COMPASSION ON THE JOURNEY

Parish Lenten Retreat

Our Parish Retreat Compassion on the Journey is our participation in Our Holy Father’s invitation for the Church to celebrate a Jubilee Year of Mercy. Compassion is the heart of Mercy. You are invited to join us as we experience God’s compassion and learn to be more compassionate and of fuller service to one another. The retreat will unfold in the weekend homilies, liturgical music, bulletin reflections/ stphilp.org, a Holy Hour, workshops and suggested activities involving the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy.

Companions-On-The-Journey

The church banner pictured above displays symbols of the various themes of our Retreat. Our journey begins with God who creates us, accompanies us through life, death and resurrection until we return to God in glory. Our journey is from, “glory to glory” (2Cor.3:18). Along the way we are transformed into the image and likeness of Christ. God is our compassionate companion on the journey and invites us to offer compassionate service to one another.

The Two Figures shown form a Heart Shape as they symbolized human and divine love. The word compassion has its origins in two Latin roots; com-with and passion-to suffer/intense force. The meaning of compassion is a union of love that motivates beyond sympathy and empathy, ‘to be one with’ and, therefore, compels with a commitment to action physically, emotionally or spiritually as needed.
The Cross in the center of the heart is the sign of compassion.
TheVertical line of the cross calls to mind the unconditional compassion for us that comes From God.
The Horizontal line of the cross suggests the purpose for our lives which is to offer compassionate service For Others.

COMPASSION

Companions-On-The-Journey

Companions-On-The-Journey

The image above is a reproduction of Rembrandt’s

Portrait of Christ’s Head 1650, oil on wood, State Museum Berlin – Dahlem.

Our future focus will be on ways to reflect and pray with the masterpiece. For now appreciate the expression of Christ’s captured by the artist. Notice the exposed ear which suggests that Jesus listens with compassion. St. Benedict of Nursea encouraged compassionate listening with the challenge,

“Listen with the ear of your heart.”

Compassion is listening with the ear of your heart and acting on what you hear.


Compassion on the Journey – Ash Wednesday Reflection

Our lives are often filled with burdens, problems, fears, responsibilities and an exhausting busyness. The thought of Lent seems like another thing to do. Lent is an opportunity for us to experience and to do things differently. Imagine that the burdens you carry are a ball that you are holding so tightly in your hands that your knuckles are white and your fingers tremble. We may wish to let some of these challenges go but they are our responsibilities. There is another way. Turn to God in prayer. You can relax your grip on the ball by opening up your palm and resting the ball in the center. Your burdens are still there, you still carry them but in an entirely different and freer way.

Lent is an opportunity to experience God’s compassionate care for us. God helps us through prayer and the sacraments to relax our grip and to trust in God’s Providence. When we share our burdens with God as our compassionate companion on the journey we are able to see the needs of others, feel compassion and reach out with our free hand to others in service. Compassion is a gift From God, For Others given to us without condition. When we experience compassionate care From God we are empowered to share compassionate service For Others. Marked with the cross of ashes we receive Compassion: From God, For Others.

Week I: First Sunday of Lent
Who Moved?

On Valentine’s Day a couple who had been married for a few years were stopped at a red light. The wife said to her husband, “Look at us, me here, you there behind the wheel. I remember a time when I sat right beside you in this car holding hands and kissing when we stopped at a red light.” Listening with the ear of his heart and with a smile the husband asked, “Who moved?” They both laughed and it was the best Valentine’s Day they ever remembered.

In our relationships we are tempted to put the blame for what is missing on the other. It is difficult for us to take responsibility for our part. This is true in our relationship with God as well.

In our first reading we learn that the Israelites gave the first fruits of their labors to God as a way to remember that God had been generous and compassionate toward them. In the letter to the Romans we are reminded that God is always near to us and very close to everyone who calls on the name of the Lord. God has not moved. God sits compassionately beside us desiring to deepen our relationship. In today’s Gospel, Jesus is tempted, as we are in our humanity, to mistrust his Father’s compassionate care. Scripture and prayer help Jesus to remember that his Father in heaven never moves.

God never moves. Lent is our opportunity to experience God’s compassionate care in prayer. Lent is an opportunity for us to share the compassion we receive from God for others. Lent is an opportunity to ask ourselves “Who moved?” in our relationships with God and others.

Reflection Questions

  1. What thing can I do to move toward God?
  2. What one person am I being called to move toward? How?
  3. Who needs my smile?

Works of Mercy Activity: What three actions will I take this week?

Workshop Opportunity with Fr. Joe
“Listening with the Ear of the Heart”

February 17, 2016
Wednesday – 09:45 AM – Marian Hall
Wednesday – 07:00 PM – Russo room

Season of Lent Opportunities

Renew your faith and your spiritual life for service and compassion to one another.

