Life

Tastiest Squidgeyest Yummiest Chocolate Cookies that are Sure to Get You into Heaven
Baking for others is one of my favourite projects, and I believe there’s no better way to show your love for your neighbour than by baking them a batch of classic chocolate chip cookies. These are the tastiest, squidgeyist, yummiest chocolate chip cookies you’ve ever baked, and are super easy for anyone to try for a party, gift, or baking with the children. The post Tastiest Squidgeyest Yummiest Chocolate Cookies that are Sure to Get You into Heaven appeared first on Catholic Sistas. Catholic Sistas - perspective from the neck
To be a faithful lover
5 minute read“He has remembered his mercy and faithfulness toward the house of Israel. All the ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God” (Ps 98:3). When we look at all of salvation history as an adventurous love story, our whole perspective changes. Since the garden, God has chased after humanity again and again. He is the lover always searching for the heart of the beloved (Songs 7:11). He has made covenant after covenant. And we — the human race — failed to keep his promises with faith. That was until, of course, Jesus came to save us. And we know the story well, don’t we? This new eternal covenant was, is and ever will be unbreakable by his obedience unto death. Jesus was faithful to the will of God the Father by his obedience and love for us. Even if the Father’s children had betrayed him in the past, he still wanted to save them and his children to come. But God doesn’t stop there. Jesus, because all power had been given to him, does not measure out the gift of the Spirit. This means that, by grace, we have the capacity to love as he loves. The Spirit is the bond of love between the Father and the Son that was not only poured out to the apostles, but continues to overflow in our hearts today whenever we ask for him. God has never, even for a moment, failed to be a faithful lover. And when we look through this broad lens of salvation history, we can easily forget that God has been faithful to each of us in a unique way throughout our lives. To you. To me. But are we always faithful to him? Let’s be honest with ourselves — the truth is that it’s easy to remember the faithfulness of God as long as we have tangible signs of his goodness. When we first begin our faith journey, the Lord floods our souls with grace and consolations. The sweet tastes of heaven are signs to us that he is real and has a radical love for us. And it is easy for us to respond with praise and thanksgiving because we are receiving those true, immediate gratifications. Then, something happens. When God seems to leave us or remove his presence, it all changes. In times of trouble and spiritual darkness, it becomes more difficult to make those acts of faith, hope and love. Carmelite reformer, mystic and Doctor of the Church St. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582), sheds light on this common situation in which souls find themselves. She was a normal woman like you and me, and she understood an incredible depth and complexity to the spiritual life. But St. Teresa wasn’t always a faithful lover. For the first 20 years of her life, St. Teresa willingly admits to a half-hearted spirituality. Even when she entered the relaxed convent at 21 years old, she attended to her social life and neglected convent disciplines like contemplative prayer. After a prolonged illness forced her to remain in solitude and silence for almost three years at around 40 years old, she was removed from worldly noise and entered into the mysteries of God. It was here that her eyes were opened to the true fidelity of God, and she was able to respond to him with her whole heart. One of St. Teresa of Avila’s great works after her awakening is “The Interior Castle.” In this guidebook of spiritual theology, we are given rich insight on how a soul moves through different dwelling places of the Lord’s castle. Each subsequent room leads the soul deeper into the heart of the castle, that is, the King of Kings’ dwelling place. Throughout her writing, she acknowledges that being faithful to God on our journey to heaven isn’t easy. Although she sheds light of the great joys of the pilgrimage, she also writes about the great trials that accompany it. St. Teresa writes: “This treatment will be a great mortification to her: Our Lord tests her love for him by the way in which she bears his absence.” She acknowledges that a relationship with God does not consist of constant ecstasies and consolations in prayer. Although these are beautiful and true gifts from God that benefit the soul, so, too, does the removal of his presence give benefit. St. Teresa’s words, or rather, the words of the Holy Spirit, speak straight to my heart whenever I read this. Quite frankly, whenever the Lord seems absent from me, I become a whiny baby. It becomes difficult to find motivation to pray. It becomes difficult to be joyful. It becomes difficult to love. When a soul experiences true love himself, what was once skipping through a field of wildflowers with the Lord of heaven now feels like spending the day watching paint dry. How well do you bear the Lord’s absence? When he seems to leave, what do you do? Do you quit praying? Do you get frustrated? I’ve been there, and I get it. But our God is a faithful God. Even if I can’t feel him around, he awaits me all day long to come to him in prayer and still provides me with unfathomable amounts of grace to get me through my day. Even if I forget to pray or even turn my back on him, he will never turn his back on me. Just like any good Father, sometimes he lets us toddlers go when we are learning how to walk. At first, we feel him by our side when we ditch all-fours. He holds us and stabilizes our balance. With his help, our bodies slowly build up the muscles and develop motor skills to move one foot after the other. Then he lets go. And it is for our good. My love for God is not contingent on how I feel when the Lord gives me gifts of consolation or joys. It is meant to be so much more. I have to admit that my love is weak, and I need him to help me grow. To be a faithful lover is to not forget the ways my beloved has chased after me even before I existed. To be a faithful lover is to be grateful for all of the ways my beloved has fought for me and cared for me. To be a faithful lover is to love him, even when he seems far away. St. Teresa of Avila, pray for us! If you want to learn more about what St. Teresa of Avila has to say in “The Interior Castle,” you can purchase it from OSV’s online bookstore. Sign up for Radiant newsletters to get a 20% off discount!   Maddy Gross is an assistant editor for Radiant magazine. She is passionate about serving the Church and leading souls close to the hearts of Jesus and Mary. She is finishing her degree in marketing at Ball State University in Indiana. Follow her on Instagram @_perpetual_joy. The post To be a faithful lover appeared first on RADIANT.
