Picture credit to JP Sonnen at Orbis Catholicvs
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Picture credit to JP Sonnen at Orbis Catholicvs
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
And these are pictures of the Chapel my very good friend, Br. Gary Cregan, OSF, is building at St. Anthony's High School on Long Island based on the Fuentiduena Chapel at the cloisters...
How does this relate to vocations you ask? God willing you are called to the priesthood or religious life - please do everything in your powerful to build beautiful Chapels and Churches!
Sunday, May 20, 2007
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
"(Restoration! Yes, but only to pose for a photograph!) SAINT BENEDICT, MONKS, SHARP OBJECTS, ALCOHOL"
St. Benedict died on 21 March A.D. 547. Back in the sixth century, monks wore knives at the belt like everyone else. The knife was a multi-purpose tool for both eating and working. At some point during the one and a half millennia since the life of St. Benedict, monks discontinued the wearing of a knife.How cool it would be if the Benedictine habit still included a knife at the belt! Make mine a Ka-Bar! Actually a short medieval dagger would be more in keeping with the habit.Here’s what St. Benedict had to say about monks and knives.
Chapter 55: On the Clothes and Shoes of the Brethren.... And in order that this vice of private ownership may be cut out by the roots, the Abbot should provide all the necessary articles— hooded garment, tunic, stockings, shoes, belt, knife, stylus, needle, handkerchief, writing tablets— that all pretext of need may be taken away.
Chapter 22: How the Monks Should Sleep.... Let them sleep clothed and girded with belts or cords, but not with their knives at their sides, lest they cut themselves in their sleep.Whenever St. Benedict expressly prohibits or discourages something, I’m sure he does so because he finds it necessary. From experience.Here’s something similar.
Chapter 40: On the Measure of Drink.... We read it is true, that wine is by no means a drink for monks; but since the monks of our day cannot be persuaded of this let us at least agree to drink sparingly and not to satiety, because "wine makes even the wise fall away".- - - -
Fr. Stephanos writes more about the Clothing of Monks...
Click HERE for it.
Monday, May 14, 2007
My apoligies. It's been one of those days. Sometimes the relativism of our day is a bit much. That and perhaps I've seen one too many hip, pandering vocations ads. Nothing like the bones of 4,ooo of your friar predecessors to let you know what your vocation is all about, and what awaits you at the end of your days. If this isn't a humbling and startling visual wake up call, in regards to storing up your treasure on earth, I don't know what is.
Something tells me these guys didn't sign on because of a trendy marketing campaign. It also doesn't look like they were experiencing much of a vocations crisis.
This reminds me of a story I read about the Trappists (Voices of Silence by Frank Bianco). A journalist visiting the monastery Notre Dame de Melleray in France, asked the Abbot about the cemetery and why there were so few grave markers considering their lengthy history. He wondered where the rest of the monks were buried. This is the author's exchange with the Abbot...
"Oh, yes," he said, smiling. "Yes, I see. Missing. No, all our monks are there. No one is missing." It would not do, he explained, to have the cemetery growing endlessly. If a monk died, they would open up the oldest grave, gather any bones that remained, put them in a cardboard box, and position the box beneath the head of the monk who was to be buried.
"So the dead monk becomes his brother's pillow," I suggested.
"Pillow?" Dom Jacques asked, reaching for his dictionary. "Pillow, pillow," he repeated, holding the unknown word in mind as he searched for its French translation. "Ah, yes. Oreiller - pillow. that's right," he said, grinning at the growth of his vocabulary. "Pillow. When I die, my brother who never knew me, will be my...," he glanced back at the dictionary, "pillow, and eventually, we will both be the... pillow...for a monk neither of us ever knew."
But although monastery archives fixed the resting place of all the monks who had been buried, he added only the name of the last-buried monk would be listed on the cross that marked their graves [keep in mind the name on the marker was their religious name, their birth name was long gone-B.W.]. Given the goal of the monk's existence, he said, even that degree of record was superfluous.
"After all, it's only necessary that we be known and remembered by God."
Sunday, May 13, 2007
The Diocese of Lexington has put together a compilation video of several other videos...
Hat tip to EJ Video Place - Catholic
Saturday, May 12, 2007
What Vocation crisis???
