“Homily Gems” from Monsignor Turro

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

turroIn 2014, the Institute on Religious Life will confer its’ Pro Fidelitate et Virtute Award on Monsignor James Turro, professor extraordinaire and well-known to Magnificat readers for his former column “Your Word is a Lamp.” The IRL bestows this award on those individuals who display great fidelity to the Faith and deep love for religious life.

Father has been a long-time supporter of the IRL as a retreat master to our communities and priests and as a teacher at our Vita Consecrata Institute. Past award recipients have included Blessed Mother Teresa; Mother Angelica, PCPA; Fr. Benedict Groeschel and Servant of God, Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J. Monsignor joins very illustrious company!

Msgr. Turro is known for the brevity, conciseness and depth of his homilies. The website: http://urolm.org/turro/about.htm contains a collection of some of his perceptive reflections on the Faith.

Here are some samples:

“The very hairs on your heads are all counted!” (Luke 12:7) An unusual way of saying a most soothing truth….For even you do not have so passionate an interest in yourself as to have taken a count of the hairs on your head.

A man sits in an airline terminal for hours feasting his eyes on those with destinations. What a satisfaction to have a destination in life! What a horror to drift aimlessly through life! Have you ever stopped to think that Christ has delivered us from such a pitiable condition as that – the condition of not being able to move effectively toward a clear-cut goal? Christ said: “I am the way” and “I am the light.”

“I have this complaint to make; you have less love now than you used to” (Rev 2:4). That first fervor is pitiably fragile we probably realize from our own experience but we may not have realized that we bear a responsibility for keeping it alive, as these words disconcertingly imply.

A forgotten truth: Mary is an opportunity for encountering Christ.

Our trials can be our greatest assets. Our privileges can turn out to be our worst enemies.

Do something beautiful for God: let someone feel the rich warmth of your love. You will be revealing something of God thereby.

Come see Monsignor in person! Join us at the 2014 National Meeting! For more information, visit our website or call (847)573-8975.




Prayer of Entrustment to St. Joseph

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

st joseph

Prayer of Entrustment to St Joseph
by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.

Dearest St. Joseph,

I consecrate myself to your service. I give myself to you, that you may always be my father, my protector, and my guide in the way of salvation. Obtain for me a great purity of heart, a fervent love of the interior life, and the spirit of prayer.

After your example may I do all my actions for the greater glory of God, in union with the Divine Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. And you, blessed St. Joseph, pray for me, that I may share in the peace and joy of your holy death.



Sr. Agnes Marie (far right)

Sr. Agnes Marie (far right)

They may be little known in the United States, but there is a wonderful community of Poor Clare nuns in Mission, British Columbia, Canada. As the sisters closed the Octave of Christmas and began the New Year of 2014, they celebrated the first profession of Sr. Agnes Marie, OSC. As you can see by the picture, she looks to be about the happiest Poor Clare in the world!

Sr. Agnes Marie professed the vows of poverty, chastity, obedience, and enclosure. For the next three years, she will journey with “light step, swift pace and unswerving feet on the path of prudent happiness” (St. Agnes of Bohemia who founded the first Poor Clare community north of the Alps). “A continual, silent self-emptying for the sake of bringing souls closer to God: these were the desires of my heart,” Sr. Agnes Marie said. “Though it is a life of sacrifice, the joys and graces I receive from the Lord far outweigh the costs.”

The abbess, Sr. Marie-Celine, was once a Grey Nun and by joining the Poor Clares in far western Canada, left behind all that was familiar to her including her French Canadian heritage. The sisters have bears on their property and wear “bear-bells” to scare them off. One day, Sr. Christine and Sr. Marie Therese were checking on some newly planted trees when one of them heard a rustling sound, looked over a steep bank and saw a bear. Sister cried, “A bear! Run!” They took off and the bear did too — in the opposite direction!

The sisters are very happy that Pope Francis is showing the same love for the Poor Clares as did his predecessors. Last August, Pope Francis visited the Poor Clares in Albano Italy, alone and without anyone present. In October, he visited the Poor Clares in Assisi and let the Cardinals come in with him saying, “I did not have the courage to send them away.”

The Poor Clare Order was established in British Columbia in 1911. These Poor Clares settled in Mission in 1962.The high point of their day is the Holy Eucharist, and they give the Lord praise seven times a day through the Liturgy of the Hours, including the midnight Office of Readings.

The Poor Clare is one who weaves the flowers of each day into a crown for her King…one petal at a time. She is poor, chaste, and obedient. She is one who is alone on the mountain with Christ, enclosed in His Heart and lifting the entire world in prayer to her heavenly Father.