LENTEN PRACTICES:
  • The Eucharist is the most perfect prayer and Lenten observance
  • Our Parish Retreat, Compassion on the Journey
  • Spirituality Workshops: Wednesday, February 17th, 9:45 AM in Marian Hall and 7 PM in the Russo Room
    Sunday, March 13th, 11 AM in the Russo Room
  • Adoration/Benediction Hour: Wednesday, February 24, 7 PM in Church – Fr. Julio
  • Welcome Home: Sacrament of Reconciliation; Mondays 7 to 8:30 PM
    Saturdays 11 AM to 12 Noon; Saturday, March 19th
    10 AM to 12 Noon in church
  • Stations of the Cross: Fridays 7:00 PM in Church;
    Living Stations of the Cross: March 18th
  • Lenten penance includes acts of self-denial as a tool for mindfulness of God’s bountiful gifts and presence and/or an increase in Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy.
  • Days of Fast and Abstinence: Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are days of fast and abstinence when we refrain from eating meat and have one full meal and two lesser meals. All Fridays of Lent are days of abstinence from meat.
  • Lenten Bible Study: Final Chapters of Luke’s Gospel leading to Christ’s Passion, suffering and death on Mondays at 11 AM in the Molloy Center
  • CRS Rice Bowls supports Catholic Relief Services

To read complete bulletin click here


Compassion on the Journey – Parish Lenten Retreat

Week II
Scripture

  • God makes a covenant with Abraham by giving the land for the journey as holy ground.
  • The letter to the Philippians encourages trust in God’s desire to transform lives when we “stand firm in the Lord.”
  • While at prayer with his disciples Jesus is transfigured in glory. The disciples receive the instruction,
    “This is my beloved one, listen to him.”
Reflection Story

Invited to speak at a military base, the professor is met at the airport by an unforgettable soldier. Heading toward the baggage claim area, the soldier keeps disappearing. The soldier dashes to help an older woman retrieve her suitcase from the conveyor belt, to lift two toddlers so that they can see Santa Clause and another time to give someone directions.

“Where did you learn to live like that?” asks the professor. “During the war,” he explains. He shares with the professor that his particular job during the war was to clear the mine fields. During this life-threatening assignment he saw many of his friends meet an untimely end before his eyes. “I learned to live between the steps,” he shared “I never knew when the next step would be my last. In the moments between picking up one foot and putting it down again, I experienced a whole new reality. It was as if each moment had an eternal meaning. I learned to live between the steps. Living between the steps is really living.”

Living with compassion and for service is really living. Prayer is that moment between the steps when we lift our minds and hearts to God to receive God’s compassion. Our God of all compassion guides us to see and to hear with the ear of our hearts what is needed before we take another step. Turning to God in prayer on the journey, fully aware that our mission is to offer compassionate service to others, is how we are transfigured into the image and likeness of Christ. Living between the steps with compassion is really living.

Prayer Card Activity

A prayer card will be available for each individual after Masses. One side of the prayer card has Rembrandt’s Head of Christ image. On the other side is written our Lenten prayer: God of All Compassion, Guide our Hearts to Serve. The prayer card will serve as a reminder to turn to the Lord in prayer, seeking God’s compassion which enables us to share compassion through acts of service on our daily journey.

Reflection Questions
  • What is my plan for my prayer card?
  • How will I live compassionately between the steps?
  • What actions will I take?

Season of Lent Opportunities

Renew your faith and your spiritual life for service and compassion to one another.

LENTEN PRACTICES:

  • The Eucharist is the most perfect prayer and Lenten observance.
  • Our Parish Retreat, Compassion on the Journey
  • Spirituality Workshops:
    Sunday, March 13th, 11 AM in the Russo Room
  • Adoration/Benediction Hour: Wednesday, February 24, 7 PM in Church – Fr. Julio
  • Welcome Home: Sacrament of Reconciliation; Mondays 7 to 8:30 PM , Saturdays 11 AM to 12 Noon; Saturday, March 19th -10 AM to 12 Noon
  • Stations of the Cross: Fridays 7:00 PM in Church;
    Living Stations of the Cross: March 18th
  • Lenten penance includes acts of self-denial as a tool for mindfulness of God’s bountiful gifts and presence and/or an increase in Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy.
  • Days of Fast and Abstinence: Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are days of fast and abstinence when we refrain from eating meat and have one full meal and two lesser meals. All Fridays of Lent are days of abstinence from meat.
  • Lenten Bible Study: Final Chapters of Luke’s Gospel leading to Christ’s Passion, death and Resurrection Mondays at 11 AM in the Molloy Center
  • CRS Rice Bowls supports Catholic Relief Services
Thank You

I am most grateful for your prayers for my brother Frank. He has had a full recovery and now is cancer free. Praise the Lord and many thanks. Fr. Kevin

To read complete bulletin click here


Compassion on the Journey – Parish Lenten Retreat

Week III
Scripture

  • Moses hears the voice of God and enters into a dialogue. God’s own words instruct Moses on what to say and on what to do for God’s people.
  • In the letter to the Corinthians St. Paul warns us not to become overly confident, lest we miss an opportunity for God’s transforming Word to be active in our lives.
  • In the time of Jesus, many people believed that when bad things happened to people it was somehow their fault. Jesus is clear that this is not how God works. We are all beneficiaries of God’s unconditional compassion. In addition, we are like fig trees that need constant care. God is always speaking challenging words seeking to renew us, with a comforting voice which promises forgiveness and healing.
Reflection

Political prisoners were being released from a Soviet Gulag prison. An interviewer rushes up to a famous symphony orchestra conductor who has been held in prison for years and in isolation for months. “What piece of music did you miss hearing the most?” asks the eager reporter. Without hesitation the conductor answers, “I have learned through great suffering, that in the entire world, the most beautiful music is the sound of another human voice.”

The human voice echoes the divine voice. God speaks through the Scripture, in the Sacraments, in Church teaching and in personal prayer. At all times God speaks of faith, hope and love. The human voice mirrors the divine voice by revealing God’s truth, awakening all senses to beauty and opening the heart to experience the unconditional goodness of God in all things.

We are invited to listen to God’s compassionate voice. God invites us to use our voices to speak and act with compassion for others.

Questions and Activity

  • Who were/are the voices of God’s compassionate care for me? How will I express my gratitude to these people in deed or in prayer?
  • Who needs to hear the sound of my voice reaching out in compassionate ways? What action will I take?

