The Mount St. Mary’s of the West seminarians participated in the annual Fr. Pat O’Malley Invitational Basketball Tournament at Mundelein Seminary near Chicago and perhaps due to some key injuries and perhaps due to some poorly timed pre-game traditions, the men of the Mount came home empty-handed. To read all about the weekend tournament that took place January 39-30, 2016 and to see more photos, see the full story here.
The month of March is National Women’s History Month and two years ago a group of women religious had the fantastic idea to take some of that month to highlight the great history and influence of consecrated women in the history of our nation and of the Church! This year, on March 8-14, 2016, please celebrate with us and your parish National Catholic Sisters Week!
At www.nationalcatholicsistersweek.org you will find the history and purpose of the week, you will find resources to help you get involved in the week, and links to events that are happening across the nation to honor religious sisters.
For more inspiration and bulletin materials, go to www.sisterstories.org. There you can share your own note of gratitude for a religious woman who impacted your life, you can read the vocation stories of several women who have found their joy in following God’s will to give everything as a religious woman, or you can read more about sisters who have had great influence over the years.
If you are a young man who has lately (or for a very long time) felt a tugging at your heart toward the vocation of the Holy Priesthood, then it is well worth your time to check out the opportunites that are fast approaching to visit a seminary or religious community for a weekend with no strings attached. These opportunities cost nothing but time and your own travel expenses and give you unmeasurable benefits: a small taste of seminary life, interaction with seminarians (with whom you may one day be studying), discussions on discernment and practical tips on how to discern your vocation, and answers to all the practical questions you might have. Check out the details and flyers below and plan to attend.
Friday and Saturday, March 4-5, 2016: Welcome Weekend at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary of the West – This weekend takes place at the seminary of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. Mount St. Mary’s Seminary of the West is currently housing the highest number of seminarians it has seen in more than 35 years and is looking to increase that number with the help of God’s grace. Fr. Benedict O’Cinnsealaigh, Rector and Fr. Anthony Brausch, Vice Rector along with Frs. Earl Fernandes, David Endres, Paul Ruwe and Tom McQuillen provide the leadership for the seminary and set the tone for both a rigorous and pastoral formation environment in which all seminarians become better men while being formed to be holy priests.
Thursday-Saturday, March 10-12, 2016: College Live-in at Pontifical College Josephinum – This extended weekend takes place at the only Pontifical Seminary outside of Italy. The Josephinum has a long proud history of forming men to become great priests and the tradition has continued under the leadership of Rector Msgr. Christopher Schreck and College Vice-rector Fr. John Rozembajgier. In addition to the typical visit to a seminary which always includes the daily horarium of prayer, this visit also gives guests the opportunity to sit in on seminary classes to get a feel for the level of education our seminarians undergo. Register for the Live-in here.
Friday-Sunday, March 18-20, 2016: Come Away weekend at New Melleray Abbey in Peosta, Iowa. From the informational brochure: Would you like to learn more about religious life? Do you have questions about discerning your vocation? You are invited to share in our monastic celebration of the Liturgy of Hours, joining with us to pray together in the simplicity and beauty of our church. There will be time to talk about your personal story and to hear how we discerned our vocations. You will be able to share with others participating in the weekend, your experiences, hopes, and concerns about making life decisions. “Come Away” is offered as a retreat experience for single Catholic men between the ages of 23 and 45 who are discerning the possibility of a call to monastic life.
All three of these opportunities provide much for a person who is discerning a call to the consecrated life! Please prayerfully consider attending and giving God the opportunity to speak more clearly to your heart in a place where He is currently forming the hearts of men to be more united to His.
Today we added to our website a new resource for all parish vocation ministries across the Archdiocese. Initiated by a group of women from Immaculate Heart of Mary in Anderson Township and passed along to our office, the Spiritual Motherhood of Priests prayer apostolate.
This movement comes out of a recommendation by the Congregration for the Clergy when they published a document back in 2007 entitled Eucharistic Adoration for the Sanctification of Priests and Spiritual Maternity. In this document we read, “Pope St. Pius X rightfully confirms his experience that, ‘Every vocation to the priesthood comes from the heart of God, but it goes through the heart of a mother!'” And in this statement he does not mean to limit motherhood to those who are physical mothers, but, along with Pope St. John Paul II, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and Pope Francis, he extends that meaning to all women who commit their lives to holiness and to prayer for priests. Children, mothers, widows, religious sisters, all can be spiritual mothers and the world needs them to become just that!
Please, take the time to read the documents found on our resource page, be inspired by the power of a mother’s prayers, look into the other great information on Spiritual Motherhood and pray about becoming a spiritual mother yourself and bringing a Spiritual Motherhood Sodality to your parish.