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sample efOn March 1, 2014, Archbishop Alexander Sample of the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon celebrated a Pontifical High Mass in the Extraordinary Form at the Brigittine Monastery of “Our Lady of Consolation” in Amity, Oregon. Archbishop Sample is an IRL Advisory Board member and the Brigittines are an IRL Affiliate community.

The Mass was the culmination of a three-day conference on Gregorian Chant and the role of sacred music in the liturgy sponsored by the Brigittine monks and Schola Cantus Angelorum. The conference drew priests, deacons, musicians, and others interested in learning about rich tradition of the Sung Gregorian Mass.

Pope Benedict XVI wrote: “In the history of the liturgy there is growth and progress, but no rupture. What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful. It behooves all of us to preserve the riches which have developed in the Church’s faith and prayer, and to give them their proper place.”

Click here to listen to the Archbishop’s homily. Some high points for me were his comments on why the the Extraordinary Form of the Mass is important. First, it extends pastoral care to those Catholics who remain attached to this beautiful liturgy. Second, we must remain in close communion to our past. We need a “reform of the reform,” that is reconnected to the Church’s rich tradition. Third, Gregorian chant is not meant to be listened to in the car; it’s proper place is in the Sacred Liturgy, it should be given a pride of place in the Sacred Liturgy.

Especially touching, was Archbishop Sample’s own testimony:

“When Summorum Pontificum came out, and the Holy Father said this is one of the forms of the Latin Rite, the Extraordinary Form, I said ‘I’m a bishop of the Church, I must know this rite!’  And I encourage my priests and my seminarians to learn and to know this rite.  Even if you never have a chance to celebrate it, knowing it, experiencing it – I guarantee you – it will affect the way you celebrate the Ordinary Form. It will do so.”






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Welcoming Mass 2012

Welcoming Mass 2012

The Discalced Carmelites of the Oakland diocese have a new home! After coming to the diocese in 2012, the Carmelites of the Carmel of Jesus, Mary and Joseph have been living in temporary quarters at St. Monica’s Parish in Canyon, CA. Now, thanks to a generous benefactor, the twelve Carmelites will have a permanent home (see complete story).

This is not just any home! It is a Spanish-style, 60-room mansion that was built in 1925. From the west side of the home, there are panoramic views of San Francisco Bay and Golden Gate Bridge. In the late 1940′s, it became the home of the Carmelite community of Berkeley who sadly had to disband because of low numbers. Of the four remaining nuns, two went into a nursing facility and two others moved in with another Carmelite community. The house was for sale and was sought after for a variety of uses. Happily, it will remain a place of prayer.

As I have mentioned before, this monastery is a foundation from the Carmel in Valpraiso, Nebraska. The Nebraska Carmel was founded in 2001 and this will be their 2nd foundation, the other being Elysburg, Pennsylvania (2009). The Tridentine masses are typically celebrated at the Carmel and the Liturgy of the Hours is also in Latin. I also read that they use the Rite of the Holy Sepulchre or “Carmelite” Rite, the first Discalced Carmel to do so since 1588.

St. Teresa of Avila, foundress of the Discalced Carmelites, pray for them.



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Benedictines Brew

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

osb beerIt seems that the Benedictine monks in Norcia, Italy, aren’t the only ones to rediscover the ancient Benedictine practice of brewing beer. The Benedictines at Mount Angel Abbey in Oregon will be introducing their own beer this summer with the slogan- Taste and Believe.”

Located in western Oregon in the beautiful Willamette Valley, Mount Angel Abbey was founded in 1882 from the 12th C. Swiss Abbey of Engelberg. The community keeps alive the ancient tradition of the choral office, the love of learning and Christian hospitality. Following the Rule of St. Benedict of Nursia, the monks follow the traditional monastic observances, including those of enclosure, silence and the monastic habit. There are 53 priests and brothers living at the monastery.

taste beleiveThe idea to brew beer came about because the recession caused a drop in revenue from their sustainable tree farm. With available farmland where hops are grown and pristine abbey well water, the beer enterprise seems to be a natural way to provide the community with a new revenue source.

Benedictines have always welcomed strangers and the beer, which will only be sold at the abbey, will be an opportunity to introduce beer afficionados to abbey life. Most no doubt will be seeing their first ever Benedictine in the flesh!

Fr. Martin Grassel, OSB,  said, “Our society is badly in need of Christ. This started as a revenue project, but it has become equally important as an evangelization project.”



