Sunday, January 06, 2008


In Italy today is the day of "Befana" a bent old lady who brings gifts to good children and chunks of coal to those who were not so good. It is a day for gift giving in many countries. Epiphany means a manifestation -- a showing, a sort of revelation. In the liturgy of the Epiphany Jesus is coming among all of us, since the Wise Men came not from Israel but from other nations. In the past, this was a day of sending forth missionaries to manifest the Good News of Jesus to all the world.
The Wise Men or Magi brought Jesus gifts of gold for a king; frankincense to worship the king; and myrrh to embalm the king who would die for all of us. Myrrh is also a sign of sacrifice. The Little King whom the Magi adored would become the Lamb of God sacrificed for all. One of the hymns used at the close of the Mass we attended today had the word manifestation in every verse at least once. If someone had missed the homily or the gospel, that song would have jogged their memory!
As our Founder, Blessed James Alberione said, It was left to our generation to be able to truly proclaim the gospel "From the housetops", from broadcasts,to film, to iPods, and the Internet. Using the media for God is a contemporary daily Epiphany.
Of course, each of us is called to be -- in our own way -- an "Epiphany" of Christ to those around us.
Has anyone ever barged into your world with a big smile, perhaps with a small gift, and a few good words? For me, that kind of person is a real Epiphany of the presence of Christ among us. Or, maybe someone has confided to you that they are going to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, they are going to read a special good other words, they are working on a deeper relationship with God. I ma privileged to know people like this, and they are for me real manifestations,little epiphanies on overcast winter days. May your week be filled with many such epiphanies.
I ask you all to pray for the people in Kenya, that a lasting and just peace will come about in that country. Pray for our Sisters who are there--many are novices from all over Africa. Pray too for the situation in Pakistan. We have a numerous group of mostly young Daughters of St. Paul in the major cities there, who may be at risk.
Thanks to all of you who read this blog. You can also reach me at

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year!

The New Year came in last night rather softly here. I was in our chapel where we were free to spend time closing the old year and beginning the New year with Jesus present in the Blessed Sacrament. Close to midnight I could here some fireworks and other noise in the distance, yet it was good to begin this year in the company of the One who came to bring us real happiness. To help me focus on the needs of friends and family, I actually began to write names in my notebook: family members, Sisters, Cooperators, priests whom I know, and many more. In fact, there were more names than I could count. I remembered especially a young man who suffers from mental illness. About a month ago, his mother had purchased my book "Tender Mercies, Prayers for Healing and Coping." At that time, the young man was hospitalized. It appears he did read some of the book and was helped by it. His form of illness and depression makes him think that he is not loved by God. That's a heavy burden to carry around. I assured him that he is certainly loved by God. In fact, God "loved him into existence" and his love sustains him each moment. I ask all of you who read this blog to pray for this young man, and for his mother. She is a strong woman who is coping as best she can with her son's illness. There is a prayer/support group for those who suffer from mental illness, and for their family members and friends: the Guild of St. Benedict Labre'. There is no such Catholic group yet here in Toronto that I am aware of. The Guild helps many people in this situation.
As we begin this New Year, we begin in hope as Pope Benedict tells us. Hope runs deeper than mere optimism. It sees the realities of the political unrest is so many nations, the violence and wars going on. yet, hope is planted or rooted in God, not in science or any material source.
I thank God for granting me and you the grace to begin a New Year. Later this year, we will begin a year-long celebration in honor of St. Paul. That "year" will begin on June 29. Until then we can, as St. Paul tells us, "live in love, and let the Word of Christ dwell in us."