Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Fifty-Four Days Till Ordination and Counting

Yesterday, my classmates and I received an e-mail from the director of the diaconate formation program.  He informed us that, after a review of all the evaluation interviews, we were all being recommended to the Cardinal Archbishop for ordination.

There is just enough time to say "whew," and now comes the logistics of planning the ordination.  Many of my classmates have taken on the initial burden, now comes each of us deciding who to invite, where to seat people, who comes to the reception.  There will be more practicums; statements of faith, and fidelity to sign.  And of course, the regular events of life, all claiming our attention.

As difficult as it may be, I really have to make time to be alone with the Lord; to reflect on what is coming.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Godmother Of Punk Inspired By St. Francis of Assisi

Additional proof of the universal appeal of St. Francis of Assisi, there was a story posted on the Reuters News Service website about the influence the saint had on the latest album produced by Patti Smith.  Called "the Godmother of Punk," Ms. Smith was reported to have been inspired by St. Francis in her recent songwriting.  Reuters reports that she spent some time in front of the tomb of the Saint, while visiting the basilica in Assisi.  Here is the full story.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Church Official Going to Prison Over Child Abuse Cover Up!

I heard over the radio that Monsignor Lynn is to go to jail; for his part in covering up the sexual abuse of children by some priests of Philadelphia, PA. There must be some bishops, and other clerics who are looking over their shoulders right now!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Two Months and Counting Till Ordination Day

I am writing this on July 22, the year of Our Lord, 2012.  In two months, God willing, I and nine other gentlemen will be in the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, being ordained as Permanent Deacons for the Roman Catholic Church in Boston, Massachusetts. 

This will be the culmination of many years of formation, academic classes, days of recollection, and retreats.  And the end of the process suddenly seems so close.  We recently gathered, as a class, in a local parish church to practice the deacon’s role in the celebration of the Eucharist.  Last week, my wife and I met with the administrator of a parish I may be assigned to.  And yesterday, I picked up the alb that I will wear on my ordination day.  We are all waiting to schedule our final fittings for our dalmatics.

There is still a lot of preparation work to do.  There are invitation cards to prepare and mail; seating plans to approve, and receptions to plan.  But at the same time, there is the waiting for the results of our final evaluation interviews, and the marks from our last academic semester still have to be reported.  So nothing is written in stone.

I feel these next couple of months should be for me a time of preparation, with more intensive prayer, and more study and reflection on the call of the diaconate. I hope it will be a fruitful time.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Tragedy in the Centennial State

In the first floor chapel of St. Anthony Shrine, Boston, Massachusetts, there is a statue known as the "Weeping Jesus."  It was inspired by the gospel story of Jesus bringing Lazarus back from the dead.  Before that miracle occured, the evangelist writes the Jesus wept when He came to the tomb of his friend.

He must be weeping now, after the tragedy that happened in that Colorado movie theater; weeping for the dead and the wounded; weeping for families forever shattered. 

We pray that Our Lord will draw all those souls into His arms, give them peace.  We pray that He will touch and heal the wounded.  And we pray He will be with the families, comfort them in their grief, and give them hope.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Feast of Saint Benedict

“Listen, carefully, my son, to the master’s instructions, and attend to them with the ear of your heart.  This is the advice from a father who loves you; welcome it, and faithfully put it into practice.  (Prologue, Rule of Saint Benedict, verse 1)

So begins one of the most famous monastic rule of life in Western Christianity.  It is also the only document we have written by Saint Benedict.  What we know about this saint comes from memories of his followers and legend.  While the figure of Benedict is somewhat hidden in the mists of time; there is no denying the effect his spiritual sons and daughters has had on the world.  It was the monasteries who preserved the wisdom of Europe during the chaos of the Dark Ages.  It was Benedictine monks who were the first missionaries to pagan lands.

In our present day, although their numbers have shrunk in Europe and America, they still inspire countless lay men and women by the example of their lives.  They guide individuals through the ways of prayer, helping them encounter the loving presence of God.  Many lay persons have become oblates of St. Benedict, living the Benedictine qualities of prayer, hospitality, and community in their daily lives.

Benedict and his Rule was, and is, a great gift of God to His people.  We should all give thanks for this gift.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Finding A Hidden Franciscan Gem

"The local fraternity is to be established canonically.  It becomes the basic unit of the whole Order and a visible sign of the Church, the community of love.  This should be the privileged place for developing a sense of Church and the Franciscan vocation and for  enlivening  the apostolic life of its members."  (Art. 22, SFO Rule)

Every five years, Secular Franciscans in the United States gather for a National Congress.  It is an opportunity to come together, to reflect on the life of the Order, to seek inspiration, and to reaffirm fraternal bonds.  This year's Quinquennial was held in Chicago.  While web surfing, I discovered that the National Fraternity has set up a weblog about the Congress.  Besides news postings on the progress of the Congress, there are also photos of the activities that took place.  I found the site very enjoyable to go through.

When I entered the Permanent Diaconate program, one of the requirements was to go to formation days that were held on the second Saturday of each month.  As luck would have it, it is also the day that my fraternity has it's monthly meeting.  So I have been away fro the fraternity for quite some time.  And a Secular Franciscan needs his/her fraternity, like a fish needs water.  In fraternity, we reinforce our identity as Franciscans, in fraternity; we share each others struggles in living the Gospel.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A Prayer for the 4th of July - Independence Day

God, source of all freedom,
this day is bright with the memory
of those who declared that life and liberty
are your gift to every being.

Help us to continue a good work begun long ago.  Make our vision clear and our will strong;
that only in human solidarity will we find liberty, and justice only in the honor that belongs to every life on earth.

Turn our hearts toward the family of nations;
to understand the ways of others,
to offer friendship,
and to find safety only in the common good to all.

-Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers

Monday, July 2, 2012

Reunification On Hold; for Now!

The signals that came from a recent homily by the leader of the Society of Saint Pius X, indicate that the process of reunification of the Society with the Roman Catholic Church, is on hold, again.  While specifics of what was in the documents the SSPX were being asked to sign remain secret, one can assume that the stumbling block remains the teachings that came out of the Second Vatican Council.  The Vatican Insider has reported on the story.

The Vatican Insider has also reported that Pope Benedict XVI has not given up on returning the SSPX to the flock.  He has appointed Archbishop Joseph DiNoia, to continue pursuing the work of bringing about reunification.

For A Better Catholic Blog, Follow These 10 Commandments

Deacon Greg Kandra has come up with 10 Commandments all Catholic bloggers should follow for a more compassionate and civil blogosphere..

Here is the link.