Your Ultimate 2019 Pregnancy & Infant Loss Resource Guide
Each year, on October 15 - National Pregnancy & Infant Loss Day, Catholic Sistas has made it a priority to share the vast and varied experiences of our writers (and friends writing guest pieces) on the impact of the loss of our children. The post Your Ultimate 2019 Pregnancy & Infant Loss Resource Guide appeared first on Catholic Sistas. Catholic Sistas - perspective from the neck
The Devil is in the Details
You may wonder why our Church gives us those specific rules about what qualifies as Mass attendance when our Lord clearly demands more? Well, the answer is simply because they know we are human. The post The Devil is in the Details appeared first on Catholic Sistas. Catholic Sistas - perspective from the neck
Beginning the Synod on the Amazon
Hello and welcome! This past week, I have been in Rome to attend the Synod on the Amazon, but I want to begin by sharing with you several events that took place in Boston before I left. Wednesday evening, we hosted our first Connect-Boston event at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, which brought together university students and young professionals from the area for an evening of networking and inspirational talks. The event was organized by Father Eric Cadin and our Office of Campus Ministry, in conjunction with other ministries and organizations of the archdiocese. The event began with a dinner at Cathedral High School, followed by talks in the cathedral itself. There, the young people heard from Curtis Martin, the founder of the Fellowship of Catholic University Students, better known as FOCUS, and Jennifer Baugh, the founder and national executive director of the group Young Catholic Professionals. After the talks, everyone broke up into different panels based on areas of interest — such as business, communications and health care — at which professionals in the different disciplines witnessed to their lives as Catholic professionals and their sense of vocation and mission. At the end of the evening, I gave a final keynote talk to the young people, and the event concluded with a Holy Hour and Eucharistic procession. It was a very successful evening. I believe there were as many as 800 students and young professionals in attendance. We are so grateful to the many young people who came out to attend and those who participated in the panels for being available to share the testimony of their lives with these young adults. Thursday, the Missionary Childhood Association sponsored our annual Mission Education Day at the Pastoral Center. The gathering brought together students from many different Catholic schools in the archdiocese for a day of talks and activities centered around the call to be missionary disciples. I joined the group for a morning Mass in the Pastoral Center chapel. I celebrated the Mass for Evangelization and, in my homily, I reflected on our mission to be evangelizers and to carry the Good News to the ends of the earth. In fact, Maureen Heil, our director of programs and development for our Pontifical Mission Societies who organized the event, was leaving the next day on a mission trip herself. She is currently giving lectures in Australia, and she will then go on to visit the Diocese of Mendi in Papua New Guinea. That is a place that is very dear to me, since that is where many of my fellow Capuchins from the Pittsburgh Province are working. In my homily, I spoke to the young people a great deal about our mission in Papua New Guinea and the impact that the faith has made on the people there. The announcing of the Gospel was such a force for good, making the light, love and salvation of Jesus Christ present in a part of the world that had never enjoyed the light of the Gospel. That afternoon, I had one of my regular meetings at the Pastoral Center with those priests who have been ordained in the last five years. With the large ordination class of last year, the group has grown considerably and now is about 40 priests. As always, we began with a meal and time of discussion, followed by prayer together. In our gathering, we talked about sacramental practices and the upcoming Synod on the Amazon, as well as a number of other topics the priests raised. Though I was unable to attend, I also want to mention that Saturday was our 11th Annual Social Justice Convention. At this year’s convocation, they presented the inaugural Pope Francis Social Justice Award to Janine Carreiro of Massachusetts Communities Action Network. I was happy to hear that the convocation was, once again, a great success. Since social justice is a constituent of part of evangelization, we are happy that so many people responded to learn more about the social gospel of the Church. We are so grateful to Pat Dineen, Father Bryan Hehir and all those who work so hard to prepare the Social Justice Convocation every year. Thursday evening I left for Rome to be there in time for the consistory for the creation of new cardinals. This trip was my first chance to see the sculpture now standing in St. Peter’s Square that depicts refugees and immigrants from many nations standing together on a boat. This piece of art is a very poignant reminder that we live in a world full of refugees. There over a million refugees in the world today, and the Holy Father is challenging people to open their hearts to help people fleeing from violence, war and oppression. The consistory itself was held Saturday afternoon in St. Peter’s Basilica. At this consistory, there were 13 new cardinals, over half of whom are from religious orders and many of them have connections to the missions. This is both Extraordinary Mission Month and the month in which the Synod on the Amazon is being held, so it very much fit in with the theme of a missionary Church. Among the new cardinals is Cardinal Fridolin Ambongo Besungu, a Capuchin from Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as Cardinal Jose Tolentino Calaca de Mendonca of Portugal, who is the Vatican archivist and librarian. I have known Cardinal de Mendonca since he was a professor at the Catholic University of Portugal. With Cardinal de Mendonca and Isabel Gil, the rector of the Catholic University in Lisbon I also took a picture of the Portuguese Ambassador because I thought he had a very interesting outfit! At the consistory, I also met Count Agostino Borromeo, from the family of St. Charles Borromeo, who is General Governor of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre. As I always like to do, one evening I met for dinner with the priests and seminarians of Boston who are in Rome. Among those who were with us were Father David Barnes and Father Daniel Hennessey, who were in town for the diaconal ordination of Deacon Dennis Nakkeeran, who was ordained the day before in St. Peter’s Basilica by Bishop Deeley along with the other seminarians from the Pontifical North American College. Another evening, I had the joy of being reunited with one of my former permanent deacons, José Olivares and his wife, Patricia. When I was a priest in Washington, Cardinal Hickey gave me permission to start a diaconate program in Spanish, and they came out of that program. Cardinal Hickey was so gracious that, when I was named bishop, he invited me back to have the ordination of the deacons I had trained. This month marks the 35th anniversary of that ordination. Since that time, José and his wife have returned to Chile, where they are still very active in ministry. They happened to be in Rome for a parish pilgrimage with their pastor and a number of his parishioners from Santiago, Chile. So, after 35 years, we were able to get together and have dinner! It was a great joy. I also had an opportunity to meet with Polish Ambassador to the Holy See Janusz Kotanski, and Minister Mikolaj Pawlak, the recently named Polish Ombudsman for Children. It was an opportunity to speak about an upcoming conference in Poland to be run by the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. Sunday was the opening Mass for the Synod on the Amazon, and on Monday we gathered for prayer followed by a procession from St. Peter’s Basilica to the audience hall. There were indigenous people from the Amazon region carrying a canoe and a number of other symbols. They also carried placards with pictures representing people who have been murdered in the region for their social justice work. Of course, the most well-known of those to many in the U.S. is Sister Dorothy Stang, SND, who was killed because she was defending the indigenous people and their rights to the land. Following the procession, those placards were placed at the front of the Synod Hall. On Monday afternoon and Tuesday there were interventions by different participants in the synod. I made one intervention talking about my experience in Guatemala as the visitator for the seminaries there. One of the seminaries I visited, Our Lady of the Assumption in Guatemala City, was several hundred years old. But, when I arrived, the rector (who is now a bishop in Venezuela) told me how happy he was because, for the first time in their history, they had some indigenous students entering the seminary. Now, bear in mind that Guatemala is probably one of the countries in the world with the largest percentage of indigenous people. After my visitation to that seminary, and being surprised that after several centuries they were only beginning to get indigenous vocations, I went to a new seminary in Verapaz, which was established exclusively for indigenous seminarians. I had to speak to them through interpreters because they did not speak Spanish. It was very under-resourced (for example, the seminarians’ families had to bring food for them) and, despite there being a large number of seminarians, a couple of years later it closed. I was very sad because the indigenous seminarians I had met at the major seminaries in the capital were like fish out of water. I had seen in the Verapaz seminary an opportunity to train indigenous priests in their own language and in their own cultural context. I felt badly when the seminary closed because I knew those seminarians would never be able to attend a different sort of seminary. Because one of the themes is the terrible shortage of priests in the Amazonia region, I was trying to stress that, if we want to have priests in that area, we are going to have to make sacrifices to have people who can promote vocations and accompany and train seminarians in their own milieu and their own languages. On Thursday, we began with what they call the “círculos menores” (“small circles”), which are small group discussions according to language groups. The synod is being conducted almost entirely in Spanish and Portuguese, which is wonderful because since practically everyone there speaks either Spanish or Portuguese, it avoids the need for extensive translation. I was assigned to the English and French-speaking group, which was very interesting for me because many of the participants in this group are from the Antilles Conference, where I was an observer for almost 10 years when I was bishop in the Virgin Islands. We also have some indigenous people from Guyana and Suriname with us in that group. One of the things that the Holy Father held up in his comments was that he asked us to look at the problem of violence in the region. Not only the kind of violence symbolized in the pictures of all those who have been killed, but also understanding the violence to the forests themselves and its effects on the people who are there. It is certainly something that we are going to be hearing a lot about in the course of the synod. There has also been a lot of talk about the lack of priests. An indigenous woman from Guyana in our group told us that there are some villages where a priest comes only once a year. She said they have laypeople performing baptisms, presiding at weddings and distributing communion. In fact, she said she was baptized by a layperson in her village. Certainly, one of the issues we have to deal with is the scarcity of ordained ministers in the region and the great need to provide for the sacramental life of the people and their formation. But despite the impression that is being given in the media, the synod is not some sort of a referendum on priestly celibacy. There is a great missionary spirit and sense of solidarity amongst the participants. It has been a fascinating experience, and I am very grateful for the Holy Father’s invitation to be a part of the synod. Until next week, Cardinal Seán