"Tomorrow, while most teens will be preparing for proms, dances and perhaps a graduation or two, there are 39 young men registered for the High School Discernment Day at Mount St. Mary's Seminary here in Cincinnati. We've been doing this day for the last few years, and before I was the Vocation Director, I would help out with confessions and other aspects. What's new this year, though, is the shear number. 39 is at least double, and closer to triple the usual number that we have had at this gathering. The only reason we've had such a rise in numbers this year over previous years is that the seminarians have been very generous with their time in sharing their vocation stories to so many high schoolers. Please pray for the young men gathering tomorrow, as well as all those called to serve as priests and religious."
Friday, May 11, 2007
As 21st century American parents, we put a great deal of focus on preparing our children for the future, be it through visually stimulating baby toys, memory-enhancing music lessons, or intelligence boosting tutoring. Before any of these earthly things can be of aid to our children, however, we must first prepare the soil of their souls to know that God has a vision, a use for their abilities that far transcends résumé building. As Catholic parents, it is our distinct privilege not only to prepare the soil, but also to plant and nurture the seeds of God's vision for their lives and to help them make His vision their own. The phrase commonly used for internalizing this vision is "discerning one's vocation."
When my husband and I began the soil tilling or the discernment process with our children, the first challenge we faced was one of language. What, exactly, was meant by the term "vocation?" Originating from the Latin verb, "vocare," meaning "to call," when the Catholic Church refers to a "vocation" it is referring to the voice of God calling each of us to a specific state of life as adults. The confusing part of the term, "vocation," is that it is sometimes misused to isolate only those individuals who have chosen the consecrated life of a priest, or of a religious sister or brother. It is important to understand that every Catholic person has a vocation. Each of us is called by God to play a specific part in his kingdom here on earth where "there is diversity of ministry but unity of mission" (CCC 873).
Painting with the broadest brush possible, there are three vocational states of life: remaining single and celibate, entering consecrated religious life, or getting married. Around the warmth of our hearth, we need to share with our children that God's vision for their life could include any of the three states, and that it is their adventure to go out and look and listen for God's vocation for them through a process called discernment.
Sr. Kathleen Rooney, SSJ writes in her book, Sisters, An Inside Look, "I consider discernment to be 'thinking with God.'" Discernment is more than just deciding. It encompasses praying, weighing options with those who know us well, visiting with those who are living in specific vocational states, inventorying our natural abilities, and waiting in expectant silence for the guiding voice of the Holy Spirit.
Because we want to be the best parents possible, it is easy for us to get swept into the cultural expectations of what our children must have and do to be successful grownups. We may even be tempted to slide the spiritual preparation God asks us to give them to the bottom of the "to-do" list because God is not feeding us the multi-media blitz that our culture is. Matthew 6:31-33 is the scriptural promise for us to pray as we re-prioritize and put first things first when it comes to nurturing vocations at home. Inserting our child's name (Suzy, for example) in the scripture passage helps to make this a powerfully personal prayer. "Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What will we (Suzy) eat?' or 'What will we (Suzy) drink?' or 'What will we (Suzy) wear?' For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your (Suzy's) heavenly Father knows that you (Suzy) need(s) all these things. But [tell Suzy to] strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you (Suzy) as well." The best book I've come across about the process of discerning a vocation is titled, What Does God Want?, by Fr. Michael Scanlan, T.O.R. I highly recommend this short, absorbing book, which will benefit parents and kids alike.
Heidi Bratton writes from Cape Cod, MA where she pens a column for Catholic families called "Home Grown Faith." For seasonal and topical collections of her columns email her at email@example.com. Heidi is also a homeschool parent of five children, a professional photographer, the author of eleven Christian children's books, and a book for moms, Making Peace with Motherhood and Creating a Better You. Her books are available through www.paulistpress.com.
This article is adapted from a weekly column Heidi writes for The Anchor Catholic newspaper and is used by permission.
Wednesday, May 9, 2007
Sisters of Life Vocations Director
Photo above: Our oldest daughter this past weekend after making her First Communion - more to come on that.
Pro - Life is pro vocation and vice versa. Another contributing factor to the "vocations crisis"? Perhaps it's the fact that scores of our future priests, deacons, and religious and been "terminated" in the womb.
