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As we move into summer, the time of year when many of us have a break from the normal routine, here are a few suggestions to help you rest, relax and be renewed.
 
Try a walking meditation… This is not just taking a walk. This is a walk where you focus on listening to and directing the movements of your body. A walking meditation practice allows a quiet, focused mind to become an integral part of your life. If walking is not an option for you, apply the same principles to how you do move. Our bodies respond and react to sloping pathways, pebbles beneath our feet, and branches that have pushed through the sidewalk. God created our bodies to adapt and adjust to these changes. Attend to the marvelous gift from God that your body is. May you be blessed and amazed at the profound gift of your body.
 
Be inspired… Read a paragraph, a chapter, or the entire The Joy of the Gospel by Pope Francis. This wonderful reminder of who Jesus is and how the Gospel finds life in today’s world – in ourselves and in and with others. It inspires and confirms the life of Christ alive and well in you.
 
Visit other Catholic communities… No matter where we go on the planet, the Eucharistic celebration is the same. The language may be different or some rituals may be adapted for the culture, but Jesus is the same. When you are away from home, take the time to see how vast, unique, and connected we are as the People of God, the universal church, the Catholic community.
 
In this Ordinary Time of our Liturgical Year, may you enjoy the extraordinary love and faithfulness of God.
 
Anne Scanlan is a member of the RENEW staff, serves on the Why Catholic? team, and is an exceptional liturgist.

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Have you noticed how God has a way of leading us through various adventures in life which can allow us to make connections with special people? Most of the people I hold dearest in my life I met in interesting ways.
 
I have a new friend. I met him just this week, and I already sense a spiritual connection to him. One of the unique things about him is that he died when I was just a few weeks old. I now have a better appreciation of the communion of saints we profess in the Apostles’ Creed.
 
On a recent trip to New York I found myself praying in a chapel. I noticed several prayer cards bearing the photo of a priest about my age with the title Servant of God, Naval Chaplain, Fr. Vincent Capodanno, MM.
 
Servant of God. That really caught my attention and my interest. That’s what I want to be. That’s what I strive to do each day. I don’t always do it well, but it’s the core of what I hope to accomplish each day as I wake up and begin anew. Also, as a veteran, I was curious to learn more about Fr. Vincent’s story. I keep one of his prayer cards on my desk now for inspiration.
 
I learned that Fr. Vincent served as a military chaplain in the Vietnam War. In conducting his ministry to the dying troops on the battlefield Fr. Vincent was wounded himself but refused medical care as he urgently kept working. An infantryman who was wounded and assisted by Fr. Vincent recalls hearing this priest exhort him, “Stay calm, Marine. Someone will be here to help soon. God is with us all here today.”
 
Fr. Vincent volunteered and gave all he could to serve and minister to his troops. In fact, he gave even his life while protecting a fallen comrade in 1967. Isn’t that a profound example of what Jesus taught?
 
My new spiritual friend, Fr. Vincent Capodanno, was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor and a cause for his beatification has been initiated. Books, videos, and websites abound about his selfless commitment, bravery, and holiness. The impact this Servant of God had on those he served is evidenced by testimony of people who admitted that they would have been willing to die in his place.
 
God led me all the way to New York to meet my new spiritual friend from Staten Island. He, in turn, has taught me the priceless value of selfless service and to always remember that “God is with us all here today.”
 
Where is God leading you today?
 
View a rare video of Fr. Vincent Capodanno serving on duty.
 
Portrait of Fr. Capodanno by Sharon Clossick.
 
Christopher Burns is a member of RENEW International’s Resources and Publications team.

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“Is that all there is?” asks the song of the ‘60s. It is a fact that so many are longing for more—more time, more peace, more health, etc. What is it that you long for? Lent is a time when Catholics traditionally have fasted and prayed with the hope that they would have time to think about the more important things in life. Why not try something different for Lent? In your parish, you can have the opportunity to gather in small groups of eight to ten people, once a week for six weeks starting the week of Ash Wednesday. When the small groups gather, members read Scripture, pray, and share their faith. This experience can provide more than you can imagine. You will not be sorry.
 