Prayer Card Activity
A prayer card will be available for each individual after Masses. One side of the prayer card has Rembrandt’s Head of Christ image. On the other side is written our Lenten prayer: God of All Compassion, Guide our Hearts to Serve. The prayer card will serve as a reminder to turn to the Lord in prayer, seeking God’s compassion which enables us to share compassion through acts of service on our daily journey.

Season of Lent Opportunities

Renew your faith and your spiritual life for service and compassion to one another.

LENTEN PRACTICES :

  • The Eucharist is the most perfect prayer and Lenten observance.
  • Our Parish Retreat, Compassion on the Journey
  • Welcome Home: Sacrament of Reconciliation; Mondays 7 to 8:30 PM , Saturdays 11 AM to 12 Noon; Saturday, March 19th -10 AM to 12 Noon
  • Stations of the Cross: Fridays 7:00 PM in Church;
  • Living Stations of the Cross: March 18th
  • Lenten penance includes acts of self-denial as a tool for mindfulness of God’s bountiful gifts and presence and/or an increase in Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy.
  • Days of Fast and Abstinence: Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are days of fast and abstinence when we refrain from eating meat and have one full meal and two lesser meals. All Fridays of Lent are days of abstinence from meat.
  • Lenten Bible Study: Final Chapters of Luke’s Gospel leading to Christ’s Passion, death and Resurrection Mondays at 11 AM in the Molloy Center
  • CRS Rice Bowls supports Catholic Relief Services

To read complete bulletin click here


Compassion on the Journey – Parish Lenten Retreat

Week V
Scripture

  • Isaiah awakens us to our potential for change. God’s activity and power is at work in us at all times, calling us in new ways of being and living. The Lord says, “Behold, I make all things new! Do you not perceive it?”
  • St. Paul challenges us to continue in the pursuit of our goal in Christ which is love.
  • Our Gospel story reminds us that we are all in need of God’s forgiveness and healing. None of us is able, when we are truly honest with ourselves, to “throw the first stone.” Our God of second chances sends us forth free to live in new ways.
Reflection: One Button at a Time

Mike lives next door to Ann and Fred who work from home. A serious automobile accident left Mike disabled and occasionally dependent on his neighbors. Several times a day, Mike would call Ann and she would happily go over and do little things for him. This day she had to go out. The phone rings and Fred answers gruffly “Ann is out. I’ll tell her you called.” Mike replies meekly, “Sounds like you are busy.” “I am, and I’ll tell her you called,” Fred answers.

When Ann returns she visits with Mike and returns in just a couple of minutes. “What did Mike want?” Fred asks. Ann says, “Not much, I buttoned up his shirt. He was cold.”

Fred freezes. Fred suddenly feels a little ill, he thinks, “If I don’t have two minutes to button a neighbor’s shirt, which one of us is disabled?”

Fred couldn’t remember what he was working on that morning but he never looked at a button in the same way again. From that moment on whenever the phone rang Fred was the first one on his feet.  Fred became a new person actively seeking ways to offer compassionate care. He learned to “listen with the ear of his heart.”

Today’s Gospel demonstrates that Christ’s Work, Opus Christi and therefore our work is to be compassionate.  Jesus writes in the sand in defense of the woman, forgives her and encourages her to live in a new way. By example Jesus teaches that we are all sinful and a little broken and in need of God’s compassionate care. As God cares for us we are called to care for one another.

Reflection Questions
  • Many people have “buttoned our shirts” with selfless compassion and service throughout our lives. Make a list of them. If they already with the Lord thank them in prayer. For the living, express your gratitude in a tangible way to those who have cared for you.
  • We are called to “button up” one another. Who needs your compassionate care? What actions will you take to do your mission Christ’s Work, Opus Christi for others?
Prayer and Action Opportunity

A button for each person will be available after Mass as a prayerful reminder of our mission to actively seek opportunities to compassionately care for others in practical ways.

You may use the button along with your prayer card. One side of the prayer card has Rembrandt’s Head of Christ image. On the other side is written our Lenten prayer:

God of All Compassion, Guide our Hearts to Serve .

To read complete bulletin click here


Compassion on the Journey – Parish Lenten Retreat

Week VI
Holy Week Reflection

Our Lenten Hymn: God of all Compassion will serve as a daily meditation for each day of Holy Week. Read and listen with the ear of your heart to the song lyrics. Reflect on the questions and take the action suggested.

Monday:

God of all compassion, guide us on our way
Through our Lenten journey, on toward Easter Day.
Signed with the cross, we walk each step with you.
God of all compassion, guide our hearts to serve.

  1. The cross of Christ reminds us of God’s deep compassion for us. What crosses are you carrying in your life and how is God compassionately helping you with them? What action can you take to help another bear his/her cross?
Tuesday:

God of all compassion, Author of our days;
Fashioned in your image we, for love, were made.
Body and mind and spirit give you praise:
God of all compassion, guide our hearts to serve.

  1. You were made in God’s image and likeness, sharing in God’s desire to love. What action can you take to express and demonstrate your love for another person?
Wednesday:

Singing of your goodness, confident in grace
We embrace your promise – ev’ry time and place.
Love freely giv’n flows from the cross of Christ;
God of all compassion, guide our hearts to serve.

  1. Jesus promises, “Peace is my gift to you.” Use the prayer, Dona nobis pacem, Grant us peace throughout your day. Pay attention to God’s presence which offers peace even in the most difficult of situations.
Holy Thursday:

Longing for your presence, we in stillness pray
For your healing touch, Lord, now and ev’ry day.
Merciful Savior, Source of life renewed,
God of all compassion, guide our hearts to serve.

