The Missionary Sisters at the Sacred Heart Convent in New York just completed an 8 Day retreat with Fr. Jack Baron, S.J. All were feeling very grateful and blessed.
On Sunday, November 27th, a prayer vigil entitled “Be The Light,” was held at the Dobbs Ferry Waterfront Park in Dobbs Ferry, NY. The aim of the candlelight vigil was to bring the community together, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity or immigration status.
The prayer vigil, organized by several Dobbs Ferry families, wanted to promote the message of peace and unity within the community following the presidential election. It is the hope that everyone who resides in Dobbs Ferry will feel that they belong and are accepted.
During the service we were asked to talk to someone we didn’t know and share our hopes for the future. We were then asked to call out some words that were shared. We heard beautiful sentiments such as “compassion, kindness, love, acceptance and curiosity about a person, not hate.”
Several of our tutors as well as some families from Cabrini Immigrant Services participated in the prayer vigil. Our prayers will continue as we begin to heal as a nation.
The MSC Formation Community in West Park, NY was privileged to receive a recent visit from the Bruderhoff Community which is located in nearby Esopus. Our brothers in faith came with their wives and together we had a beautiful faith sharing.
The MSCs had already been invited a few months ago to visit the Bruderhoff Community where the members shared their apostolates and activities. There are over a hundred members—men, women and children—who live and work in community there. They have a private school for the education of their children in the faith on the property, as well as several manufacturing efforts to sustain their programs.
The two couples who came to visit us were very interested in everything we could tell them and share: our life, our spirit, our apostolates. They feel that both MSCs and themselves share many beliefs and attitudes, as well as many desires to promote our Christian path in today’s world. How important it is for religious groups to work together for the kingdom and spread the good news of the Gospel!
Both leaders were very interested in our missionary work around the world and shared our enthusiasm for promoting a deeper faith and ongoing commitment to Christianity. Here in West Park, we are blessed to have such interfaith possibilities. Let us together hope and pray that other interfaith groups will grow and flourish so that together we can contribute to a genuine renewal of Christianity.
The Sacred Heart of Jesus represents Christ’s love for all mankind, and our devotion to it is an expression of our faith in His mercy. Our festive day began with adoration of the Blessed Sacrament from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. followed by Benediction. The Mass was celebrated at 4:00 that afternoon.
Rev. Ted Ploplis, Rector of the Shrine, preached the homily on the theme of opening our hearts to the love of Christ. He illustrated his theme visually through the famous sacred art work of William Holman Hunt’s painting “Christ at the Door Knocking” which hangs in St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. A copy of this painting was displayed in the sanctuary during the Mass. Rev. Ted referred to Mother Cabrini’s own understanding of the Heart of Christ as the unalterable sun, aiming its radiant beam of light on our path to a life of holiness and justice.” The Missionary Sisters renewed their vows during the liturgy.
The festive Mass also debuted a new sung Mass written in honor of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini by Kevin Keil.
A year on mission is many things. It is a year of discovery, growth, spirituality and friendship. It is about learning who you are and who you are becoming. It is about giving of oneself and serving others. It is about the transformation of hearts – your own and those of others. It is about walking with others and walking in their shoes. It is about the hope of changing the world for the better. It is about being a “bearer of the love of Christ in the world.”
Please enjoy this video that captures the essence of service with Cabrini Mission Corps.
Joy! Joy! Joy!
No other word can sum up what the perpetual profession of Sr. Laura Baldini, MSC was like. Even before the day – May 31st – came, our house was filled with greeting the many guests for the occasion. The guests came from Argentina (Laura’s home country), Guatemala, Nicaragua, Mexico, Rome, and the United States. Among the guests from Argentina were Laura’s mother and aunt.
The mix and mash of English-Spanish, Spanish-English reverberated everywhere and always with a joyful sound. It gave us here in the U.S. a great opportunity to get to know our Latin American Sisters.
When the time came for the vow ceremony all plugged into the prayer and the solemnity of the occasion. There were three con-celebrants: Fr. Kirk Reynolds, S.J. and the two OFM Caps: Fr. Thomas Faiola and Fr. Michael Ramos. The chapel was full – downstairs and up in the choir loft. The liturgy was bi-lingual and inclusive.
After liturgy, all were treated to a sumptuous meal where the camaraderie continued with festive joy.
Officially proclaiming the upcoming jubilee year of mercy, Pope Francis has powerfully called on the entire Catholic Church to refashion itself as a place not of judgment or condemnation but of pardon and merciful love.
Writing in an extensive document convoking the year, which will begin on December 8th, the pontiff states that the church’s credibility is seen in how she shows merciful and compassionate love.”
“Perhaps we have long since forgotten how to show and live the way of mercy,” writes Francis in the document, released Saturday evening with the Latin title Misericordiae Vultus (“The Face of Mercy”).
“The temptation…to focus exclusively onjustice made us forget that this is only the first, albeit necessary and indispensible step,” the pope continues.
“It’s time to return to the basics and to bear the weaknesses and struggles of our brothers and sisters,” writes the pontiff. “Mercy is the force that reawakens us to new life and instills in us the courage to look to the future with hope.”