16 Things You NEED in Your Kids’ Mass Bag
But do you have a Mass bag? Oftentimes, we are asking ourselves the following each Sunday before we leave for church or in the parking lot... The post 16 Things You NEED in Your Kids’ Mass Bag appeared first on Catholic Sistas. Catholic Sistas - perspective from the neck
A new perspective on motherhood
4 minute readDropping my phone on the kitchen counter, I left the house quickly. Troubling news from the doctor’s office drew me out the door. What would this mean? How would life change? My mind was racing. I needed air and space to think, a new perspective. I walked into my neighbor’s house and collapsed on her couch. Feeling the weight of the day, I shared with her some of the news I received earlier. Focusing intently, I noticed her eyes welling up as she listened. Once I finished, she rushed over to me and asked if we could pray together. She held me close and spoke the exact words of surrender I needed. It was a prayer of desperate hearts seeking the Lord’s peace and wisdom. We sat in silence for a while still wrapped in arms and prayer. Leaving her house, the fog over my situation seemed to lift. I felt loved, supported and renewed in confidence. In a word, I felt “mothered.” Reflecting upon my relationships, so many women, both family and non-family alike, have acted as spiritual mothers for me. Naming a few, Sister Pat, my former boss, sends me handwritten notes each year on my birthday. My aunt texts me morning Scripture meditations. My dear college friend once drove 45 minutes in morning traffic to arrive at the hospital and hold my hand when my son needed surgery. Despite differences in age and vocation, they all live out a capacity “to mother” by demonstrating gifts of sensitivity, openness and hospitality. The Lord entrusted humanity to women as an irreplaceable support and source of spiritual strength for others. Our bodies confirm this reality. Yet, motherhood isn’t a gift only reserved for those who bear children. As mothers, we feel deeply the joys and wounds of those we attend to giving ourselves completely. We bring beauty into the world. We make a home. We can recall the roots of spiritual motherhood going back to the first pages of Scripture. After the fall, Adam turns to Eve and calls her the “Mother of all living.” It’s significant that Adam’s revelation takes place even before Eve is pregnant. Gazing upon his beloved, Adam reemerges from sin and spiritual death into a world where he anticipates new life and purpose with Eve. Author Danielle Bean astutely points out in her new book, “Manual for Women,” “Mother of all living is the ideal for which women were created.” Regardless of whether we bear children physically or not, each woman has a capacity to draw others’ out of despair into the light. Providing loving support and gentle encouragement changes lives. Danielle Bean states, “For Adam’s words describe the art of life-giving love that every woman is built for and uniquely created to bring forth in herself and others. This is us. Even in the darkest of places women bring life. We bring love. We bring hope to a fallen world.” We see this played out in our everyday lives through other women around us. Neighbors, friends, even caring women whom we don’t know pass by with a smile and offer their assistance to lighten the load. I recently took part in a Mothers’ Morning of Reflection which focused on the theme of universal spiritual motherhood. We had 87 women attend from all age groups and walks of life, including those who’d been impacted by infertility, miscarriage and the loss of spouses, children and loved ones. During our small group discussion time, I was astounded by the sense of mutual encouragement that took place. It was beautiful to listen as grandmothers empathized with moms of toddlers or rebellious teenagers. It was also incredible to witness the wonder that several older ladies shared as they encountered committed, faithful young Catholic women. A good friend of mine who speaks to teenagers shares the maxim, “To compare is to despair.” Social media can be particularly harmful by fostering jealousy, competition and judgement. More than ever, we need to be mentors who act as spiritual mothers reaching across generations and looking for opportunities to build one another up. Mary’s relationship with Elizabeth provides a glimpse of this mutual mentoring. Though relatives, they are not obvious choices to be close friends. Elizabeth is barren and advanced in age, while Mary is a young virgin. Yet, Mary’s haste in reaching her cousin reveals their soul-bearing friendship. They’ve weathered the storms together of sorrow, infertility, misunderstanding and judgement. Now remarkably, they find themselves in very similar circumstances with lives miraculously growing in their wombs. Together the women sing in marvelous recognition of God’s plan fulfilled, not only in their lives but for all humanity. In approaching my neighbor, I found the new perspective for which I searched. Over these last months, our friendship has grown deeper, and I often show up on her couch seeking advice. The Lord has a great plan for our lives as women. We are called to support and encourage one another, bringing forth life and hope into places of darkness. As with Mary and Elizabeth, may our common voices join in singing praises to God for his plan lived out in us. For more resources on spiritual motherhood, please check out: “Manual for Women” by Danielle Bean “How to be a spiritual mother whether you have kids or not” by Chloe Langr Spiritual Motherhood Sodality Katie Almon is a fan of the saints in heaven and on earth. She lives with her husband and small children in New Orleans. Katie is also a contributor to “Spirit and Life: The Holy Sacraments of the Catholic Church” by Rose Rea. The post A new perspective on motherhood appeared first on RADIANT.
Running – My Holy Hour
My running has felt a little flat recently. I've been struggling to just feel decent on my runs let alone good. My legs feel heavy and stiff almost as if they are stuck. The post Running – My Holy Hour appeared first on Catholic Sistas. Catholic Sistas - perspective from the neck
The Night I Prayed the Rosary With a Soon-to-be-Saint
Since it is October, the month of the Most Holy Rosary, I thought it would be a good time to share one of my most treasured moments praying the Rosary – the night I was privileged to pray with a then-soon-to-be-on-the-path-to sainthood, devout man of God, the Venerable Father Patrick Peyton.   It was the fall of my freshman year at St. Mary’s College in South Bend, Indiana (sister college to the University of Notre Dame) when my girlfriend Carly and I, along with our friend David from Notre Dame, began praying the rosary in his dorm room at ND every night at 11:00 pm. Our little Rosary group quickly grew, so we relocated from the dorm room to the dorm chapel. At the time, Carly was working in archives at St. Mary’s and discovered there had been a club in the early 1900’s at both schools called Children of Mary that prayed the Rosary together every night. Over the years, the club eventually dissipated, but since our rapidly growing Rosary group shared the same mission, we prayerfully decided to call it Children of Mary and thus the club was resurrected! A few months after the inception of our group, Fr. Peyton, a Notre Dame alumnus and Holy Cross priest, was visiting the University. He heard about our Rosary group and asked to join us one evening. I will never forget that night — it is etched in my heart forever. Fr. Peyton, age 83 at the time, was thin and frail; yet despite his failing health and age, he knelt for the entire full Rosary – all five decades of the Joyful, Sorrowful and Glorious Mysteries (this was prior to the commencement of the Luminous mysteries.) I remember thinking at the time, “I will never complain about kneeling for the Rosary again!” His saintly example set a standard for me that night. Father Peyton’s saintly example set a standard for me. #rosary [email protected] CLICK TO TWEET Little did I realize at the time, that I was in the presence of a man soon to be on the path to sainthood. Fr. Peyton died on June 3, 1992 — just a few months after I met and prayed with him. His cause for canonization opened on June 1, 2001 and on December 18, 2017 Pope Francis named him as Venerable, the second of four steps on the road to sainthood. The third step is Blessed and the fourth is Saint. Fr. Peyton, also known as The Rosary Priest, is the founder of Holy Cross Family Ministries and the Family Rosary Crusade. He is also renowned for coining the popular phrases, “A world at prayer is a world at peace,” and my favorite, “The family that prays together, stays together.” Fr. Peyton understood and grasped the power of praying the Rosary. Witnessing his deep prayer and love of the Rosary on that crisp spring evening several years ago, expanded my vision and increased my appreciation for the beauty of this beloved prayer. Praying the Rosary provides a meaningful way to reflect and enter into the life of Jesus from His conception, through His years of ministry, to His suffering and death on the cross, on to His resurrection into new life, to the birth of the Church. It is a weapon against evil and temptation and a window through which peace enters one’s soul. If I pour my heart into the prayer of the Rosary, I cannot help but fall more in love with Jesus. I never ceased to be amazed at how God strings together moments in our lives to create a masterpiece of His love — always bringing things full circle. Last year, just a few months after I began writing for CatholicMom.com, it was brought under the umbrella of Holy Cross Family Ministries. I remember smiling from ear to ear when I read the email informing me of the change, because I realized how this holy priest that I met 26 years ago, had now re-entered my life on a whole new level. Venerable Patrick Peyton is now in Heaven and the example I once witnessed — I now recall — as I call on his intercession in my life.    It is beautiful and mysterious, both wrapped together — and my heart continues to be touched by this man who said YES to God’s calling in his life. This month, pray the Rosary, enter into the mysteries, and allow your heart to be transformed.   Venerable Fr. Patrick Peyton – Pray for Us! The post The Night I Prayed the Rosary With a Soon-to-be-Saint appeared first on Seasons of the Heart and Home.