The Year for Consecrated Life is soon coming to a close but it is not too late to celebrate the great work that men and women religious do in our Church and across the world. The example they provide to all the world of living for Christ and seeking the face of Christ in those most in need is one from which we can all draw great inspiration. Here in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati there are two great ways in which you can celebrate the closing of this special year:
January 17th @ 3 p.m., there will be a free concert at the Cathedral of St. Peter in Chains. The choir will be comprised of some 120 women and men religious as well as religious women and men instrumentalists. The concert will be approximately one hour in length and will be followed by a reception where vocation materials will be available. This concert was the inspiration of Fr. Jeff Scheeler, OFM, Provincial of the Franciscan Friars, and put in the capable hands of Fr. Fred Link, OFM.
January 31st @ 11 a.m., Archbishop Dennis Schnurr will celebrate the closing mass for the Year for Consecrated Life. All are welcome and encouraged to attend and spend the last moments of this special year in prayers of thanksgiving and asking the Lord to continue to bless the great works these consecrated men and women are doing.
God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him.
In this is love brought to perfection among us,
that we have confidence on the day of judgment
because as he is, so are we in this world.
There is no fear in love,
but perfect love drives out fear
because fear has to do with punishment,
and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love. 1 John 4: 17-18
Yesterday, the first reading at mass ended with these beautiful and challenging words. God is love. What a beautiful thought and yet, it is easy for us to think of so many times in our lives when we don’t let love in our hearts. We choose to let anger and bitterness and resentment dwell there. We choose to let fear dwell there. We choose to let perfectionism and perhaps even legalism dwell there. Instead, this brief passage, and the opening verses from today’s mass (go here to read that right now) are challenging us to let only Love dwell there and to act from that FIRST.
Our perfect following of God’s holy will will only happen when we truly learn to love and to hold onto Love in all situations. When we seem to be lost in our vocation, when we seem to be stuttering on how to respond to difficult situations in our lives, we must turn to God and beg for the grace to love and to remember how gracious God is in giving us the most perfect example of Love. Our response to that is our love for those we can see and interact with on a daily basis. We show our love for God by showing love for our neighbors and our brothers. If we cannot do that, we cannot love God.
As we seek perfection, as we seek God’s will, as we seek refuge from our fears, let us do so by courageously examining how well we love one another. It is through this constant seeking to love and be the Love of God in this world that we will be transformed and become the person God has created us to be.
Merry Christmas!! What joy it is to know that the Savior of the world has come and will come again that we may be with him in Heaven for all eternity! And yet, as many of us have realized throughout the Advent season, there are things that we still need to do to remain ready for the second coming.
The beginning of John’s gospel contains these two verses: “In the beginning was the word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1), and “And the word was made flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only son, full of grace and truth” (John 1: 14). These two verses point to a reality that so many of us either have taken for granted much of our lives or have just not realized: Jesus is the Word. God is truly present in the Word and, in fact, God IS the Word.
I was at Mass with my wife and five young children a few weeks ago and when it came time for the Gospel Acclamation, our youngest, who was in my arms at the time and had previously been squirming around me like one of those little chinchillas, turned and watched as the Deacon began making his way to the altar and slowly processing to the ambo with the book of the Gospels held high. During this whole time, my son was mesmerized. He began pointing at the book and reaching for it. What could have made him change so quickly from a South American rodent into a focused young boy in such a short time?
There are, of course, so many factors that could have drawn my son’s attention at that moment. The fact that we had all stood up at that moment, or the fact that the Deacon had moved from his place by the priest, or the fact that two young men were carrying candles, or perhaps it was the first time he noticed the big shiny book on top of the altar, or maybe it was that he noticed the book but, since it was in someone’s hands he knew this was his chance to get it. All of those could easily explain his sudden change in behavior, but those are not what made me reflect that day. To me, there was something special about that book that my son noticed, there was something that was drawing my son to that book at that moment and I knew that I should be drawn to it as well.
In Psalm 63 we read, “O God, you are my God—it is you I seek! For you my body yearns; for you my soul thirsts, in a land parched, lifeless, and without water.” In that moment, my son’s body was pining to be near to God. Perhaps it was the shiny book cover or the candles, or whatever other explanation, but he was reaching for God in that moment and he was reaching in the right place. Jesus gives himself to us in two ways at every Mass. He gives himself to us in his Word and he feeds us with his body and blood in the Eucharist. So often times we nod off, or don’t pay attention to the first half of the Mass because it is just a bunch of words. “Perhaps they are special words because they are in the Bible,” we say to ourselves, but do we realize that not only are they special words, but they are truly a gift of God, from God?!
As we enter into this new calendar year and celebrate the coming of Jesus as savior of the world at Christmas, let’s make a resolution to be attentive to the Gift of God in the word each and every time we go to Mass and to spend time daily seeking that gift as well. It is in doing so that He will begin to truly reveal to us the person he has created to be.
If you would like to make a commitment during 2016 to read the Bible everyday, here is a good place to start for advice and a plan to read just 10 minutes a day and make your way through the entire Bible!