Is your heart ready to be changed? Lent is a time to change one’s heart. That is not an easy thing to do. Jesus, in the midst of activity, always took time for silence and prayer; we realize how important it is for us to do the same. Why not take some time this Lent for quiet, prayer, and sharing in a small community? The change you will find will be well worth the time.
 
Why small groups? That is a reasonable question as we live in a culture that is so inclined to the philosophy of individualism. There are two reasons:
 
First, small groups are biblical. Jesus chose his small group—the apostles
(Mark 3:14-15).
 
Members of the early church followed Jesus’ example. They gathered regularly in their homes for small-group fellowship (Acts 2:42).
 
The Apostle John stressed group fellowship (1 John 1:7). The Greek word John used for fellowship, koinonia, means much more than a kind of social interaction occurring in many fellowship halls or at church potluck suppers. It is a very intimate, life-sharing type of association. Koinonia is the sort of in-depth camaraderie Jesus shared with his disciples.
 
Second, scholars recommend small groups as extremely beneficial. For most of history, group life was a given. But in today’s fast-paced global society, the culture is very different. Community scholars concur in describing people in contemporary society as alienated, rootless, lonely, and lacking a sense of belonging. This is heightened because most of us will never get back to the extended family, the parish, and the village of our earlier lives. That’s why there is such a proliferation of support groups in our country for all kinds of causes—a positive development that speaks of the human need to be in community. Sociological studies and scholarly opinions support this.
 
For example, pastoral psychologist Robert Leslie says:
 
God is not found in objective law, in sterile formulas, in impersonal rules. God is found in participation, in involvement, in celebration. God is found in relationships, in encounters, in the joys and sorrows of human experience, in the give and take of dialogue. In the miracle of relatedness we discover that we are no longer strangers, but members together in a household, bound together in common loyalty to God.
 
What happens in small groups? In many church small groups the participants share their experiences in trying to understand and live the Word of God. They experience an openness to talk about the more important things in their lives—to listen and care, to provide support and strength. Group members experience sufficient freedom to be themselves without judgment from others. From such openness and acceptance, including prayer for one another, they experience a powerful kind of bonding or warmth that brings growth and change—a feeling of being rejuvenated.
 

Fr. Abraham Orapankal is pastor of St. John Neumann Parish, Califon, NJ. He is a member of the RENEW International Board of Trustees. Previously, Fr. Orapankal was a member of the RENEW International
Pastoral Services Team.

 
 
 
What People Are Saying About Lenten Longings
 
Here are some testimonies from men and women who have experienced
Lenten Longings:
 
Lenten Longings helped our family connect with cousins, siblings, and each other. We especially enjoyed the trust we built as a group and the singing we shared. We learned more about the importance of reading Scripture before Mass and felt more prepared for Easter as a family. Lenten Longings pushed us out of our comfort zones and challenged us to commit to action in our lives. God always gives us what we need. He provided this tie of fellowship so we could see him at work in our home and in our hearts.”
 
“The sharing of faith, family, and God’s presence in our lives is already making a positive difference in our daily activities.”
 
“We are a lively group. I am deeply impressed by the quality of the members’ responses which I find highly spiritual and thought-provoking. We have had such a profound spiritual experience; we now feel we have a much closer tie with the parish community, with each other, and most specially a greater love for our God.”
 
“The faith sharing has been very helpful in that the readings become more relevant and actionable when discussed from different viewpoints. These are some of the actions that our group has put based on the Lenten Longings experience:
-Greet someone new at church on Sundays. Stay a little longer after Mass to talk
to people.
-Send in food items that are in high demand at the St. Vincent de Paul food pantry.
-Volunteer as a group at the food pantry where a team member volunteers.
-Prepare a meal as a group for the Women’s Shelter.”

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I have been reading a wonderful book titled The Healing Wisdom of Africa by Malidoma Patrice Somé. In his reflections, the author shares his belief that nature, ritual, and community must work together in order for any one of them to be effective.
 
