Tuesday, May 27, 2014


This morning we had a visiting priest offer Mass in our Boston chapel. Father recounted an incident which was a turning point in his priestly life. It involved a 94 year old widow whom he visited each week. Since the lady usually detained the priest for a long time, Father never looked forward to his weekly sick call to her tiny apartment. One day when she asked him just to look up, he paused and then decided "Why not?" It was a moment that changed his attitude forever. He realized that he was loved by God and the blessed Virgin Mary, and that the lady did appreciate his visits. In her long life she had suffered the loss of her husband and two sons. All three were policemen who had died in the line of duty. That tiny moment of giving in the the woman's request changed the priest's heart. There are times in life when one has to make a decision--even in what seems to be small things--which steers us toward God and our neighbor or points us toward ourselves and our comfort. In today's gospel (John 16:5--11) Jesus said he was going away, but he would send the Holy Spirit the Advocate. The closing days of May and the beginning of June bring many events that mark life passages: ordinations to the priesthood and diaconate, graduations and weddings. May the Holy Spirit guide all the newly ordained, the graduates, and the newly wedded to see that Jesus is at the heart of everything that happens in our lives! Have a beautiful and blessed May Day!

Monday, May 26, 2014

After a Retreat

I am back to the Blog World. I was away on an 8 day retreat followed by days of updating. We in our congregation call those days Encounters. Since Sisters from our various convents throughout the USA and English speaking Canada join together, we really do encounter one another.
Our retreat was lead by an Australian priest of our Society of St. Paul. Three other SSP priests were retreatants, and two SSP brothers also attended the retreat. We were more than 40 participants. We Daughters of St. Paul were about 30 Sisters, and 10 or so Sisters of the Sister Disciples of the Divine Master joined us. It was also a "catholic" meeting, since the wide world was represented: We had a Korean priest and a Korean Sister, plus a Korean Sister from another community; two Filipino priests and a few Filipino Sisters; two Sisters from Western Samoa; a Sister from Brazil; another from Italy; and at least 4 Sisters from Mexico, and one from Venezuela. That's a rather long list, but we all felt as brothers and sisters of the same family.
The retreat focused on the life cycle of Jesus as told in Matthew's gospel; the life cycle of Blessed James Alberione's life; and our lives. The later segments of our life should reflect ongoing generativity. This includes taking care of the generation before us, as well as nurturing those younger than us. Father Mick Goonan led us very well, and supplied us with handouts, which always included an art piece reflecing each gospel segment. Since it is a late hour and I want to write clearly I will sign off for now and include some of the photos I took of the retreat house and the neighborhood.
The sun had just began to burn off the morning mist on Dudley Road. Have a blessed rest of the week! Please pray for the soul of a cousin who died of cancer last Saturday: Patrica Aurelio Kinnard. May she rest in peace Amen.Goodnight and God bless you! And, enjoy a blessed day wherever you are!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

An Awareness of American History

As you know I was assigned to our Philadelphia convent for a few years. During my last year there, I had the privilege of being present when Archbishop Charles Chaput was installed as Archbishop of Philadelphia. We can call Philadelphia the Cradle of American Liberty, since it was there that the Declaration of Independence was signed in July of 1776. On this Good shepherd Sunday, when we celebrate vocations and we pray for the shepherds of our Church, that we read from one of the nation's Shepherds who clearly states the role of religion in our American Society. The article is in the May issue of the magazine "First Things." Archbishop Chaput quotes Benjamin Franklin, ardent patriot as well as a wise man. Enjoy this article and remember to use it when you can. Otherwise we Catholic Christians may feel intimidated by outspoken critics of religion in our Western society. As St. Paul says, we need to evangelize whether it is "in season or out of season"--whether it pleases some or not.
In 1787, at the age of eighty-one, Benjamin Franklin addressed the Constitutional Convention: “I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth: that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings, that ‘except the Lord build the House, they labor in vain that build it.’ I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel: We shall be divided by our little, partial, local interests, our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a reproach and byword down to future ages.”
What he said is still true. Even though the quotation is short, try to find the original article. It is well worth the read. What he writes is so true. May you enjoy a blessed Sunday and a week of joy and serenity. I will be praying for all my readers as I go on retreat.

Mother's Day

Happy Mothers' Day to all the women who read this post: mothers of families, spiritual mothers, God Mothers and those women who spend their lives giving new life to others as consecrated women in religious life or in secular institutes.In our chapel this morning we welcomed a good number of young families to our 9:30 Mass. Father Michael Harrington preached a homily geared to the children who sat on the floor in front of the altar. He touched the adults who listened by explaining how we can gift our mothers who are still with us. He had the kids list what would be a good thing to give Mom on her day: a nice card, and he held up some nice cards from the local CVS store; a box of candy; chores well done; a hug. Father then explained the significance of the statue of the Queen of Apostles which is now next to the Paschal Candle in our sanctuary. Since it is still the Easter season, a replica of an Empty Tomb is on the other side of the sanctuary for now. Father Mike pointed out that Mary is holding Baby Jesus tightly. Yet, she is holding him out to us, offering him to us, so we may take him into our arms too. That is her purpose: to give Jesus to each and every one of us. Before Mass was over we held a May crowing. Young people crowned Jesus and Mary with floral crowns. Each woman in the church, including us Sisters was given a flower as we entered. At the May Crowning we each brought a rose or a carnation and placed it in a vase in front of Mary. Two of the Sisters played Schubert's Ave Maria with flute and piano as a post-Communion meditation. It was a nice way to precede the Marian event.
Tomorrow I will begin an 8 day silent retreat at our St. Thecla Retreat House in Billerica, Mass. some of the sister Disciples of the Divine Master, and a few members of the Society of St. Paul, priests and brothers will join us Daughters of St. Paul. Our preacher will be Father Mike Goonan, an Australian Society of St. Paul priest now sationed in Staten Island, NY. This year marks 100 years of life for the Society of St. Paul and thus the birth of all the groups of the Pauline Family. Pray that I take advantage of this yearly gift of intense prayer as well as rest to reflect on the good that Jesus gives me every day.
St. Thecla Retreat House