A Teacup of Grace is Enough
Similar to the British, the French also have an afternoon teatime they call "le Goûter," which consists of tea and sweets to tide them over to their uncivilized dinner hour of 8pm. The idea inspired me to launch our homeschooling venture with a new tradition--every day that my girls do their schoolwork with minimal haranguing, we'll have a cup of tea and cookies at 2pm. Our own petit le Goûter. The post A Teacup of Grace is Enough appeared first on Catholic Sistas. Catholic Sistas - perspective from the neck
Our Convocation for Permanent Deacons
Hello and welcome! Last Thursday evening, I attended a reception at the home of Jim and Joanne Gallagher highlighting the work of Catholic Charities. Jim is the former Chairman of the Board of Catholic Charities. During the evening I addressed the group, along with the current chairman of the board, Kevin MacKenzie, along with Catholic Charities’ President, Debbie Rambo. It was a wonderful evening and we are so grateful to Jim and Joanne for hosting this wonderful evening. Friday, I met at the cathedral with Father Selwan Taponi, a Chaldean priest from Detroit who comes once a month to celebrate Mass with the Chaldean Catholic community in Boston. Also with us was Sermed Ashouri, a member of the Chaldean community who is studying in our permanent diaconate program; Deacon Chris Connelly, our director of Permanent Deacon Formation; and Brother Jim Peterson. That evening, I had another of my periodic meetings with a group of seminarians at the cathedral. As usual, we began our gathering with Vespers followed by dinner and a time of discussion. These gatherings are always a wonderful opportunity to get to know the seminarians better and to hear their concerns, hopes and aspirations. I always find them a very life-giving and enjoyable experience. Saturday, our permanent deacons held their annual convocation at St. Elizabeth Parish in Milton. During the day, they heard keynote talks by Deacon William Ditewig, a permanent deacon of the Archdiocese of Washington who is the former director of the USCCB’s Secretariat for the Diaconate. I joined them mid-day to celebrate Mass for them. During the Mass we celebrated the Rite of Candidacy for 13 new permanent deacon candidates. It was quite a joy that, just one week after ordaining our latest class of permanent deacons for the archdiocese, we were welcoming another class as candidates for ordination. On Sunday, I went to St. Malachy Church in Burlington to celebrate our annual Catholic Appeal Appreciation Mass. This Mass is an opportunity for us to thank those who worked so hard over the past year to make our annual Appeal a success. We began our gathering with a Mass followed by a reception, during which I addressed the gathering along with the pastor, Father Jim Mahoney. As I always like to say, the Catholic Appeal is the lifeblood of our archdiocese, without which so many ministries and good works of the Church would not be possible. We are so grateful to all of those who do so much to ensure the ongoing success of the Catholic Appeal. Later that day I went to our Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Brookline to celebrate the Mass of the Holy Spirit. This is the third of our three seminaries I have visited to celebrate the Mass as a way to begin the academic year asking for the assistance of the Holy Spirit in all our endeavors. We had a lovely Mass together in the chapel followed by a dinner with the seminarians. Monday, I went to visit the Missionaries of Charity at their house in Dorchester. We celebrated Mass together, and afterwards the sisters made me a lovely breakfast. The sisters had remembered how I told them that in the Virgin Islands the sisters would always make me a breakfast of curry and roti, so that is what they served me. It certainly brought back wonderful memories! I have to say, I am very grateful that the sisters did not make the curry too spicy. I told them that sometimes I’d be having that breakfast in the Virgin Islands at 6 o’clock in the morning and the curry was so hot, the smoke would be coming out of my ears! During my visit, the sisters also showed me the new playground equipment that they have installed, which I know will be put to great use by the children served by their many programs. Wednesday, I paid a visit to St. Benedict Classical Academy in Natick. It was the feast of the Holy Guardian Angels, so we had a gathering with the little ones first and then later a Mass for the older children, the staff and some of the board members. The school is housed in the historic house of Harriet Beecher Stowe who, of course, is best known for her novel “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” This was my first opportunity to visit, and I was happy to see that the school is thriving. It serves students from preschool through sixth grade and they are currently at capacity, with over 100 youngsters. I was also very pleased to learn that they have acquired a piece of land on which they plan to construct a new building. We are so grateful to the headmaster Jay Boren and all those who are working for the success of St. Benedict’s. Until next week, Cardinal Seán
Of Note–October 2019
Let's get brutally honest here. Are you team pumpkin spice or apple cider? Me? I'm a lover of all things that taste or smell like fall? On that note, let's take a quick look around the web for some great inspirational reading. The post Of Note–October 2019 appeared first on Catholic Sistas. Catholic Sistas - perspective from the neck
ST. FRANCIS GARDEN
Ever since I was a young girl I have had a special devotion to and love for St. Francis of Assisi.  The simple way he lived his life, his compelling desire to evangelize regardless of the cost, and his deep love for God’s creation – a few of the attributes that continually draw me to this saint we celebrate today, October 4.   In fact, we have a garden in our backyard in honor of him – our ST. FRANCIS GARDEN –   Today is a great day to get outside and enjoy the gift of God’s creation in honor of this amazing spiritual giant! It is also tradition in many parishes to bless pets on this day – so if you have a pet, get it blessed! Below is the Prayer of St. Francis – a rich treasure that you can add to your prayers each day.   PRAYER OF ST. FRANCIS “Lord – Make me an instrument of thy peace, where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; and where there is sadness, joy.  O Divine Master grant that I might not so much seek to be consoled as to console;  to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.”      HAPPY FEAST OF ST. FRANCIS!   The post ST. FRANCIS GARDEN appeared first on Seasons of the Heart and Home.