In Somé’s village of Dagara in Burkina Faso, when a woman announces that she is pregnant everyone gets excited. He writes, “Everyone asks, ‘Why is this person being sent to us at this time? What gifts will this person have that our community needs?’ A special ritual is held to answer those questions.”
 
I could not help but reflect on how the spirit of this ritual would resonate within the celebration of the sacrament of baptism in our parishes. What if when a baptism is celebrated within a Sunday Mass setting we asked ourselves, “Why is this person coming into our parish? What gifts will this person bring? What gifts have we to offer this person?” What a world of possibilities would open before us. This child, young person, or adult, holds great promise for the life of our parish.
 
So rather than sit back and groan that the Mass is taking longer than usual, let’s pray for the newly baptized and his or her family members. Let’s ask ourselves how we will support this new life coming into the parish. What an opportunity!
 
Sister Pat is a member of the RENEW staff, a Dominican Sister, and loves working with Young Adults as the program manager of Theology on Tap.

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Respect Life MonthOctober is Respect Life Month, when we are called to reflect on life, the right to life for the unborn and, in the big picture, the right to life for all human beings.
 
We must do all we can to end the evil of abortion. We need to be aware of the leaders in our country who do not see abortion as an evil in our society and urge them as often as possible to create a society that does not accept abortion as an answer. We need to offer prayers every day for women who feel faced with the decision to end their pregnancies so that they will be strong enough to refuse abortion or to see abortion as their only option.
 
We must do all we can to maintain a world where human life in all its stages is respected and given its full dignity. We need to be alert and more conscious of laws—local, state, national and international—which concern human and civil rights in any way. We must seek justice in all aspects of society to sustain healthy ways of living, solid educational opportunities, and affordable basics so that all people may live with dignity.
 
In October, we need to turn to Matthew 25:35-36 and bring these words to life in our world today.
 

“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.”
New American Bible

 
Sister Pat is a member of the RENEW staff, a Dominican Sister, and loves working with Young Adults as the program manager of Theology on Tap.

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“And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me…See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.” —Matthew 18: 5, 10
 
When I read that Gospel passage recently, it reminded me of how God had been present in a humbling experience I had just a week before.
 
Every summer we gather for a month or more at our family lake cottages. Every year, dozens of family members and friends pass through to enjoy the beautiful place and each other’s company. But in recent years there has been one member, my nine-year-old niece, whose precocious personality has gotten under my skin, causing me stress and anger. I have gotten to the point of dreading her “attitude” and steeling myself against it.
 
At the beginning of the season this year, my wife and I were sharing our hopes, plans, and expectations for the summer and, of course, the subject of my niece came up. For some reason my wife does not share my struggle. I have watched her in amazement as she patiently directs and affirms my niece without one harsh word. My wife admonished me to try to be kind and patient with the child, reminding me that “after all she’s only nine.” I knew she was right. For goodness sake, I am in my 50s. I should be able to handle this situation.
 
When the family had come together at the lake, I found myself pulling a dozen or so of my nieces and nephews in groups of three on a large inner tube for a wild ride behind a boat. My nine-year-old niece, who had just finished a long ride and was now sitting right next to me, continued to ask for another ride—not once or twice but five times! I could feel the anger rising, but then I remembered my conversation with my wife. So I took a deep breath and said a very quick prayer and decided to address the situation in a new way.
 
I throttled back the engine and the boat coasted to a stop. I turned to face my niece and heard myself speaking very slowly and deliberately, trying not to let the years of pent-up frustration verbally blow her away. I explained calmly that I was the kind of person who, if you asked me something once and I didn’t say “no” then the answer would probably be “yes,” but if you keep asking me two, three, four, or five times, that “yes” would definitely be a “no.” At that, my little niece stood up with great concern on her face and pleaded, “Oh, Uncle Greg, can you forget the last four times I asked?”
 
I couldn’t help but laugh at her innocent sincerity, and my heart melted a little bit. I actually began to see her as she is—“nine going on twenty” and very gifted with self-awareness and tremendous verbal skills. Ever since that moment, our relationship changed and I began to see her as a precocious and lovely little girl. When the end of the vacation came, I actually found it sad to say goodbye to her most of all.
 