  1. Jesus washed the feet of his disciples and calls us to acts of selfless service. What one healing action in word or deed can you perform this day to be of service to another?
Good Friday:

Giver of all bounty, teach us how to share
Love’s redeeming message, gifted through your care.
Blessed by your mission, charity we learn;
God of all compassion, guide our hearts to serve.

  1. Forgiveness and God’s power at work in every moment of our lives is the message of God’s charity and care. Who is in need of your compassion and forgiveness? Pray the following prayer to open a path for healing, “Lord bless, (name), and transform me to set me free.”
Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday :

God of all compassion, guide us on our way
Onto Easter’s Dawning – Christ th’ Eternal Day.
Alleluia! Enlightened hymns we raise:
Resurrected Glory – guide our hearts to serve!

  1. Like dawn in darkness Christ is our light. What actions can you take to follow the Risen Lord into new, life-giving paths physically, emotionally, psychologically, spiritually?

To read complete bulletin click here


Compassion on the Journey

Easter Prayer :

Resurrected Glory – guide our hearts to serve
Dona nobis pacem, Grant us Peace.

HYMN

God of all compassion, guide us on our way,
Onto Easter’s Dawning – Christ th’ Eternal Day.
Alleluia! Enlightened hymns we raise:
Resurrected Glory – guide our hearts to serve.

Easter Reflection

One night the captain of a ship orders his signalman to send a message to the light right in front of them, “Turn your ship ten degrees to port.” The signal returns, “Turn your ship ten degrees to the starboard.” Surprised, the Captain orders the message sent, “I am the Captain of a battleship, turn your ship to port.” The response is swift and clear. “I am a lighthouse!!”

A lighthouse is an unmovable sign of great compassion built in stone and mortar, offering a light to guide ships on their journey at sea. A lighthouse saves ships in storms and fog, their light guides in the right direction and their beacons bring ships home to safe and peaceful harbors.

Easter is our celebration of Christ, our light. Christ is the compassion of God born in flesh and blood to guide us on our journey through life. Through the life, death and resurrection of Christ, the light of the resurrected glory of Christ is always right in front of us.

The light of Christ saves us with compassion from the storms in our discontented hearts, the howling winds of our overactive minds and from the crashing waves of our physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual pain.

The light of Christ guides us with compassion in the right direction, away from the rocks of sin, addiction and brokenness, to the healing shores of forgiveness, freedom and healing grace.

The light of Christ shines with compassion through depression, despair and paralyzing fear, showing the way to vigor, hope and courage.

Christ is the light that gives us a compassionate vision of the glory of the resurrection right here and now. Christ is our light when grace grants us peace to smile through our tears, motivates us to extend our hand to another in darkness, and opens our arms in service to those who feel lost.

The light of Christ is the compassionate promise of the resurrection when our journey ends in the safe harbor and bright glory of our heavenly home.

The light of Christ is right before us beckoning us to be light for one another. The light of Christ is compassion guiding us in ways of forgiveness, peace and justice. The light of Christ is the compassion that radiates from our minds and hearts. The light of Christ empowers us to be safe harbors of service reflecting Christ’s resurrected glory.

The light of Christ is right in front of us. Easter signals to us to turn toward the light of Christ and to shine as bright beacons of God’s light and compassion with every word and in every deed:

Resurrected Glory, guide our hearts to serve.
Alleluia, alleluia.

Reflection Activity

What one action can I take this Easter to be a compassionate light for another person in word or in deed?

To read complete bulletin click here


Compassion on the Journey

Easter Prayer :

Resurrected Glory – guide our hearts to serve
Dona nobis pacem, Grant us Peace.

REFLECTION

O The Bliss of Perfect Compassion

The following reflection on the fifth beatitude is (freely adapted) from William Barclay’s, The Daily Study Bible Series, The Gospel of Matthew, 1975 Volume 1.

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
Matthew 5:7

As one of the beatitudes this is a great saying. The Greek word for merciful is eleemon. But, as we have repeatedly seen, the Greek of the New Testament as we possess it goes back to the original Hebrew and Aramaic. The Hebrew word for mercy is chesedh, mercy, means the ability to get right inside the other person’s skin until we can see things with his eyes, think things with her mind, and feel things with his feelings.

Clearly this is much more than an emotional wave of pity; clearly this demands a quiet deliberate effort of the mind and of the will. It denotes a sympathy which is not given, as it were, from outside, but which comes from a deliberate identification with the other person, until we see all things as she sees them, and feels things as she feels them. This is sympathy in the literal sense of the word. Sympathy is derived from two Greek words, syn which means together with and paschein which means to experience or to suffer. Sympathy means experiencing things together with the other person, literally going through what she is going through.

Cultivating sympathy, compassion and mercy enables understanding and forgiveness. There is one principal in life we sometimes forget – there is always a reason why a person thinks and acts as one does, and if we knew that reason, it would be so much easier to understand and to sympathize and to forgive. If a person thinks, as we see it, mistakenly, he may have come through experiences; he may have a heritage which has made him think as he does. If a person is irritable and discourteous, she may be worried or she may be in pain. If a person treats us badly, it may be because there is some idea in his mind which is quite mistaken. Truly, as the French proverb has it, “To know all is to forgive all,” but we will never know all until we make a deliberate attempt to get inside the other person’s mind and heart.

In the last analysis, is not that what God did in Jesus Christ? In Jesus Christ, in the most literal sense, God got inside the skin of people. He came as a person; he came seeing things with our eyes, feeling things with our feelings, thinking things with our minds. God knows what life is like, because God came right inside life.