This is a really beautiful video, about a beautiful young family with an incredible understanding of what it means to celebrate life.
and two more pro-life videos (minus two brief lines)
Nick Cannon - "Can I Live"
Flypside - "Happy Birthday"
This link will take you to MTV's site, so be warned - I can't control the content. Actually I thought the Verizon commercial just before the video was a wonderful juxtaposition.
Watch the video HERE.
Tuesday, May 8, 2007
As evidenced by the many posts and links on this blog about the friars, I am to say the least a supporter of their community. I have had the blessing of getting to know many of the friars personally through YOUTH 2000 retreats, the JOHN 6:35 Retreat in the Diocese of Raleigh, and especially at the friary in Honduras.
Having a sincere devotion to St. Francis (that would be the real St. Francis, not the 1970's hippy remake), I have found in the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal a community of men striving daily to live out the Gospel, follow their seraphic father faithfully, and live a life of holiness. In these humble men of God I have found some of the most ordinary guys living out extraordinary vocations. And I have yet to meet a friar with whom I did not feel immediately comfortable, as if we had been friends for years - or more maybe, that they have expressed to me the fraternal love that is often spoken of, but rarely experienced.
May God continue to bless the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal with holy vocations!
Again, welcome! I pray this blog may be of some small help to everyone visiting that is in discernment of God's call to a religious vocation.
Monday, May 7, 2007
The Holy Father indicated how all superiors general must "animate and promote ... a mystical and prophetic form of consecrated life, one strongly committed to realizing the Kingdom of God. These are the 'strings' with which the Lord moves you to 'weave' today the living fabric of a productive service to the Church and an eloquent evangelical testimony that is 'ever old and ever new' because it remains faithful to the radical nature of the Gospel and is courageously incarnated in contemporary life, especially where the greatest human and spiritual poverty exists."
"Only from this union with God," the Holy Father said, "does the 'prophetic' role of your mission arise and find nourishment," a mission "that consists in announcing the kingdom of heaven, so indispensable for all times and all societies."
Benedict XVI encouraged the religious not to give in "to the temptation to abandon your intimacy with your celestial Spouse, letting yourselves be excessively drawn by the interests and problems of daily life. The Founders of your institutes managed to become 'prophetic pioneers' in the Church because, ... following Jesus' example, they strove to communicate with concrete words and gestures the love of God through total giving of self, always maintaining their gaze and hearts fixed upon Him."
"May your primary concern be to help your consoeurs to seek ... Christ and to put themselves generously at the service of the Gospel. Do not lose heart and dedicate every possible effort to the human, cultural and spiritual formation of the people entrusted to your care, that they may be capable of responding to modern cultural and social challenges. Be the first to set the example in shunning comforts, luxuries and convenience to accomplish your mission."
The Holy Father also called upon the religious "to share the wealth of your charisms with those who are committed to the one mission of the Church, which is to build the Kingdom. To this end, establish serene and cordial collaboration with priests, the lay faithful and especially families, in order to meet the suffering, needs, material poverty, and above all the spiritual poverty of so many of our contemporaries. Cultivate, moreover, sincere communion and close collaboration with bishops, who are primarily responsible for evangelization in the particular Churches."
Sunday, May 6, 2007
This is wonderful news because a friend, and former teacher at our Diocesan High School has now received the habit! Deo Gratias
Tuesday, May 1, 2007
"W. Catholic religious Return To Their Roots
The school has turned out many priests, nuns and brothers."
By David O'Reilly
Inquirer Staff Writer
Did the drinking fountains at West (Philadelphia) Catholic High School dispense holy water?
That may explain the astonishing number of priests, nuns and religious brothers who have poured out of that urban brick fortress at Chestnut and 45th Streets - many of whom returned yesterday for a special reunion.
Since its founding as a boys' school in 1916, and the addition of the girls' school in 1926, West Catholic has turned out more than 1,000 religious sisters, 600 priests, at least 300 Christian Brothers, six bishops, and Cardinal John O'Connor, the late archbishop of New York - Class of '38.
That may be a record for any Catholic high school in America, according to West Catholic's president, Brother Timothy Ahern.
Read the rest of the article here...