A week later, when I read the passage from Matthew’s Gospel, it struck me how Christ presented himself to me through my niece and called me to greater patience and kindness. “Whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me”.
 
Greg Kremer is one of the senior members of RENEW International’s staff, working to expand RENEW’s ministry both domestically and internationally.

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I love driving to work these days. The flowering trees, the tiny green buds of leaves, daffodils and petunias popping out of the ground, baby animals tripping through the woods with their moms, kids walking to school without coats or heavy boots—these and more are signs of new life and new possibilities. It is easy now to believe that life is good, that all is not hopeless in spite of the tragedies that have occurred recently. It is not impossible to believe that life is holy and special. It is easier to see the blessings of life.
 
Yet how do we see our world most days? If our view comes only through our very human vision, then phrases such as “suicide bombers,” “weapons of mass destruction,” “global warming,” “bullying,” “human trafficking,” and images of places like Auschwitz, Rwanda, Columbine, Newtown, Ground Zero, and now Boston support a vision of the world as frightening, ugly, unhealthy, violent and sin filled. Our vision is dimmed by the human frailty we all carry within us. It gives us the sense that whatever we see is fleeting, no good thing can last very long, and there is probably something not so good just waiting around the next turn.
 
What we need is a sacramental vision, the ability to see life in all its promise. The basis of a sacramental vision is the fundamental notion that all life is sacred and holy. We experience so much pain in our world that we can easily lose sight of the graces waiting for us. A sacramental vision encourages and guides us to seek opportunities to experience healing. It helps us to be more aware and alert to the grace-filled moments that we might otherwise overlook. These are the moments that strengthen us when things go wrong, mistakes are made, and problems persist.
 
A sacramental vision does not come naturally. This kind of vision comes through our spiritual lives, through faith nourished by prayer, and participation in the saving graces of baptism, Eucharist, reconciliation, and taking every opportunity to build hope and peace in our lives. Participation in the rituals of our faith strengthens our vision and maintains hope in the midst of difficult events.
 
Here’s what I know. We will remain blind to true hope until we accept God’s grace in our life. We will remain in a kind of fog until we accept our need to rely on God and God’s promise which has been fulfilled through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. What do you think?
 
Sister Pat is a member of the RENEW staff, a Dominican Sister, and loves working with Young Adults as the program manager of Theology on Tap.

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At the back of RENEW International’s Advent Awakenings, Appendix 4 describes the Eastern European custom of sharing the opłatek on Christmas Eve. Although I am “Prisco” by birth and “Capurso” by marriage, my strongest ethnic identity is the gift of my mother’s Polish-American family, the Kakoleski’s, and the opłatek tradition congers up many, many years of warm Christmas memories.

In true Polish tradition, Christmas Eve is actually of greater importance than Christmas Day. The opłatek wafer is the “appetizer” before the Christmas Eve meal, known as “Wigilia” or “the vigil” anticipating the birth of the Baby Jesus. No other food is eaten until the opłatek is shared.

Before the meal, the white, Communion-like wafer, usually embossed with a Christmas scene, is broken into pieces, one for each family member. Beginning with the two oldest, originally Grandma and Grandpa, each breaks off a bit of the other’s wafer and they exchange a blessing or wish for the coming year, and a kiss or embrace. Custom dictates that the pieces be saved and eaten only after everyone has shared with the whole family, but I do recall us children being a little too impatient to wait to have our “communion.” The sharing of the opłatek is also a time to reconcile differences and remember those who have gone before us.

The Wigilia meal is traditionally a meatless one. Meals vary from family to family but usually include a special soup (pea soup with sauerkraut and mushrooms at our house) followed by a number of fish dishes, vegetables, pierogi, and fruit.

As my grandparents got older, the Wigilia baton was passed to my mother. Now it has come to my sister and me. Grandma and Grandpa are long gone, but the tradition continues, albeit a slightly Americanized one, and I’m sure that’s fine with them.

What’s important is that we still come together as a family to prepare to welcome our Lord and to pause to express what we mean to each other. That’s what counts, what makes Wigilia so special to me.