Compassion Fit For A Queen

Queen Victoria was a close friend of Principal and Mrs. Tulloch of St. Andrews. Prince Albert died and Victoria was left alone. Just at the same time, Principal Tulloch died and Mrs. Tulloch was left alone. Unannounced, Queen Victoria came to call on Mrs. Tulloch while she was resting on a couch in her room. When the Queen was announced, Mrs. Tulloch struggled to rise quickly from the couch and to curtsy, as was the custom. The Queen stepped forward: “My dear,” she said, “don’t rise. I am not coming to you today as the Queen to a subject, but as one woman who has lost her husband to another.”

This is just what God did; he came to us, not as the remote, detached, isolated, majestic God; but as a person. The supreme instance of Mercy, chesedh, is the coming of God in Jesus Christ.

So the translation of the fifth beatitude might read:
O the bliss of those  who get right inside other people, until seeing with their eyes, thinking with their thoughts, feeling with their feelings they will find that others do the same, and will come to know that that is what God in Jesus Christ has done!

Activity

What action is God inviting you to take to be an instrument of God’s mercy and compassion for another?

PRAYER OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS FOR THE EXTRAORDINARY JUBILEE OF MERCY

Lord Jesus Christ, you have taught us to be merciful like the heavenly Father, and have told us that whoever sees you sees Him. Show us your face and we will be saved.

Your loving gaze freed Zacchaeus and Matthew from being enslaved by money; the adulteress and Magdalene from seeking happiness only in created things; made Peter weep after his betrayal, and assured Paradise to the repentant thief. Let us hear, as if addressed to each one of us, the words that you spoke to the Samaritan woman: “If you knew the gift of God!” You are the visible face of the invisible Father, of the God who manifests his power above all by forgiveness and mercy: let the Church be your visible face in the world, its Lord risen and glorified. You willed that your ministers would also be clothed in weakness in order that they may feel compassion for those in ignorance and error: let everyone who approaches them feel sought after, loved, and forgiven by God. Send your Spirit and consecrate every one of us with its anointing, so that the Jubilee of Mercy may be a year of grace from the Lord, and your Church, with renewed enthusiasm, may bring good news to the poor, proclaim liberty to captives and the oppressed, and restore sight to the blind. We ask this of you, Lord Jesus, through the intercession of Mary, Mother of Mercy; you who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever.  Amen.

RCIA

Resurrected Glory , guide our hearts to serve.

God bless our newly baptized, Kim Ellis and Kelly Misol and all our Candidates who received sacraments at the Easter Vigil. Our prayer is with them as they continue their journey with the Lord. The next session of the RCIA is this Monday, April 4th at 7:00 PM in the Russo Room. Our topic is Social Justice. All are invited.

Catholic Campaign for Human Development

The Catholic Campaign for Human Development supports many anti-poverty education programs and grants, such as DART (Direct Action & Research Training). They work with schools & law enforcement officials to decrease the number of school-based arrests & promote alternative, constructive interventions that give children a second chance at the future. This collection is a primary source of funding for CCHD.’s programs. 

To read complete bulletin click here


Compassion on the Journey

EASTER WEEK II

The Gifts of the Holy Spirit

The Risen Christ commissioned the disciples and therefore us, to go out into the world and proclaim the Good News! Part of the Good News of Jesus Christ is the power of the Holy Spirit at work within us and among us. We are given all that we need to live our mission to love and to work for justice and the flourishing of all people.

As we journey through the Easter Season to Pentecost the same Holy Spirit that propelled the disciples to live their mission of Opus Christi, Christ’s Work animates us.

Through Baptism and Confirmation we are empowered with spiritual gifts. During this Easter Season we will explore thematically the Gifts of the Holy Spirit and experience them at work in our lives in new ways.

Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit
  • Fear of the Lord (“WOW!” Awe, Wonder, Amazement) is awakening to God’s blessings freely given: in the beauty of creation, the truth of compassion deep within us, the goodness of loving relationships – recognizing that “All is Gift.”
  • Piety (Reverence) is living gratefully in a graced world with a profound respect for all life and a passion to be faithful stewards of God’s bountiful gifts.
  • Fortitude (Courage) enables us to dream of what is possible with Christ’s love. Fortitude emboldens us to take responsibility for that vision and to creatively make it a reality.
  • Right Counsel helps us to sift and sort in prayer what cannot be changed and needs to be accepted and what can be changed and needs to be accomplished.
  • Knowledge focuses our priorities and shifts our perspective to think, feel and act with faith, hope and love.
  • Understanding is seeing, feeling and listening with the “ear of our heart.” Understanding and compassion are God’s heart.
  • Wisdom enables us to discern and relish God’s presence in all things, to trust in Providence and to therefore live with compassion on the journey.
Scripture
  • The Apostles witness to the Risen Christ and the gifts of the Holy Spirit manifests in their lives with courage.
  • Revelation casts a vision of all creation giving praise and honor to God gratefully for ever and ever.
  • The Risen One reveals himself to the disciples after they have spent the night fishing and have caught nothing. Jesus instructs them to try again and they are gifted with an amazing catch. Recognizing Jesus, they share a breakfast prepared for them by the Lord. WOW!
REFLECTION: A Bathrobe

Picture your bathrobe. Bathrobes make us feel vulnerable. It is difficult to be authoritative and to demand respect while wearing a bathrobe. Barbara Holland has written an article suggesting that if presidents, prime ministers, generals and leaders of all sorts were only allowed to wear bathrobes – at all times – what a different world it would be. Putting on a bathrobe takes off our public mask and reveals a shared humanity.