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Love of Jesus Crucified

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

lamb bloodFr. John Hardon, SJ, says that the spirit of Lent is the spirit of Jesus Crucified. Therefore, whatever spiritual practices enable us to better understand Christ’s Passion and Death, and deepen our responsive love for His great love should be encouraged.

Father offers the following suggestions:

  1. Meditate on the Gospel Passion narratives
  2. Read Goodier’s Passion and Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Edward Leen’s Why the Cross?, Fulton Sheen’s Seven Words on the Cross
  3. Recite Soul of Christ Sanctify Me
  4. Make the daily Way of the Cross and encourage others to do the same
  5. Having a crucifix within sight as a reminder of the Passion
  6. Say a few times a day: “Heart of Jesus, obedient unto death, have mercy on us”
  7. Occasionally recite the Litany of the Precious Blood
  8. Spend extra time before the Blessed Sacrament

O most Precious Blood of Jesus Christ,
Cleanse the sins of the world.



fr hardonFr. John A. Hardon, SJ, suggests seven practices of penance and reparation for Lent. Penance, he says, is the repentance we must make to remove the guilt, or reinstate ourselves in God’s friendship. Reparation is the pain that we must endure to make up for the harm we brought about by our self-indulgence when we sinned.

I clearly remember Mother Angelica, PCPA, talking about this subject. Let’s say you broke your neighbor’s window with a baseball. You apologize sincerely (penitence) and the neighbor forgives you but the neighbor still has a broken window. You must repair (reparation) the damage by sacrificing hard-earned money or time to fix it.

Here are the 3 practices of penance:

Pray: more, more often, more attentively, more fervently, with others, try the rosary

Share: your time, knowledge, skill, money, Catholic faith

Forgive: by forgetting, ignoring, “forgive us as we forgive those who trespass against us”

Here are the 4 practices of reparation:

Work: We do what we like, then what is useful, then what is necessary. Reverse the order!

Endure: accept, suffer without pitying, no bitterness

Deprive: a luxury, a delicacy, a comfort, a trinket, expiate self-indulgence

Sacrifice: do more, give up more, surrender more to show God we love Him

God in His mercy sends us the Cross in order to try our patience that we might save out souls and the souls of many others besides.Father Hardon

To read his entire meditation, visit the Real Presence Association website



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lspThe Little Sisters of the Poor have announced a new live-in service program for single college-age women. Called “Spring Into Service,” it is a chance to experience service to the elderly poor, prayer and community life in a faith-filled community of women religious.

You can stay as short as a week (eg. spring break) or commit to at least six weeks (eg. summer) with possible pay. No nursing experience is required.

The Little Sisters have 27 homes across the United States in places such as San Francisco, Gallup, Baltimore, Chicago, Washington DC, Denver, Mobile, St. Paul and others.   There is also a possibility of overseas placements.

Having been a volunteer for several years in the home in Chicago, I know first-hand what a wonderful experience this is. First of all, the residents are so happy to have cheerful, young people to talk to. Many of these poor elderly have no family; no one who comes on Easter or Christmas or even family that sends a note of encouragement. Secondly, the Little Sisters are so hospitable and the spiritual blessings that fell on me are too numerous to mention. No matter what your vocation in life may be, this opportunity will leave an imprint that will last a lifetime.

For more information, download their flyer .


Out of the Desert, Into the Promised Land

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

reg mtg kc moFor those of you in the Kansas City who want to attend a dynamite Regional Meeting, please plan to attend the session to be held on March 15, 2014, in Independence, MO, at the Franciscan Prayer Center. If you are from out of the area, you can contact the Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Eucharist for overnight accommodations. Having personally stayed there myself, I can attest to the comfort and beauty of surroundings and warm hospitality.

The speakers include: Fr. Thomas Nelson, O.Praem. who will speak on “Spiritual Warfare, Engaging in the Battle for Souls;” Dr. John-Mark Miravalle whose talk will be: “Our Lady’s Labor Pains: Mary at the Foot of the Cross”; and Ms. Cheri Bowe, a consecrated virgin, who will speak on the “The Tree of Life: Our Call to Holiness Rooted in Baptism.”

Most Rev. Robert Finn will be the main celebrant and homilist for the 11:30 am Mass.

Registration for the entire day is $15.00 if you are registered by 3/12/14. This cost includes lunch. It will be $20.00 on the day of the conference (lunch is not included). It pays to register in advance!

The over-riding theme for the day is gratitude for the 40th celebration of our founding in 1974.

Please join us!