Saving and Spending Well
4 minute readSpring feels like a time of rebirth! The flowers are sprouting, the weather is getting warmer and the days are getting longer. It invokes desires to clean and refresh in many areas of life, including, perhaps, your spending and saving habits, which greatly affect your daily life. Here are some tips to help you be a smart steward of the gifts God has given to you financially. 1. Pray. Saint Mathew the Apostle is the patron saint of money matters. Ask him to intercede and guide your financial decisions so you can be a good steward of God’s money. You can also pray to Saint Jude using the “Prayer to Saint Jude Thaddeus for Urgent Financial Help.” 2. Be prepared for an emergency. Do you have a savings account designated for emergencies, like medical catastrophes or losing your job? If not, this should be your priority. Save up about 6 months worth of essential expenses. That means $6,000 if you spend $1,000 per month on essentials like rent, utilities, food, health insurance, and commuting. It’s best to sock this money away in a high-yield savings account so you earn interest each month. The best rates were around 2.05% APY (that’s free money). Check NerdWallet.com to compare rates. My go-to is Synchrony Bank. 3. Write down or keep a note on your phone every time you spend money this week (or in a 7-day window): rent, car insurance, random knick-knacks from the drug store, debt payments, everything. At the end of the week or the 7-day window, tally it all up. This creates awareness around your spending, and we all know that’s the first step to changing! 4. Put yourself on a Gift Card Budget. Pick at least one area where you think you’re spending too much money. Let’s take a coffee shop, for example. You look over your credit card/ debit card statements and realize you spent $232 in one month at that one coffee shop. Put yourself on a budget of $100 or less per month. My favorite way to do this is to buy a $100 gift card to that coffee shop, and when you run out, you’re done for the month! It’s an easy way to see just how quickly you go through money at a specific place. (You can do the same thing with online shopping by buying an e-gift card to your favorite retailer.) If you struggle with eating out in general and not just at a specific restaurant, for example, withdraw $100 cash from your checking account, put it an envelope, and use only that money to pay when you go out. When you’re out of it, you’re done for the month. 5. If you have student loan debt, think about refinancing. It essentially allows you to lower the interest rate you’re paying on your loans. For example, if you’re paying 6 percent, you may be able to refinance the loans to pay 4 percent. In the long run, that can save you thousands of dollars! To get more information about this process and to see different rates, check out www. studentloanhero.com. (Beware—watch out for student loan scams. Unfortunately, there are people out there looking to take advantage of already-financially-strapped graduates! In general, don’t do business with anyone who calls or emails you out of the blue about student loan refinancing or consolidation.) 6. Sell old stuff. Even if you’ve refinanced your loans, it’s still a good idea to think about ways to pay off the debt faster. If you can’t afford to contribute more to paying off debt each month, you’ll need to find ways to make more money. In the spirit of spring cleaning, find stuff to sell that you already own! It could be clothes, textbooks, bags or accessories. I’ve made hundreds of dollars selling old textbooks on Amazon. Some consignment stores will pay you on the spot for your clothes, or you could use an app like Poshmark. Our faith has taught us that we will experience both joy and suffering. That suffering can sometimes come in the form of sacrifice. Now might be a season of sacrifice for you as you rework your finances. 7. Review benefits at work. Do you know what your benefits are? They can range from life insurance to gym memberships to commuting tax benefits. Does your company offer a match for contributions you make to your 401(k)? If so, make sure you’re contributing that amount. It generally ranges from 1-6 percent, but could be even higher if your company is generous. Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the best Catholic money management site out there—CompassCatholic.org. It is a nonprofit dedicated to helping people manage their money God’s way. They also run Catholic bible studies on exactly this topic! Even if there isn’t a bible study in your area, you can take advantage of their free resources online. Discover more advice on financing by visiting Victoria’s website, ConsumerCatholic.com. She also has a new podcast called “Treasures in Heaven.” Victoria Craw     The post Saving and Spending Well appeared first on RADIANT.
Waiting amid love’s delay
4 minute readWhat are you waiting for? I’ve often found myself before the Blessed Sacrament, pouring my heart out to Christ and laying my desires beside him on the altar. And while he has consoled me time and again, the resounding answer is often, “Be patient. Wait.” Sometimes, this simple response consoles my heart, reminding me that God is present amid this season of waiting — particularly this season of singleness. Other times, I want to politely ask everyone in the chapel to leave before I explode in a temper tantrum before Christ. I remember sitting in the adoration chapel at my childhood parish one evening in high school, pen in hand as I journaled about the future. College was on the horizon, and with it came the potential for change. Maybe, just maybe, this season of waiting was nearing its end. As the ink recorded the state of my heart and relayed my thoughts to God, I admitted how I wished to jump ahead to the future — to when I would be married to a holy man, settled down in a cute little house pampering our adorable kids. While I knew I was looking at the future through rose-colored glasses, I still desired to leap forward to whatever my life would look like when the season of waiting would be over. But, I knew each moment in between was part of my story, and if I was to skip these moments, I would miss important seasons as well. So, I prayed for patience. Now, years later, I still find myself in this particular season of waiting. Yes, I’ve learned (and am learning) to thrive in the blessed life I’ve been given, accepting each moment as an opportunity to let God sanctify my life and prepare me for whatever he has planned. Yet, I still have days where I want to flip tables and press the skip button. Whenever my heart aches with this particular burden of waiting, I turn to the devoted presence of my heavenly sister, St. Thérèse, for she, too, was told to wait for her vocation. When Thérèse first asked to become a religious sister by the age of 15, her pleas were met with rejection. While her beloved father agreed to let her part from him, others were not so keen on the idea. The parish pastor thought she was too young to be making such an important decision. Mother superior at Carmel agreed, as did the vicar general and bishop of the diocese. Yet, Thérèse was undeterred; her desire could not be quenched. So, during a pilgrimage to Rome, she knelt before Pope Leo XIII and begged for his permission to allow her to enter the cloister. To her disappointment, the pope kindly told her, “You will enter if it is God’s will.” This was not the answer Thérèse was looking for. Still, she continued to pray, consoled with the knowledge that this desire of her heart came from God and that, in his timing, he would see to it that she became his bride. And, through God’s gentle providence, she did, even at such a young age. But, lest you think this little saint had it easy, this season was a period of agonizing waiting. Thérèse recalls in her autobiography that it was a dark night of the soul, her own personal agony in the garden as her heart burned with desire to be united with Christ as his bride while knowing that God first wanted her to wait. As Archbishop Fulton Sheen said in a sermon about Thérèse, “In the meantime, there was this delay of God’s love.” We’ve all experienced moments like this, even long seasons where the desire of our heart burns so purely, so deeply, but God gently tells us, “Not yet.” It’s moments like these where I hold fast to my heavenly sister, who has interceded for me on numerous occasions regarding my vocation. And each week, I kneel before her relic on a side altar at my parish and entrust my vocation into her hands once again. Scripture tells us that “The Lord does not delay his promise” (2 Peter 3:9). And while this can be hard to hear, it reveals the truth about God’s love. God doesn’t promise to fulfill our desires on our timeline. Rather, he promises to fulfill our hearts in a way that will bring us the greatest joy and closest to him, even if it takes longer than we wish. We all have seasons of waiting. Maybe you are like me, living this single season and waiting for God to bring you a godly man or ask you to be his bride as a religious sister. Maybe you are married and are waiting for that pregnancy test to finally be positive. Or maybe it’s a job change, a season where finances are not incredibly tight, peace within your family, etc. Whatever it is, we are all waiting for something. As Fulton Sheen said in the same sermon, “… if you are praying for certain favors, be prepared for love’s delay, but keep praying. Do not give up.” So, I choose each day to have faith that God hears my prayers and desires my good even more than I ever could. But, like Thérèse, it just might take a little longer than I want. It may be a delay of love, but love still awaits. Ava Lalor is editor for Radiant magazine and assistant editor for Our Sunday Visitor. She is a midwestern girl with a heart for supporting people’s stories. She also is a Jane Austen enthusiast, chai tea addict, grammar activist, amateur painter and gal pal to St. Thérèse. Follow her on Instagram @avalalor. The post Waiting amid love’s delay appeared first on RADIANT.