In today’s Gospel, the All Powerful Risen Christ continues to reveal his compassionate heart in his concern for whether or not the disciples had breakfast. Jesus demonstrates that God’s own heart is overflowing with understanding and compassion for our vulnerable humanity – we are God’s bathrobe people. Jesus is concerned and present to his friends in their failed work, their hungry bellies and their broken hearts with missing him. Jesus doesn’t blind them with the Light of his Glory but rather provides an intimate breakfast meal prepared by his own wounded hands.

Our invitation each day is to take off our public mask, to lay aside the lies we tell ourselves about ourselves and to put on our bathrobes before God in prayer. The Risen Christ is present to us, deeply interested in our hungers, our failures, our fears, our heartbreaks as well as in our joys, triumphs and in our many reasons to give God thanks and praise.

When we are honest and vulnerable with God we become open to God’s power at work in our lives. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are given to us – God’s bathrobe people – to enable and empower us to think, act and live in a more Christ like way.

In prayer we learn that Jesus is interested in whether or not we have had breakfast and in so very much more. When we wear our bathrobe with God, we encounter God’s understanding and compassion. Receiving God’s compassion empowers us to give God’s compassion. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are the ways that God enables us to offer compassion and understanding to our fellow bathrobe wearers, who are every man, woman and child we meet.

Activity

(Put on your bathrobe.) Re-read carefully the list of The Gifts of the Holy Spirit and then prayerfully reflect on the following:

  • What gifts do I see active in my life? How?
    Thank God.
  • Where am I vulnerable, hungering for something, fearful, angry, resentful? Be Honest. What gift do I need to experience more fully?
  • How is God inviting me to use the gifts of the Holy Spirit more profoundly in my life?
  • Who in my life is in need of my gifts?
  • What one action will I take to share my gifts: Time, Talent, Treasure?
RCIA

Resurrected Glory, guide our hearts to serve.

The last session of the RCIA is this Monday, April 11th at 7:00 PM in the Russo Room. Our topic is Opus Christi, spiritual, social and service ministry. All are invited.

To read complete bulletin click here


Compassion on the Journey – Parish Lenten Retreat

Easter Prayer :

Resurrected Glory – guide our hearts to serve
Dona nobis pacem, Grant us Peace.

EASTER SEASON

The Gifts of the Holy Spirit

The Risen Christ commissioned the disciples and therefore us, to go out into the world and proclaim the Good News! Part of the Good News of Jesus Christ is the power of the Holy Spirit at work within us and among us. We are given all that we need to live our mission to love and to work for justice and the flourishing of all people.

As we journey through the Easter Season to Pentecost the same Holy Spirit that propelled the disciples to live their mission of Opus Christi, Christ’s Work animates us.

Through Baptism and Confirmation we are empowered with spiritual gifts. During this Easter Season we will explore thematically the Gifts of the Holy Spirit and experience them at work in our lives in new ways.

Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit
  • Fear of the Lord (“WOW!” Awe, Wonder, Amazement) is awakening to God’s blessings freely given: in the beauty of creation, the truth of compassion deep within us, the goodness of loving relationships – recognizing that “All is Gift.”
  • Piety (Reverence) is living gratefully in a graced world with a profound respect for all life and a passion to be faithful stewards of God’s bountiful gifts.
  • Fortitude (Courage) enables us to dream of what is possible with Christ’s love. Fortitude emboldens us to take responsibility for that vision and to creatively make it a reality.
  • Right Counsel helps us to sift and sort in prayer what cannot be changed and needs to be accepted and what can be changed and needs to be accomplished.
  • Knowledge focuses our priorities and shifts our perspective to think, feel and act with faith, hope and love.
  • Understanding is seeing, feeling and listening with the “ear of our heart.” Understanding and compassion are God’s heart.
  • Wisdom enables us to discern and relish God’s presence in all things, to trust in Providence and to therefore live with compassion on the journey.
Scripture WEEK III
  • In the Acts of the Apostles, the disciples are filled with peace, joy and the Holy Spirit even while being persecuted.
  • In our second reading from St. John is a compassionate vision of the Good Shepherd leading people to a place of refreshment beyond darkness and to peace.
  • Our Gospel reveals that when the sheep hear the voice of the Shepherd and follow they are led into ways of peace.

REFLECTION: UNPLUG

When television screens go black, when computers freeze, when cell phones are mute the first right thing to do is to unplug them. “To Unplug” seems wrong but usually works. The writer Anne Lamott advises, “Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.”

Prayer is our way of unplugging. Unplugging in prayer is the right thing to do for our over active minds, anxious hearts and troubled spirits.

In today’s readings, Saints Paul and Barnabas unplug by taking their seats in the synagogue to pray. They are amazed at the working of the Holy Spirit in their lives as they compassionately care for God’s people. The gifts of the Spirit are manifest as the disciples are able to feel joy in the midst of persecution.

Our second reading and Gospel teach us that Jesus is our compassionate Shepherd who desires to fill our lives with light and peace. In prayer we unplug. We unplug when we honestly tell God our thoughts, share from the ugliness and beauty of our hearts, and ask for guidance as we choose compassion and goodness on the journey.

When we unplug to pray we plug into God and say “WOW!” to God’s gift in all things. Unplugging in prayer gives us opportunity to pray with reverence and gratitude because the truth is that we are not alone. We may be awestruck to discover beauty even in the midst of difficulty and to refresh ourselves with the goodness of God’s healing touch.

