has experienced  healing and strengthening. Not only did he experience a profound closeness to Jesus but he was also drawn into an intimate sharing in the life of Mary as another Saint John, at the foot of the Cross, interceding for God’s people, especially His beloved priests.

This remarkable book documents many aspects of the spiritual life: loving and being loved by God, the mystery of the Mass, Eucharistic Adoration and its power, trustful surrender, the homage of silence, priestly identity and apostolic fruitfulness.

With an imprimatur, this book has already had a profound impact on those who have read it.  At 300+ pages, it is fruitful meditative reading for a long winter retreat!

 

Father Hardon Memorial Mass

The annual Father Hardon Memorial Mass will once again take place on Friday, December 30, 2016, at 7:00 PM at Assumption Grotto Church in Detroit, Michigan.

It will be a Tridentine Mass commemorating the 16th anniversary of the death of the Servant of God, Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J., founder of the IRL.

If you would like additional information, please contact the Martian Catechists at (608)-782-0011.

Fr. Engelmar Unzeitig: Model for the Re-Evangelization of the Western World

Icon written by Lewis Williams, OFS
Icon written by Lewis Williams, OFS

Bl. Engelmar Unzeitig, a Mariannhill Missionary priest, was beatified in Germany on September 24, 2016. Known as the “Angel of Dachau,” Father Engelmar died of typhoid fever, contracted while caring for the sick in the infamous Nazi concentration camp.

In the beatification homily, the bishop of Wurzburg, Germany, said that Father Engelmar loyally embodied the Mariannhill motto: If no one will go, I will.” He volunteered to care for those with typhoid fever in the concentration camp, thereby sentencing himself to death. He learned Russian so he could teach the young Russian prisoners, sharing his food with them even though he himself had meager rations.

Three exemplary qualities of Father Engelmar emerge that are pertinent for us today, said the bishop:

The Mariannhill family of priests, brothers, students and CMM associates celebrate in Zambia.
The Mariannhill family of priests, brothers, students and CMM associates celebrate in Zambia.
  • However desperate our own situation may be, we still can give witness to the reality of Heaven.
  • As Father Engelmar kept his promise of readiness, made at ordination, how serious are we about the Gospel message even when we have to suffer because of it?
  • Father joined the Mariannhill Missionaries to be a missionary in a far-off land. When circumstances changed, he realized that even “in this Godforsaken camp, where evil rules and we could easily believe that in our suffering that we are deserted by God and the world,” he could still live his missionary vocation.

With the re-evangelization of Western Civilization as the challenge before us, let us keep Fr. Engelmar as our inspiration and intercessor so that we too may “live our faith authentically, humbly and thereby effectively.”

Apostleship of Prayer November Prayer Intentions

refug1Countries Receiving Refugees

That the countries which take in a great number of displaced persons and refugees may find support for their efforts which show solidarity.

 

refug2Collaboration of Priests and Laity

That within parishes, priests and lay people may collaborate in service to the community without giving in to the temptation of discouragement.

For more information, visit the Apostleship of Prayer’s website.

 

 

 

Jesuits Elect First Non-European Superior General

sj-sant-spirituOn October 14, 2016, the Society of Jesus elected their first Latin American Superior General, Fr. Arturo Sosa Abascal of Venezuela, at the Jesuit’s 36th General Congregation held in Rome. He is also the first non-European to be elected. As the 31st Superior General, he will be leading the largest religious order of priests and brothers in the Church, succeeding Fr. Adolfo Nicolas, SJ., who had served since 2008. There are 16,740 Jesuits worldwide, including approximately 12,000 priests; 1,300 brothers; 2,700 scholastics; and 753 novices. The country with the largest number of Jesuits is India, with over 3000!

fr-sosaFr. Arturo was born in Caracus, Venezuela, in 1948, entering the Jesuits in 1966. He speaks several languages and knows Pope Francis, having met him in 1983 during a previous General Congregation and at other times. The Holy Father was the first person notified after the election.

When asked what initially attracted him to the Jesuits, Father Arturo responded: “Everything….They are an apostolic power in many areas.” The areas of priority for him in the mission fields are poverty, helping migrants and refugees, and inter-religious dialogue. The Jesuits profess four vows: poverty, chastity, obedience, and “obedience specifically in regard to worldwide mission,” or as it said in the previous decrees of the 35th General Congregation: “Total availability to serve the Church wherever the Pope sends us.”

The day of the election began at the beautiful church of Santo Spiritu in Sassia in Rome where in his homily Fr. James Grummer, SJ, Vicar General, said: “Our mission this morning is to elect a General. We will be locked into an upper room, not for fear but for concentrated listening to the Spirit’s whisper. We are not afraid because we believe so strongly that the Spirit guides the balloting that according to Formula 84 ‘The man elected cannot refuse the election.’”