Dear Distracted Mom of Littles
How do I keep toddlers behaved during Mass while still maintaining some semblance of prayer and worship for myself? - Distracted Mom Of Littles The post Dear Distracted Mom of Littles appeared first on Catholic Sistas. Catholic Sistas - perspective from the neck
My Trust Fall
6 minute readIf your faith lives only in your head, you’re doing faith wrong. No other lesson in life has cost me so much in the way of blood, sweat and tears. Okay, mostly tears. I used to think of faith as the “safe” virtue. Pray for it, receive the sacraments, do some theological studying so you can answer questions and defend it rationally, and then check that box off. Faith: we’re good. On to practicing the harder virtues like temperance, fortitude, hope and (hardest of all) love. For years, I was the girl people came to with their faith questions. I stood out in my social circles and even in my family as the prime example of someone who “knows and lives her faith.” Of course, I would have demurred politely if you called me “perfect,” but faith was my strong suit. Enter reality check. In a really, really big way. It hit full-force on a chilly morning in May 2016, when I missed a 5:15 flight by about 30 seconds. The gate slammed shut with a sickening thud behind the flight attendant, leaving me alone and frantic in the quiet airport. I felt the cold sharply that morning; for the first time in two years, I was not wearing a full religious habit. I felt anonymous and exposed with my close-cropped hair, thin skirt and bare legs. I’d left my religious identity behind me, stuffed in a pillowcase ready for the laundry when the rest of the convent woke up. My religious name, typed in an elegant font on the nametag I’d been given for special events, sat on the bedside table with a bundle of other articles to be thrown away or recycled as the sisters saw fit. All I had with me now were a few books and some personal belongings in a small carry-on bag. I clutched at my driver’s license for dear life. At least if anyone else questioned my identity, I could offer something tangible. I had no phone. I had no money. I was bewildered, hurt and very, very sad to be leaving the convent I had hoped to call “home” for the rest of my life and the religious sisters who had become as dear to me as my own family. Standing alone in that airport, I had no hopes for the future. My only plan was to fly back to my family and crawl into bed. I had never felt so vulnerable. In many ways, this day had been a long time coming. Many difficult months of tough internal questioning, some gutwrenching conversations, a flash of peaceful realization, and now here I was, stranded in a busy airport, too unsettled and miserable to manage the tears that would have been a needed relief. To say my faith had been shaken by all of this would be a massive understatement. Two years of religious formation had done a lot to unmask and tear down the comfortable little faith I’d nurtured for so long. Now, leaving the convent had put the final touches on the demolition. That morning, watching from the airport window as my flight took off without me, I realized God was standing there with me, and he was making me an offer. He was presenting me with faith—the real thing this time. Maybe he’d always been there offering me this gift, but I’d never noticed him before. And now, stripped of all my safe, well-cushioned illusions about my own faith, I had a scary choice to make. Because now I understood with glaring clarity that real faith isn’t safe at all. It isn’t comfortable. It isn’t predictable. It isn’t something you can master or perfect by reading the right books, praying the right prayers or even by entering religious life. Real Faith is a Trust Fall It’s handing over the reins in the darkness and trusting that there’s Someone there to drive. And in that moment, when my life as I had planned it had disappeared without a trace, leaving me in utter darkness, God was inviting me to accept the terrifying gift of real faith. From now on, he wanted to hold the reins in every part of my life, from travel plans to life plans. The words floated through my mind, words I had prayed thousands of times before, but never really understood: “Jesus, I trust in you.” Jesus, who had broken my heart when he said “no” to my desire to be a religious sister. Jesus, who had turned my whole life on its head and sent me back out into the world with nothing but the ill-fitting clothes on my back. Jesus, who seemed to be standing by passively as I missed the flight that was supposed to carry me back to my family—the one bright spot in my otherwise bleak prospects for the immediate future. Jesus…I trust in you. In the weeks and months that followed my return to lay life, I battled sadness and anger—even outrage—with God. Some days just the attempt to pray felt like running a file over a raw wound. I didn’t struggle at all with doubt—the vice we typically think of as being opposed to faith—but it took all my willpower to continue to trust when things seemed so very dark. Thank goodness God is such a gentle teacher. When I was too upset to pray, he reached into my life and encouraged me to trust by sending along people to walk with me and demonstrate his love—sometimes perfect strangers. It began with a kindly Delta flight attendant in the airport that first morning. She asked no questions when I tearfully explained that I had missed my flight, I had no phone and no money and no idea what to do. Instead, she handed me her personal cell phone and said, “Call your mom, hon, and take your time. We’ll get you on another flight.” Following my return home, family, old friends, former colleagues, new friends and perfect strangers reached out to me in more ways than I can ever recount. One woman I had never met sat with me one morning in a quiet church while I sobbed. She didn’t ask any questions, just put her arm around me and said, “Sweetheart, you just cry. Sometimes you just need to cry it all out.” My parents and siblings welcomed me home with open arms, and gave me all the time and space I needed to work through my broken heart and disappointment. And a wise spiritual director let me talk—and cry—it all out over several months, offering not just advice but support and kindness while I tried to make sense of everything that had happened. Looking back after nearly two years, I’m only just beginning to understand the magnitude of faith and what it requires from us. Faith isn’t simply an intellectual assent to a body of teachings (though we certainly need that component). Faith is the choice to surrender in trust to a God who loves us, even when we’re tempted to wonder if he’s really there or if he really cares. And in order to plant that gift of true faith in us, sometimes God has to smash our preconceived notions of holiness, of our relationship with him, of who we are. He has to rip up the hardened soil of our own self-righteousness so we can finally allow that seed to take root in us and grow. He has to interrupt our carefully laid plans so he can draw us more deeply into himself. For most of my life, I wanted to believe that faith was a thing I could perfect all on my own. If I just lived the right kind of life, kept up the right spiritual practices, prayed the right prayers, and settled into an admirable vocation, I could coast along for my whole life, comfortable in the knowledge of my own goodness. God had to turn my life upside down to show me what faith really is: our response in trust no matter how dark things get, and no matter how small, weak and sinful we are. In fact, the more honestly we can look our littleness and woundedness in the face, the stronger our response in faith can be, because that’s when we realize that faith is the only answer. We have nowhere else to go. It’s like St. Peter said to Jesus in a moment of incredible confusion, when given the opportunity to walk away: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68). Photo by Alyssa Sanchez Faith is a trust fall. And as I’m still learning, it’s a trust fall that happens again and again and again in our lives, every day, as we learn to say “yes” to God in the face of darkness, fear, humiliation and confusion. My “yes” these days is often still a grudging, reluctant assent. It’s not romantic or exciting, and, in fact, it usually means just turning back to the task at hand, instead of begging for answers to the bigger questions like “What am I doing with my life?” and “Where are you leading me?” Sometimes I want to throw up my hands and holler, “What are you doing?” Thank goodness God gives us plenty of chances to practice this difficult virtue of faith. I have a long, long way to go, but I know he’s right there with me, walking the uneven path by my side, loving me in my brokenness and lighting the way even when everything seems lost in darkness. I Trust in You MARY BETH BAKER is a book acquisitions editor for Our Sunday Visitor and writes about the intersection of faith and daily life. Follow her on Twitter @m_b_baker The post My Trust Fall appeared first on RADIANT.