The first two gifts of the Holy Spirit, Awe of the Lord, and Piety or Reverence are experienced when we unplug from our hectic activity and plug into prayer. Participating at the Eucharist is an excellent way to unplug from our ordinary routine. Taking a few moments to unplug with prayer during the day when we start to overreact or find ourselves in stress is the secret to experiencing God’s compassion on the journey.

How to Unplug

Unplugging in prayer can be effective even with a few minutes. Unplug in simple ways:

Meditation – Close your eyes (not while driving), breathe in deeply, and breathe out slowly – tell God what is going on within you. Tell God your truth. Our God of all compassion hears you. Ask yourself what is beautiful around you. Even noticing a color – which is God’s gift – can shift our focus. Ask God to whisper to you what is good in you, in others or around you. Listen with the ear of your heart to the Good Shepherd leading you to new thoughts and feelings.

Recitation Prayer – Slowly say prayers you know: Our Father, Hail Mary, The Rosary, Dona nobis pacem- Grant Us Peace, God of All Compassion, Guide our Hearts to Serve.

Compassionate Care – Unplug by helping someone else in word or deed.

Unplugging enables us to pray with AWE and REVERENCE so that we can work again with God’s gifts of compassion and peace.

ST. PHILIP PREPARATORY SCHOOL

Grade 2
Second grade is busy preparing for their First Holy Communion. The first group of students will receive it this Sunday, April 17th. The second group will receive on April 23rd and the last group is May 1st. We are very excited for this special time that will be remembered forever.

In science, an experiment on sound was completed. Each student brought in an empty water bottle. We slowly added water to the bottles and blew to make sound. The students learned that depending on the shape of the bottle and amount of water, the sound changes.

The 2nd graders are working very hard on learning to write in cursive. We practice each day in our handwriting books and are writing more and more of our classwork in cursive. The second graders want to be more than ready for third grade.

Don’t forget to come see the 8th grade performances of the musical, “Fiddler on the Roof” on Thursday, April 28th at 7:00 PM and Friday, April 29th at 10 AM in the Auditorium. All are invited!

To read complete bulletin click here


Compassion on the Journey – Parish Lenten Retreat

Scripture WEEK IV
  • Saints Paul and Barnabas proclaim the good news of the work being accomplished in the early Christian communities.
  • The Book of Revelation proclaims God’s activity in every situation. God promises, “Behold, I make all things new.”
  • Jesus gives a new commandment: “Love one another.”
REFLECTION:

A college student sneezes in the student center at Montclair State University. Lin, a Chinese student remarks, “In my culture, if you sneeze once it means that someone is missing you. If you sneeze twice someone is saying bad things behind your back. If you sneeze three times someone is speaking kindly about you.” The sneezer asks, “What if you sneeze four times?” Lin answers, “That’s easy, it means you caught a cold!” While we recognize the silliness of finding meaning in a sneeze, we recognize a human desire to make sense out of simple events – to find meaning, to discern the future.
This Sunday’s reading reminds us that our lives already have purpose and meaning. Jesus clearly teaches that our purpose is to, “Love one another.” The Good News of Christ is that we are here to make all things new for love. God gifts us with the Holy Spirit who teaches us Scripture, Church teaching and prayer to work for positive change in our world. The gift of Right Counsel helps us to discern what needs to be accomplished. The gift of Fortitude/Courage gives us the strength to make choices and to take actions that promote love, peace, justice and flourishing for all people in our world.

Activity

God promises to help us make things new for love. Reflection questions and prayer:

  • What can I do physically to be renewed – diet, exercise, making a change in my environment? (Fortitude)
  • What negative thought patterns need the touch of God’s grace? What positive thoughts should I encourage? (Discernment)
  • What one action can I take in my relationship with God? (Right Counsel)
  • What action can I take to lovingly support another person physically, mentally, emotionally and psychologically or spiritually? (Courage)

To read complete bulletin click here


Compassion on the Journey – Parish Lenten Retreat

Easter Prayer :

Resurrected Glory – guide our hearts to serve
Dona nobis pacem, Grant us Peace.

EASTER SEASON

The Gifts of the Holy Spirit
The Risen Christ commissioned the disciples and therefore us, to go out into the world and proclaim the Good News! Part of the Good News of Jesus Christ is the power of the Holy Spirit at work within us and among us. We are given all that we need to live our mission to love and to work for justice and the flourishing of all people.

As we journey through the Easter Season to Pentecost the same Holy Spirit that propelled the disciples to live their mission of Opus Christi, Christ’s Work animates us.

Through Baptism and Confirmation we are empowered with spiritual gifts. During this Easter Season we will explore thematically the Gifts of the Holy Spirit and experience them at work in our lives in new ways.

Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit
  • Fear of the Lord (“WOW!” Awe, Wonder, Amazement) is awakening to God’s blessings freely given: in the beauty of creation, the truth of compassion deep within us, the goodness of loving relationships – recognizing that “All is Gift.”
  • Piety (Reverence) is living gratefully in a graced world with a profound respect for all life and a passion to be faithful stewards of God’s bountiful gifts.
  • Fortitude (Courage) enables us to dream of what is possible with Christ’s love. Fortitude emboldens us to take responsibility for that vision and to creatively make it a reality.
  • Right Counsel helps us to sift and sort in prayer what cannot be changed and needs to be accepted and what can be changed and needs to be accomplished.
  • Knowledge focuses our priorities and shifts our perspective to think, feel and act with faith, hope and love.
  • Understanding is seeing, feeling and listening with the “ear of our heart.” Understanding and compassion are God’s heart.
  • Wisdom enables us to discern and relish God’s presence in all things, to trust in Providence and to therefore live with compassion on the journey.
Scripture WEEK V
  • The Apostles deal with the difficulty in the early church community by sending representatives to convey knowledge and true teachings.
  • St. John is gifted with a vision that helps us to understand that Christ is the glory of God, a brilliant light in every situation.
  • The Gospel promises that the Holy Spirit is given to ease our troubles by bringing joy and peace.
REFLECTION:

Lane Becker enjoys telling the following story,
“My father was a guard at San Quentin, and we lived on the prison grounds. Occasionally, inmates came by and helped with yard work. One day, mom lost the keys to the shed. A man who was mowing the lawn offered to help. Picking up a hammer, he gave the lock two sharp taps, and it magically opened. ‘Wow,’ said mom. ‘How did you do that so quickly?’
Handing back the hammer, the prisoner said, ‘Lady, I’m not in this place for nothing!’”
The prisoner had knowledge and understanding about locks. Knowledge and understanding are gifts of the Holy Spirit given to help us solve problems. Sometimes we feel locked up by life. When we have difficulty thinking clearly, God desires for us to pray for a change of perception. In prayer, we can learn to see with God’s eyes. In prayer, God gently teaches us how to think, feel and act with compassion.
Often, we are locked out of understanding other people. In prayer, God gives us the gift of understanding so that we can experience God’s compassion for them.

ACTIVITY
  1. What situations have me feeling, “locked up”?
  2. How is God gently tapping me to see, think and act in new ways?
  3. Who is difficult for me to understand? Who challenges my compassion?
  4. Action: God invites us to “BLESS” those who disturb us. Over time a simple blessing prayer can help us to see, think and feel God’s compassion. Blessing someone else – even through gritted teeth – opens us to God’s grace and enables us to listen with the ear of our hearts for God’s compassion.

To read complete bulletin click here


Compassion on the Journey – Parish Lenten Retreat

Scripture WEEK VI
  • Stephen filled with the Holy Spirit looks to God for help in prayer and wisely rests his own spirit in God’s hands. God gives Stephen courage and the grace to forgive his persecutors.
  • In prayer, St. John sees that God is the first and last, the beginning and the end of all things and therefore the source of ultimate wisdom. He hears the invitation of the Spirit to come to God in our need. John’s response, “Yes, come Lord Jesus.”
  • Jesus looks to his Father in prayer and prays for us who believe but have not seen. Jesus prays that we might be wise and look to God in order to experience, as he did, our heavenly Father’s love and help.
REFLECTION:

The Best Tip
“Three women, obviously old friends, had just finished having dinner at the table next to me. When the waiter came with the bill, one said, ‘Give it to me.’ ‘No. You got it last time,’ said another. ‘It’s my turn.’
The waiter stood there, unsure of what to do – until the third woman said, ‘I’m the biggest tipper.’ He handed her the check.”
Our story, as told by Mary Jo Vetorino, demonstrates the wisdom of the waiter. He looked to the women, listened to them, thought about his options and then made a very wise decision.
Every day we are faced with many, many decision. The wise thing to do in every situation is to look to God in prayer in order to help us to make the best possible choices. God’s deepest desire is to help us with our lives. God is Providence giving and offering assistance at all times. Our challenge is to become more aware and to trust in God’s Providence. Our invitation is to use our spiritual gifts through prayer to help us to live compassionate lives of service.

How It Works:
Wisely use the process of discernment in a real-life situation or in a choice that faces you now.

  1. Quiet yourself
  2. Look to God in prayer
  3. Ask for wisdom
  4. Describe the situation at hand
  5. Listen with the ear of your heart to what God is saying
  6. Think about your options
  7. Make a decision
  8. Act

To read complete bulletin click here


Compassion on the Journey – Parish Lenten Retreat

PENTECOST

The Lobster…

A struggling young American painter is trying to get started as an artist in France. One day, he meets a group of wealthy socialites in a museum. They invite him to a costume party in a castle in the country. The artist is delighted and works hard all week on his costume. He believes that making a good impression on these influential people will most surely help his career.

Fully in costume, the artist enters the ballroom and prepares to descend the long staircase onto the dancefloor. Shocked, he realizes that his friends had indeed invited him to a themed costume party, however, the theme was “a medieval court.” The artist is dressed as a lobster.

All around are bejeweled Kings, Queens, Princes and Princesses, Dukes, Earls, Barons and Baronesses. Our artist is wearing a red leotard, red tights, red ballet slippers, giant red foam claws and two wiggling antennae on his head.

Running away is his first thought. But he doesn’t run. He worked very hard on his costume using his gifts and talents. His mission remains the same, to get to know these people, whether he is dressed as a lobster or not.

Stepping into the crowd, a great silence falls and all eyes turn toward him. Someone asks, “What on earth are you?”

A quick prayer crosses his mind and then with a great bow and a flourish he announces “I am the court lobster!” Laughter, not mocking but joyful, signals that they love their new court jester! (Adapted from a story by Elizabeth Gilbert)

That moment when the lobster chose to pray and then courageously go forth into the crowd is a Pentecost moment. The Holy Spirit gifts us to go forth beyond our fears to accomplish our daily mission of Opus Christi, Christ’s Work. We are called to walk into the crowd with service and compassion on the journey.

May we experience our lives as empowered by the Holy Spirit so that in our every thought, prayer, word and deed we manifest God’s compassion.
May we be the lobster who walks into the party…

Our Walk Through the Last Year

Pentecost is a celebration of God’s love and power at work within and among us.

The Eucharist means “to give thanks”. Our celebration is the perfect time to recount all the ways that God has blessed our parish and the ways that we have blessed each other with Compassion on the Journey since last Pentecost.

To read complete bulletin click here