POPE BENEDICT XVI
FOR THE 43rd WORLD DAY OF PRAYER FOR VOCATIONS
7 MAY 2006 -FOURTH SUNDAY OF EASTER
Theme: Vocation in the mystery of the Church
Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate,
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
The celebration of the coming World Day of Prayer for Vocations gives me the opportunity to invite the entire People of God to reflect on the theme Vocation in the mystery of the Church. The Apostle Paul writes: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ … even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world … He destined us in love to be his sons through Jesus Christ” (Eph 1,3-5). Before the creation of the world, before our coming into existence, the heavenly Father chose us personally, calling us to enter into a filial relationship with Him, through Jesus, the Incarnate Word, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Dying for us, Jesus introduced us into the mystery of the Father’s love, a love which completely envelops his Son and which He offers to all of us. In this way, united with Jesus, the Head, we form a sole body, the Church.
The weight of two millennia of history makes it difficult to grasp the novelty of this captivating mystery of divine adoption, which is at the centre of St Paul’s teaching. As the Apostle reminds us, the Father “has made known to us the mystery of his will … as a plan to unite all things in him” (Eph 1,9-10). And he adds, with enthusiasm: “In everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the first-born among many brethren” (Rom 8,28-29). The vision is indeed fascinating: we are called to live as brothers and sisters of Jesus, to feel that we are sons and daughters of the same Father. This is a gift that overturns every purely human idea and plan. The confession of the true faith opens wide our minds and hearts to the inexhaustible mystery of God, which permeates human existence. What should be said therefore of the temptation, which is very strong nowadays, to feel that we are self-sufficient to the point that we become closed to God’s mysterious plan for each of us? The love of the Father, which is revealed in the person of Christ, puts this question to us.
In order to respond to the call of God and start on our journey, it is not necessary to be already perfect. We know that the prodigal son’s awareness of his own sin allowed him to set out on his return journey and thus feel the joy of reconciliation with the Father. Weaknesses and human limitations do not present an obstacle, as long as they help make us more aware of the fact that we are in need of the redeeming grace of Christ. This is the experience of St Paul who confessed: “I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Cor 12,9). In the mystery of the Church, the mystical Body of Christ, the divine power of love changes the heart of man, making him able to communicate the love of God to his brothers and sisters. Throughout the centuries many men and women, transformed by divine love, have consecrated their lives to the cause of the Kingdom. Already on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, many allowed themselves to be won by Jesus: they were in search of healing in body or spirit, and they were touched by the power of his grace. Others were chosen personally by Him and became his apostles. We also find some, like Mary Magdalene and others, who followed him on their own initiative, simply out of love. Like the disciple John, they too found a special place in his heart. These men and women, who knew the mystery of the love of the Father through Jesus, represent the variety of vocations which have always been present in the Church. The model of one called to give witness in a particular manner to the love of God, is Mary, the Mother of Jesus, who in her pilgrimage of faith is directly associated with the mystery of the Incarnation and Redemption.
In Christ, the Head of the Church, which is his Body, all Christians form “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, that you may declare the wonderful deeds of him” (1 Pt 2,9). The Church is holy, even if her members need to be purified, in order that holiness, which is a gift of God, can shine forth from them with its full splendour. The Second Vatican Council highlights the universal call to holiness, when it affirms: “The followers of Christ are called by God, not because of their works, but according to his own purpose and grace. They are justified in the Lord Jesus, because in the Baptism of faith they truly become sons of God and sharers in the divine nature. In this way, they are really made holy” (Lumen Gentium, 40). Within the framework of this universal call, Christ, the High Priest, in his solicitude for the Church calls persons in every generation who are to care for his people. In particular, he calls to the ministerial priesthood men who are to exercise a fatherly role, the source of which is within the very fatherhood of God (cfr Eph 3,14). The mission of the priest in the Church is irreplaceable. Therefore, even if in some regions there is a scarcity of clergy, it should never be doubted that Christ continues to raise up men who, like the Apostles, leaving behind all other work, dedicate themselves completely to the celebration of the sacred mysteries, to the preaching of the Gospel and to pastoral ministry. In the Apostolic Exhortation Pastores Dabo Vobis, my venerable Predecessor Pope John Paul II wrote in this regard: “The relation of the priest to Jesus Christ, and in him to his Church, is found in the very being of the priest by virtue of his sacramental consecration/anointing and in his activity, that is, in his mission or ministry. In particular, «the priest minister is the servant of Christ present in the Church as mystery, communion and mission. In virtue of his participation in the ‘anointing’ and ‘mission’ of Christ, the priest can continue Christ’s prayer, word, sacrifice and salvific action in the Church. In this way, the priest is a servant of the Church as mystery because he actuates the Church's sacramental signs of the presence of the risen Christ»” (no.16).