A Silent Suffering
6 minute readIt’s hard being a young woman. Crippling student debt, a rough economy, a competitive job market and vocation crises are just a few of the struggles. But many women, more than ever today, are suffering invisibly from mental illness. It’s no secret that mental health struggles are on the rise: about 1 in 5 adults experience some form of it every year, and nearly half of chronic mental illnesses begin around age 14, and three-quarters begin around age 24. In 2014, the CDC released a study revealing that the suicide rate among young women is at a 40-year high — nearly doubling between 2007 and 2014. And while people are slowly beginning to talk about it more, and despite it being more and more a common experience, there’s still a stigma. People don’t understand mental illness. They’re afraid of it. We don’t talk about it. And the biggest culprits of that are those of us who experience it. And for those of us who do experience it — there is so much shame. And we suffer in silence, too afraid to get help or share our struggles with people who love us; it’s so easy to fall into despair. I’ve always struggled with anxiety. I’ve always felt sick to my stomach when I encounter big changes, and especially in big transitions, such as going to or graduating from college, moving and new relationships. But, I didn’t see it coming. I had no idea that I would be slammed by a tidal wave of unnamable fear just a year out of college, triggered by seemingly unrelated experiences, like visiting hospitals, going on dates or traveling to new places. I began experiencing debilitating panic attacks and had no idea why. I started cognitive-behavioral therapy, and continued it for about a year and a half, until around the time I got engaged to my husband. Weeks after getting engaged, I was experiencing the worst anxiety I had ever felt, and in my mind, it was all centered around my relationship and getting married. I knew there was nothing to fear in reality, nothing actually wrong in my relationship — so why was I so anxious? Of course, I turned to Google, and somehow, I stumbled on a therapist’s website about “relationship anxiety,” where people who suffer from anxious thoughts and feelings about their relationships could get help. It was a Godsend — everything she described on that website about the people who benefit from her practice was exactly like me: highly sensitive, creative, perfectionistic, high-achieving people, who’ve suffered from anxiety their whole lives, and then in relationship, find it worse than it’s ever been. I began taking her online courses and discovered that the whole point of her practice was to help people realize that anxiety about their relationship (unless it’s a real red flag) wasn’t actually about the relationship at all — it was old relational and familial wounds resurfacing in the context of a safe environment. As I dug into the deep work, I realized that was happening to me. I was realizing, for the very first time, just how deep my wounds were and how I had built bad mental and emotional habits to protect myself from my past pain. As I entered into this invitation to heal, actually feeling that pain was agonizing. I suffered from horrible panic attacks and could barely eat or sleep. But, as I explored my thoughts and feelings and their origins, anxiety gave way to a grief unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. It was the darkest pit I’ve ever been in, and places inside me I didn’t even know existed revealed themselves as crumbling pieces of my soul that screamed for my attention in order to heal. I entered into grieving these wounds that I had not realized were dormant inside me for so much of my life. During that process, I felt like I didn’t know who God was anymore. He was silent. And the way I had known him before this somehow didn’t feel real to me anymore; I don’t know how else to explain it. It was like I woke up to a reality I didn’t know existed, and I didn’t know how He fit into it anymore. My rich, daily prayer life vanished into a mere daily acknowledgement of His presence. It was all I could muster after being shattered from the inside out. I found a therapist who helped me process my grief and past and validated that I was going through a major identity shift and healing the core of my being, as well as getting married soon — one massive transition on top of another. Most days it felt like too much for me. I felt crushed beneath the weight of my feelings and felt like I was breaking into so many pieces. As badly as I wanted to just “get to the other side” and get over whatever I was going through and for these negative feelings to stop, it wasn’t like that. God didn’t make it go away or instantly heal me. I was angry with Him about that for a long time. His way was different: He was letting me break. He was letting me die on the inside. He was the one letting me be crushed. He let the darkness feel like it would overwhelm me. But little by little, so gently, a tiny light crept back into my soul as I pushed myself to work through therapy and my own self-work toward inner healing. Slowly, so painfully and slowly, I was becoming whole. I was becoming the true self that was always inside me, but had never had the space to live and breathe with freedom because I was chained by my wounds. And as slowly as the light dawned inside, I began to realize that hope had never left me. In my darkest moments just earlier this year, I kept going, because somehow I knew, despite everything my thoughts and feelings were telling me, that I had not been abandoned, and this pain wasn’t for naught. He showed me, by letting me suffer so profoundly, that God isn’t a Father who is in the business of fixing us, but rather through that breaking down, we can be made more whole. He was after my broken heart all this time, breaking it further so that He could gather it back up and make it entirely whole, new and real. A heart based in reality and freedom, pursuing Him because of love, rather than fear. I couldn’t see Him during most of this; but He was all I had. Whatever darkness I was going through, I had to hold onto something. So I held onto Him, even if I was angry or frustrated doing it. This wasn’t magic. It was an ugly process. I needed therapy badly. I had a lot of work to do myself. Prayer didn’t make it go away, as much as I begged for that. But He allowed it for some reason, and I think it was because He wanted me to be a part of His process of healing me. It was a team effort. It’s not magic; it’s an ongoing healing process. I’m still being remade into something new. I’m still working through therapy and healing old wounds. But as I grieve, light grows brighter than the shadow a little more every day, and I feel like my true self more and more. My thoughts and feelings are managed better, and I know what to do with them after the hard work of rewiring my brain. It’s hard to describe an experience like this to someone who hasn’t been there — what it’s like to heal from things so deeply embedded in my core, to undo the self that I had been before realizing how unhealthy I was. I wouldn’t say I “understand” God any better. But, I know that I’m enough for Him and He’s enough for me. He never has and never will leave me, especially in my suffering, even if my thoughts and feelings tell me otherwise. I don’t have any answers to suffering or mental illness or where God is in all of it as a result of my experience. It’s a mystery. One of my favorite writers, Flannery O’Connor, said, “Evil is not a problem to be solved. It is a mystery to be endured.” How true that’s been in my own experience. But I do know that we’re not alone. None of us are alone. And just because we might suffer from mental illness does not make us broken nor mean we need to be “fixed.” We are inherently good and loved, but it’s okay to feel like we’re broken. It’s okay to not understand and be frustrated with God, just barely holding onto the fact that He’s there with us whenever we feel like the darkness will never end. He will walk with us in anything we feel or experience. Someday we will see the wisdom of His entire plan. We’ll see that His peace is much greater than the absence of inner turmoil. His peace is wholeness. It’s knowing that we can let the broken be there, and trust that He’s healing us as we heal ourselves, that what He wants most for us is to be free, so that we can be free to love. It’s knowing that He’s a Father, who holds his suffering child in His arms while she cries. This is what’s true. And we can always hold onto that. The post A Silent Suffering appeared first on RADIANT.