Pope Francis also notes that December 8th will mark the 50th anniversary of the closing of the Second Vatican Council and says: “The Church feels a great need to keep this event alive.”
The jubilee, which is to be called the Holy Year of Mercy, beginning December 8th on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception will close on November 20, 2016, the day celebrated as Christ the King.
Explaining his reasons for calling the mercy jubilee with a 9,500-word document, the pontiff firmly identifies mercy as the central function of the church and the key aspect of Jesus’ ministry and work. Francis also says mercy is a key attribute of God’s actions towards human beings and that our own exercise of pardon will determine how we will eventually be judged.
“In short, we are called to show mercy because mercy has first been shown to us,” he continues. “Pardoning offenses become the clearest expression of merciful love, and for us Christians it is an imperative from which we cannot excuse ourselves.”
Among other special initiatives for the holy year, Francis also announced that during the 2016 season of Lent he will be asking some priests to serve as special “Missionaries of Mercy”.
He will ask those priests to go around the world to hear confessions and that he will grant them “the authority to pardon even those sins reserved for the Holy See.”
Mentioning the fifth beatitude – “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy” Pope Francis states that is the beatitude “to which we should particularly aspire in this Holy Year.”
“The mercy of God is his loving concern for each one of us,” writes Francis. “He feels responsible; that is, he desires our wellbeing and wants to see us happy, full of joy and peaceful.”
“This is the path which the merciful love of Christians must also travel,” he continues. As the Father loves, so do his children. Just as he is merciful, so we are called to be merciful to each other.”
~ excerpts from the National Catholic Reporter
A new book about the life of our Saint, titled St Frances Cabrini: a passionate life, is now available online – visit http://www.cabrini.com.au/news-and-events/cabrini-publications/
This book by Mark Davis was commissioned by Cabrini Health, Australia to make this remarkable woman, Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, accessible to a new generation of staff, supporters, friends and benefactors.
The beautifully crafted book draws both on the extensive letters written by Frances Cabrini during her lifetime, and other writings since. It looks back on her life with fresh eyes, distilling wisdom from it for our time and for the future.
The book’s chapter headings reflect earlier work undertaken by the author, Mark Davis, to express her charism, that is, her unique way of understanding, prioritizing and living her gift of faith. All of the images have been carefully chosen to provide a moment of reflection, to encourage a pause before reading on.
“It is important to create moments in our busy lives to stop, to savor, to enjoy. I hope this book will provide such an opportunity for you,” said Cath Garner, Executive Director, Mission and Strategy at Cabrini Health.
Members of the Stella Maris Province Vocation Promotion Team (VPT) are always seeking opportunities to engage others in conversations about faith and discernment – prayerfully seeking guidance from God on all matters of life.
One such gathering happened this week at The Cottage in Radnor, PA where the MSC Mission Offices are based. VPT member Sr. Patricia Spillane shared Pope Francis’ 10 Secrets to Happiness with a small group of Cabrini College community members, CMC missioners and Mission Office staffers. Sr. Christine Marie Baltas, MSC and Sr. Grace Waters, MSC joined in the conversation.
Sr. Patricia was full of missionary zeal as she spoke about her call to religious life and the many roles she has held throughout her years as a Missionary Sister. She told the group that she has had a wonderful life – some years spent as Superior General and Assistant General of the Missionary Sisters, some years in the Philippines and early years spent on the Cabrini College campus as a student and as the Dean of Students.
Sr. Patricia led a dialogue on the 10 Secrets to Happiness by Pope Francis. Members of the group read each “secret” and a discussion ensued. For each secret, Sr. Patricia offered her own insights and wisdom. All of the participants were fully engaged in the discussion and the interaction was animated and heartfelt. We felt blessed by Sr. Patricia’s presence and so grateful for this opportunity to share these practical aspects of our faith journey.
As Sr. Patricia reminded us, “all of this challenges us to be authentic disciples of Jesus in the 21st Century and to promote true peace and reconciliation wherever we can.”
Pope Francis’ 10 Secrets to Happiness are:
1. Live and let live. – How would your life be happier if you stopped trying to change the lives of others?
2. Be giving of yourself to others. – How have you experienced happiness through reaching out to help others?
3. Proceed calmly. – In what ways can you cultivate peacefulness in your life?
4. Develop a healthy sense of leisure .- How do you balance work and leisure in your life?
5. Make Sunday a holy day. – What kinds of things would you have to change in your life in order to reclaim Sunday as a holy day?
6. Create jobs for young people. – How can you help young people find dignity and happiness through meaningful work or service?
7. Respect and take care of nature. – What is something you can do to become a better steward of God’s creation?
8. Stop being negative. – What steps can you take to eliminate negativity in your life?
9. Respect others’ beliefs. How do you respect others’ beliefs and at the same time witness to your own.
10 Work for peace. – In what ways do you work and pray for peace?
This morning, we pray the poem by John O’Donohue: To Be Chosen.
Please join us for 11 minutes of prayer and reflection.