Another special vocation, which occupies a place of honour in the Church, is the call to the consecrated life. Following the example of Mary of Bethany who “sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching” (Lk 10, 39), many men and women consecrate themselves to a total and exclusive following of Christ. Although they undertake various services in the field of human formation and care of the poor, in teaching or in assisting the sick, they do not consider these activities as the principal purpose of their life, since, as the Code of Canon Law well underlines, “the first and foremost duty of all religious is to be the contemplation of divine things and assiduous union with God in prayer” (can. 663 §1). Moreover, in the Apostolic Exhortation Vita Consecrata Pope John Paul II noted: “In the Church's tradition religious profession is considered to be a special and fruitful deepening of the consecration received in Baptism, inasmuch as it is the means by which the close union with Christ already begun in Baptism develops in the gift of a fuller, more explicit and authentic configuration to him through the profession of the evangelical counsels” (no. 30).
Remembering the counsel of Jesus: “The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest” (Mt 9,37), we readily recognise the need to pray for vocations to the priesthood and to the consecrated life. It is not surprising that, where people pray fervently, vocations flourish. The holiness of the Church depends essentially on union with Christ and on being open to the mystery of grace that operates in the hearts of believers. Therefore, I invite all the faithful to nurture an intimate relationship with Christ, Teacher and Pastor of his people, by imitating Mary who kept the divine mysteries in her heart and pondered them constantly (cfr Lk 2,19). Together with her, who occupies a central position in the mystery of the Church, we pray:
O Father, raise up among Christians
abundant and holy vocations to the priesthood,
who keep the faith alive
and guard the blessed memory of your Son Jesus
through the preaching of his word
and the administration of the Sacraments,
with which you continually renew your faithful.
Grant us holy ministers of your altar,
who are careful and fervent guardians of the Eucharist,
the sacrament of the supreme gift of Christ
for the redemption of the world.
Call ministers of your mercy,
who, through the sacrament of Reconciliation,
spread the joy of your forgiveness.
Grant, O Father, that the Church may welcome with joy
the numerous inspirations of the Spirit of your Son
and, docile to His teachings,
may she care for vocations to the ministerial priesthood
and to the consecrated life.
Sustain the Bishops, priests and deacons,
consecrated men and women, and all the baptized in Christ,
so that they may faithfully fulfil their mission
at the service of the Gospel.
This we pray through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Mary, Queen of Apostles, pray for us.
From the Vatican, 5 March 2006.
-the most important thing I saw in the survey - "The median age of diocesan
ordinands is 32, while the median age of religious ordinands is 33. This is a slight reversal of a
trend toward older average age at ordination that has been occurring over the last ten years..."
-80% were encouraged to consider the priesthood by priests, but 7% were discouraged from considering the priesthood by priests (???)
-42% were encouraged by their mothers, but only 28% by their fathers
-friends were the largest group to discourage considering the priesthood by an average of 28% for Diocesan and Religious combined
- Websites were the most influential source of information/advertising turned to by ordinands, with close to 1 in 5 responding that websites had influenced their discernment (I pray this site may become one of those sites!)
- "On average, the responding ordinands report that they were about 17 and a half when they
first considered priesthood as a vocation. Eight in ten were encouraged to consider the
priesthood by a priest. Close to half report that friends, parishioners, and mothers also
encouraged them to consider priesthood. Four in ten ordinands participated in a "Come
and See" weekend."
was instrumental in their discernment. About one in five says that websites influenced
their discernment. Nearly three in four report that they have seen the "Fishers of Men"
DVD, published by the USCCB."
- "One in five ordinands participated in a World Youth Day before entering the seminary.
Ordinands have also been active in parish ministries, with between about half and threequarters
indicating they served as an altar server, lector, or Eucharistic minister in their
To read the rest of the report: The Class of 2007: Survey of Ordinands to the Priesthood