Five Ways we Benefit from the Most Holy Rosary
As we fought through traffic to deliver the meal post-school pick-up, my oldest asked why we “always” make a meal for a new family. In a subtle way, he was trying to figure out why the baby didn’t get a new toy. His question made me think of the mystery of The Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth The post Five Ways we Benefit from the Most Holy Rosary appeared first on Catholic Sistas. Catholic Sistas - perspective from the neck
New Permanent Deacons for Boston
Hello and welcome! Last Friday, we had one of our regular cabinet meetings, which is a gathering with the heads of the departments of the Archdiocese of Boston to discuss the affairs of the archdiocese. Just as I do with other groups of consultors such as the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council, the Archdiocesan Finance Council, and the Presbyteral Council, we meet periodically to discuss pastoral challenges in the archdiocese, as well as our own programs and plans. We are very blessed to have very competent and talented people in our cabinet who bring valuable ideas and suggestions to our meetings. These meetings also help to keep the various departments informed of what other offices and departments within the archdiocese are doing. Also on Friday, I was visited by Capuchin Bishop Joaquim Ferreira Lopes, who recently retired as the Bishop of Viana, a small diocese in Angola. He is a very interesting man whom I had met in the past at gatherings of Capuchin bishops, but this was his first visit to the States. The bishop has a very interesting story. When he was a brother, before he was ordained a priest, he was sent to Angola as a missionary. He was ordained a priest there at a time that was very challenging — they had been through two wars sparked by the revolution in Portugal and then the Civil War in Angola between Marxist forces and their opposition. He spent his whole life in the missions and was eventually made a bishop. Then, he was sent to found a diocese where there was practically nothing in the way of structure. He was aided by a group of Portuguese immigrants living in Bermuda who gave him extraordinary financial help to establish the diocese. He said he always wanted to visit these people and thank them personally. Well, many of these Portuguese have since relocated to Massachusetts and Rhode Island so, after he retired, he decided to come pay them a visit and thank them for all the support they give. Since he knew he was going to be close to Boston, he stopped by to visit me. I was very happy for his visit. He also brought me the gift of a beautiful Bible. The Capuchins in Portugal have the Difusora Bíblica, and they do a great deal of Biblical catechesis and literature as well as printing Bibles. That evening, I had one of my periodic dinners with a group of our seminarians. Throughout the year, I invite groups of seminarians to join me for Vespers and a meal so that I can get to know them better and listen to their aspirations and concerns. This has always been a very fruitful practice, and I enjoy these gatherings very much. Saturday I had the joy of ordaining nine men to the permanent diaconate at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross: Deacons Alan Amaral, Philip Anderson, Peter Bujwid, Wilfredo Dilan, Ronald Gerwatowski, Bashan Goppee, Antonio Perez, Matthew Porter, and Glenn Smith. In this class, there were ordinands from a number of countries and, in many ways, they are representative of our immigrant Church in Boston. About 40 percent of the Catholics in the archdiocese are immigrants, and in this class we had men from Puerto Rico, Trinidad and El Salvador. This just underscores the value of our permanent diaconate program, having people representing different ethnic and language groups. Just like the first deacons were ordained to be bridge builders and serve the different ethnic groups in the early Church, these men will be doing so for us. That afternoon, I went to St. Luke’s Parish in Belmont to celebrate a Mass to mark the parish’s centennial anniversary. We were very happy to be joined by a number of priests, some of whom had been stationed there and others who were parishioners who were ordained from that parish. It was a lovely celebration and, afterward, there was a very nice reception. A centenary is always a time to thank God for our history but also to recommit ourselves to our future, and I was very happy to join the parishioners for this important event. Also that afternoon, the Greek Orthodox parish just up the street from the cathedral, St. John the Baptist, was holding their annual festival. They had sent some pastries to the rectory, so I walked over to say hello to them. (I told them I had heard they were giving free meals to Metropolitan Methodios look-alikes!) While I was there, they gave me a tour of the church and I met some of the leadership there, including Father Ted Barbas who, besides being the pastor, is also the Chancellor of the Metropolis. The church was built originally as a Protestant church, then it was a synagogue and now most recently it is Greek Orthodox. I had never had a chance to be inside before, and it was wonderful to be able to see it. Sunday, I went to St. Elizabeth Parish in Milton for our annual Mass for sisters in the archdiocese who are celebrating their jubilees. We are so grateful to have Sister Germana serving as our new delegate for religious. She has taken over for Sister Marian Batho, who served in that capacity so well for so long. Sister Germana addressed us at the beginning of Mass and, in my homily, I spoke to the sisters about the joys of religious life. During the Mass, the jubilarians renewed their religious vows. At the end of the Mass we heard a very lovely reflection on religious life by Sister Peggy Sullivan, who works in our Tribunal. Afterward, we took photos with the jubilarians and then the parish very graciously hosted a dinner for the sisters in the parish hall. Monday, we had a meeting here at the Pastoral Center for all the pastors in the archdiocese who have Catholic schools in their parish. It was a chance for our new superintendent of schools, Thomas Carroll, to address them and to speak about his ideas concerning the importance of leadership and how the Schools Office is going to begin to train and prepare more people for leadership in our schools. We also heard from Peter Lynch who, for over 25 years, has been a staunch supporter of our Catholic schools and, through the work of the Catholic Schools Foundation, has raised millions of dollars of scholarships for children in our Catholic schools. He gave a beautiful witness of his faith and stressed the great impact that Catholic schools can have on the lives of young people. Throughout the meeting, there was great emphasis put on the importance of promoting the Catholic identity of our schools while, at the same time, maintaining academic excellence. These are the two elements that will allow our Catholic schools to progress and to flourish. If we do not have a strong Catholic identity and academic excellence our schools will disappear. Another very important theme that was stressed was the importance of quality leadership, which is so crucial for the success of a Catholic school. Later that day, I met with the Hispanic ministry team of the archdiocese, which is a group of people in the Pastoral Center who are involved in ministry to Hispanics and other immigrant groups. At this meeting, we discussed the follow-up to the V Encuentro and also the need for resources for different ministries. Wednesday, we had one of our semiannual meetings of the bishops of the Boston Province. These meetings are always an opportunity to discuss common pastoral issues and challenges. At this meeting, we spent a great deal of time preparing for the ad limina visit, which is the visit that bishops are required to make every five years to the Vatican to report on the status of their diocese. When we go to Rome, we will have to divide up and visit different dicasteries, and so we needed to decide who was going to be the spokesperson in each of those meetings. Wednesday evening was the annual Lawn Party to benefit Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary in Weston. As always, we had a large and very enthusiastic group of supporters come out to show their support of the seminary. We were also very happy to be joined by former rectors Father Bill Palardy, Msgr. Dennis Sheehan, Msgr. Connie McRae and Bishop Peter Uglietto, as well as several of the bishops of the region including Bishop Rosinski and Bishop McManus. As we do each year, during the evening, we heard a witness talk by one of the seminarians. This year we heard from Deacon Peter Okajima, of the Class of 2020. Deacon Okajima’s parents came to the United States from Japan after World War II. His father was Buddhist and his mother was Shinto, but they wanted their children to assimilate into Western culture, so they did not practice or encourage religion. Deacon Okajima entered the Catholic Church as an adult. At that time he was married with two children and enjoying a career in finance, but he still felt called to a deeper relationship with Christ. After his marriage was annulled and their children grew up, he answered the call to the priesthood, and his bishop sent him to Pope St. John XXIII. We also heard from the rector, Father Brian Kiely, and I also addressed the group as well. As I always like to say, in all four dioceses where have served, I have been blessed to have priests who were formed at Pope John XXIII. I am sure that if that seminary did not exist, many of those men would never have found their way to ordination. The seminary has given extraordinary service to our Church, and we are very grateful that so many people came out to support this ministry. Finally, yesterday, we had a reception to honor the three of our newly ordained permanent deacons with ties to the Pastoral Center – Peter Bujwid, who works in our IT department; Glenn Smith, who works in our Parish Financial Services department; and Matt Porter, whose wife Donna works in our Benefits Department. (At the gathering I made the announcement of my new policy: Anyone at the Pastoral Center that sends a man to the diaconate program or their son to the seminary will get a raise!) We had quite a cake for them! It was a wonderful gathering, and we are happy that so many of our staff came out to congratulate our new deacons. Until next week, Cardinal Seán