So as we gather with our families and friends on Christmas Eve, I wish you “Wesolych swiat!” Merry Christmas!

Susan Capurso is a RENEW International staff member and an avid New York Yankees fan.

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Flo Consiglio, the “Pizza Woman of New Haven,” recently passed away, and the town mourned. The local paper carried tributes to her on the front page for at least two days and provided a place for people to send in even more tributes online.
 
I know the name might give you the idea that she was one of those “local town characters.” Yes, she was local and a character, but she was a well-known business woman, who started an incredible pizza business with her husband and then carried it on after his death.
 
Why was she so well known? The pizza from Sally’s Pizzeria was and still is, hands down, the best. But it was a whole lot more than that. Flo knew how to make everyone feel important. Politicians and actors came to Sally’s; moms, pops, and their kids came to Sally’s; priests and sisters came to Sally’s; they ate right alongside each other, and they all received the same treatment. Although I have to admit that when the sisters came in, Flo never took our orders. She served us the kind of pizza and the amount of pizza that she wanted to serve. She would always tell us, “You are in charge in your classrooms; I am in charge at Sally’s.” We never rejected anything she served us!
 
She had people working in the restaurant who might not have gotten jobs in other places, and they were all treated as her family. It was sometimes hard to tell who were her natural-born children and who had been legally adopted over the years. They all worked hard, they sweated, and they loved their work. Love was one of the most important things in that restaurant. Whenever anyone walked in, they were overwhelmed with the feeling of family and community. And faith was crucial. Everything that Flo did was a prayer for her family, her friends, and her customers.
 
Flo did not make the pizzas, so even though she’s gone the pies will follow the same recipe and will taste the same. But without Flo, there will be something missing that those of us who return there will have to provide for each other.
 
Will we have the love and the faith of Flo to continue her legacy?
 
Sister Pat is a member of the RENEW staff, a Dominican Sister, and loves working with Young Adults as the program manager of Theology on Tap.

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The Voice has grown in popularity to become one of the most watched reality TV programs. It seems to have even outdistanced American Idol, a program, which like The Voice is now seeking a new musical judge from the country and western genre.
 
Both TV shows have many fans and lots of publicity, but it is their basic premise that has piqued my interest. These programs have found a way to give people their voice and share it with millions, if not billions, of others around the world. The people on these shows express themselves in the voices they have been given to enrich the musical world.
 
During the month of August, the Church celebrated several voices that have spoken with great power in her history. They are the “rock stars” in our Church today – St. Dominic, St. Alphonsus of Ligouri, St. Rose of Lima, St. Edith Stein, St. Maximilian Kolbe. All of these holy people shared their voices with the whole world so that God’s Word could be heard in all of its glory. They believed what they preached and they lived as they spoke. Behind their words were their actions, and within their actions was the Word.
 
For each of them, it was all about being a witness, a witness to God’s saving acts in our everyday lives. It should still be like that today. If we do not use our voices to proclaim these acts to others, how can others grow in their faith? So, as we reflect on the lives of these holy men and women, we can ask ourselves, “What kind of witness am I?”
 
Sister Pat is a member of the RENEW staff, a Dominican Sister, and loves working with Young Adults as the program manager of Theology on Tap.


 
 

As I checked out my calendar, I discovered that July is blueberry month, hot dog month, and ice cream month. It seems that every day of the month is dedicated to something, for example, sidewalk egg frying day or build a scarecrow day. Every day that is, except July 16.
 
Yet, July 16 is really a very special day. It is the celebration of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
 
Our Lady of Mount Carmel is the patroness of the Carmelite Order. The Church has long recognized the special relationship between this group and the Blessed Mother, which is represented by the brown scapular Carmelites wear. The scapular has a threefold significance: it is a sign of membership in the order; it is a sign of devotion and trust in the Immaculate Heart of Mary; and it is a sign of a willingness and dedication to live by the example of Mary in her fidelity and dependence on God in everything.
 