May the Holy Spirit guide grace Fr. Arturo Sosa with the wisdom to guide the Society of Jesus with clarity of vision, compassionate service and dedication to the mission.

Do you want to learn more about vocations to the Society of Jesus? Visit www.JesuitVocations.org for more information.

 

Passionist Nuns Celebrate St. Paul of the Cross Feast Day

St. Paul of the Cross founded the Congregation of the Passion in 1720. While walking home after attending Mass, he saw himself “clothed in long black garment with a white cross on my breast, and below the cross the Holy Name of Jesus was written in white letters. At that instant, I heard these words spoken to me: ‘This signifies how pure and spotless that heart should be which must bear the Holy Name of Jesus graven upon it.’ On seeing and hearing this, I began to weep.”

His desire was to gather around him companions who saw the Passion of Jesus as God’s love-message to them and the world. Along with the men’s community, the contemplative community of women, the “Doves of Calvary,” were to stand at the foot of the Cross with our Sorrowful Mother and, with her, keep alive the memory of the self-sacrificing love of Jesus Crucified.

Three Passionists communities, Affiliates of the IRL, faithfully keep this remembrance of the Lord’s Passion before them always. In a special way, today! the feast day of St. Paul of the Cross.

They are:

  • The Passionists nuns of Erlanger, Kentucky. They make altar breads for the faithful on-site.  Watch this YouTube video to see how their prayerful dedication to this holy ministry brings the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ to the faithful!

 

  • The Passionist nuns of Whitesville, Kentucky.   Their guest house, monastery and chapel are located on a peaceful 170-acre site of beautiful woodlands. Through their hidden life of prayer, penance, work, and joy they seek to be little co-redeemers with the great Co-Redemptrix.  Please keep Ruth and Olivia (their two new aspirants) in your prayers as they  discern if it is truly God’s plan for them to be future Passionist Nuns.

passionistaspirants2016blog

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • The Passionist Nuns of Ellisville, Missouri.  Please pray for Meg, their newest postulant, who plans to enter the Passionists on November 11th. “We are dedicated to the greatest act of love on earth—the Passion and Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ!”

May the Passion of Christ be ever in our hearts!

Sisters of the Holy Family Celebrate 175th Jubilee

thThe sisters of the Holy Family will opening the celebration of their 175th Jubilee with a Mass on November 19, 2016, honoring the their foundress Ven. Henriette Delille.

The mass will be at their Motherhouse on Chef Menteur Boulevard in New Orleans, LA. The celebrant will be Archbishop Gregory Aymond.

For more information, visit the sisters’ website.

 

Institute of Catholic Culture Welcomed as New IRL Affiliate!

icc

The institute of Catholic Culture, through its’ apostolate the Magdala Institute, has for several years now been providing top-quality, free formation classes for sisters and nuns. We were pleased at the IRL’s September Board Meeting to approve them as a new IRL Affiliate.

The ICC was founded in 2006 by Rev. Franklyn McAfee, S.T.D., and Rev. Hezekias Carnazzo, M.A., as an educational outreach project within the Office of Evangelization at St. John the Beloved Catholic Church in McLean, Virginia, in response to the Church’s call for a new evangelization.

From the beginning, the ICC has offered weekly seminars in Catholic history, philosophy and theology, with a strong emphasis on the study of Sacred Scripture. Soon, it was bursting at the seams, as attendees from all over the Northern Virginia / Washington D.C. metropolitan area began to visit, knowing they could receive quality, orthodox education with the Institute’s programs.

Today, the ICC averages over 200 eager participants at its regular education programs and offers Catholic adult faith formation opportunities in local parishes. In addition, it has expanded beyond its initial geographical region by offering live and on-demand video streaming of its programs, CD production of past seminars, and over 600 hours of catechetical programs in its free, on-line media library.

magdalaOf interest to IRL communities is their Magdala Apostolate, dedicated to providing sound doctrinal formation—both initial and ongoing—for women religious and novices, in accord with the Church’s call for a new evangelization. Each term, they offer semester-long courses in the faith to any religious sister or community who applies. All that is needed to participate is a:

  1. A computer
  2. An internet connection with a download speed of about 4.00 Mbps and an upload speed of about 1.0 Mbps.
  3. A webcam

They have also begun building an online resources library, so that those who visit their web site can access not only the archived and live programs, but also the written resources discussed and referenced.

Topics covered include:

  • Scripture
  • Theology
  • Church History
  • Philosophy
  • Catechetics
  • Spirituality
  • Continuing formation classes like Greek, Biblical Apologetics, Ante-Nicaean Fathers

fr-hezFather Carnazzo has been to many IRL National Meetings, both as a speaker and participant. Ordained to the priesthood on May 1, 2016, he also serves as the Director of the Office of Catechesis and Evangelization for the Melkite Greek Catholic Eparchy of Newton. We highly recommend his courses. Feel free to call the ICC for more information at 540-635-7155.