That last sign is one that we should all apply to our own lives. Each day we should examine how deep our faith is becoming in the midst of the craziness of everyday life. We may hesitate to compare ourselves to Mary, as she was sinless. However, Mary was human, and her life was hardly perfect. She was not among the rich and she was not highly educated. She was not famous until the birth of her Son and, in fact, would have been scorned and stoned by society as an unwed mother if it were not for Joseph.
 
What truly set her apart from the rest of us was her unwavering faith. This was not a faith that depended on success, a faith that would grow only if Mary always got what she wanted and felt as if she were in control of her life. Mary never faltered.
 
This day in July is dedicated to Mary’s wonderful sense of commitment and fidelity. Just as the Carmelites dedicate their lives to being faithful to their vocation and ask Mary to guard that fidelity, so, too, must we ask Mary to keep us faithful in the midst of our times of doubt and fear.
 
PETITION PRAYER TO OUR LADY OF MOUNT CARMEL
Oh, most beautiful flower of Mt. Carmel, fruitful vine, splendor of Heaven,
Blessed Mother of the Son of God, Immaculate Virgin, assist me in my
necessity. O Star of the Sea, help me and show me here you are my mother.
O Holy Mary Mother of God, Queen of Heaven and earth, I humbly beg you
from the bottom of my heart to hear my request (add your request).
There are none who can withstand your power.
Holy Mary, I place this prayer in your hands. Amen.
 
Sister Pat is a member of the RENEW staff, a Dominican Sister, and loves working with Young Adults as the program manager of Theology on Tap.

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“Our Lord tells us to repay evil with good.” St. Boniface spoke these words on the day he was martyred in eighth-century Germany. As he faced death, he was able to recall the mercy and compassion of God and to offer a spirit of forgiveness to those who took his life. Why did he have to die? Mostly because he took a view of life that differed from the view of those who did not believe in God. He confronted those who disagreed and then allowed them to take his life.
 
St. Boniface is a model of what we mean when we say that following Christ is following the way of the Cross. He lived a life of humble service and risked everything in the name of God. Most of us have not had to face the extreme choice of either denying our faith or dying for it, but each day we are asked to grow stronger in our faith in the midst of a society that wants us to be more successful, richer, stronger, and more powerful than anyone or anything. When we fall short of those expectations we face ridicule and embarrassment.
 
God calls for us to be loving and caring, humble and prudent, just and merciful. When we fall short of those expectations what do we face?
 
June 5th is the feast day of St. Boniface in the Church calendar. As we celebrate his life, let us reflect on how we can repay evil in our own lives with good. Kind words go a long way, and gestures of reconciliation can lead to a change in the way someone responds to a situation. These are not the ways of the world, but we know that they are God’s ways. Could they truly be our ways?
 
Sister Pat is a member of the RENEW staff, a Dominican Sister, and loves working with Young Adults as the program manager of Theology on Tap.

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It has been said, “If you want to make God laugh, tell God your plans”.
 
I am reminded of the story of the Israelites in the days of the Judges. In the First Book of Samuel, the newest judges, who just happen to be Samuel’s sons, are highly corrupt and unfair. The people demand a king rather than live under the guidance of these judges. When Samuel goes to God with the people’s demand, he expresses a personal sense of failure. God tells him that the people are not rejecting Samuel; they are rejecting God as their king. God explains very clearly what would happen if a king was put in place, and the news is not good. Even so, the people reject God’s words and continue to demand a king, so God relents and agrees to let the people have a king.
 
God does not give up on the people and make them sink or swim by their own devices. God does not let the failures of the kings destroy the people. God holds them all close and watches them carefully. He sends them what they need when the days grow dark during the reigns of some of their kings.
 
God does not want our plans to fail, but sometimes we put too much of “us” into them. No prayer, no reflection; it is all about whatever we want to do and when we want to do it. If the plans fail, we never understand why.
 
I don’t think that God laughs at us when we make plans. God is not sadistic or cynical about us. God loves us. So when our plans go awry, God is there with arms open to tell us it is time to start over and put in the missing piece — God. As we make our plans, major and minor, let us keep our own hearts and minds open to accept God’s direction. Let us be willing to listen to the wisdom of the prophets in our lives today who can share God’s words with us. Let us be willing to change our plans, to let go, and to let God!
 
Sister Pat is a member of the RENEW staff, a Dominican Sister, and loves working with Young Adults as the program manager of Theology on Tap.

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I was listening to a press conference the other day, and a prominent politician spoke to the notion that we in America have lost our sense of hope. He was primarily referring to the economic state of our nation with the lack of jobs, the state of politics in our country, etc. This led him to ask the questions, “Where is there any hope? How can we have hope?” It made me wonder what kind of hope he meant. Is it the hope for material prosperity and success, the kind of hope that does not hang on anything larger than life?
 
If our sources of success and prosperity are limited to the human resources around us, we are doomed to failure. If all that we do depends on ourselves alone, there can be no hope— no hope of tolerance, no hope of peace, no hope of joy or happiness. Our efforts will achieve some things, but those things will not last if we do not ever acknowledge that we can achieve them fully only with the help of God.
 
We live in a world that is hurting and in need of healing. That healing must go beyond the material, pain-free existence that we are led to believe only money can buy. The healing we need comes from the joy and wonder of the resurrection, the promise that life is good because it is God’s gift to us and the promise of eternal life that has been fulfilled through Jesus’ resurrection.
 
We hear people tell stories of a tornado that destroyed their home or a fire that ripped through a neighborhood leaving many homeless. Yet, even as the survivors tell of their terrible experiences, they reflect, in gratitude, that no lives were lost, and they share the hope that they can rebuild. Where does that spirit come from if not from a sense that they are not alone and helpless?
 
In this season of Easter, how can we not live in hope? Our hope comes from the power of the resurrection and its promise of eternal life. The magnificence of the Father’s love poured out on us through the Son and the wonders of the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that guide us in our choices are the gifts we need to maintain hope that goes beyond our everyday lives. If we bring that hope into our lives, they will never be just ordinary or humdrum. They will be ALLELUIA days!
 
Scripture tells us that our hope comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth! Praise be to Jesus Christ who did not leave us alone and hopeless but restored us to lives of joy and gladness through the power of his life, death, and resurrection.
 
Sister Pat is a member of the RENEW staff, a Dominican Sister, and loves working with Young Adults as the program manager of Theology on Tap.

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By trade he was a carpenter. Though he himself was never rich, he came from royal lineage, most notably David, the greatest king of Israel. He was a compassionate and caring man who saw marriage to his pregnant fiancée as more important than allowing the laws of the day to prevail, and thus he kept Mary from being stoned to death. He was a man of faith with great respect for God, and thus he changed his plans to quietly divorce Mary after the wedding when he heard God’s message, “Do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:20-21).
 
He loved his family and died surrounded by their loving presence. His feast day is today, March 19. He is considered the patron of the universal Catholic Church, fathers, social justice, and a happy death.
 
The man is St. Joseph, a man whose life’s story is relatively unknown, even in Scripture. Still, he plays a large role in the history of the Catholic Church and in the lives of the people who honor him. Considering the decision he was faced with, Joseph’s faith was most profound, and he is an example of faith for all of us.
 
We learn from those who came before us. Joseph teaches us that a deep faith allows us to be open to God’s Word, to make the difficult decisions to follow God’s Word, and to know that God will be with us when we act on those decisions. That is what faith is all about.
 
PRAYER TO ST. JOSEPH
Oh, St. Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God, I place in you all my interest and desires.
 
Oh, St. Joseph, do assist me by your powerful intercession, and obtain for me from your divine Son all spiritual blessings, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. So that, having engaged here below your heavenly power, I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of Fathers.
 
Oh, St. Joseph, I never weary of contemplating you, and Jesus asleep in your arms; I dare not approach while He reposes near your heart. Press Him close in my name and kiss His fine head for me and ask Him to return the Kiss when I draw my dying breath.
 
St. Joseph, Patron of departing souls – Pray for me.”
 
Sister Pat is a member of the RENEW staff, a Dominican Sister, and loves working with Young Adults as the program manager of Theology on Tap.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

 
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