Thursday, December 29, 2016

Happy New Year! 2017--On Being Resilient and Living with Hope

I just wrote a quote from Michael Jordan, the great basketball player that I found in a book on keeping a positive outlook in life, on the blog I write that is filled with just quotes. The more I read the quote the more I like it.....the more I want to share it.

So it goes.......

"I've missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times I've been trusted to take the game winning shot...and missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."   Michael Jordan-born in Brooklyn-achieved greatness in the NBA.

In the Bible, perseverance and being hopeful is rewarded by God. As Christians hope is essential to our Christians we live in the glow of Christ victorious and that glow should emanate from us. Life is full of distractions, difficulties, and even trials, at times. But knowing Christ walks with us and Christ is near, is so important.  It's important to be resilient and to never give up hope.  St. Teresa of Avila, the great mystic, Spanish saint and Doctor of the Church would tell her nuns, "So many problems arise from imagining Jesus as far away, when He is really near." That is the truth, Teresa would know, she is a Doctor, we can trust her advice.

Happy New Year! May all your dreams come true! Amen.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Bishop Barres Arrival on Long Island

The announcement during Advent that Long Island, NY-which for Catholics is the Diocese of Rockville Centre would be getting a new Bishop was met with surprise at St. Agnes Cathedral on the morning of December 9th. Many Church insiders knew it would be announced soon, since Bishop Murphy had turned 75 and had submitted his retirement papers, as mandated by canon law. But there was the new Bishop concelebrating morning Mass, with Bishop Murphy, along with the Rector, just like that. I usually watch daily Mass at midnight (it is televised from the Cathedral), as it is re-televised on Telecare at night and its a good way for me to end the day. Yes I do stay up that late, sometimes later. And I did watch Bishop Barres being introduced to the daily Mass goers by Bishop Murphy that day, as he humbly concelebrated. The Cathedral has been totally renovated and so Bishop Barres walked into a beautiful, newly renovated Cathedral. That was good.
Bishop Barres, age 56,  will need his Ivy League education, plus all the experience he gained as Bishop of Allentown, PA, plus his relatively young age, and his deep prayer life, because there is a lot going on, on Long Island. There's lots of diversity, natural beauty, faith-filled people, great Catholic schools and parishes which is a good thing, but there's lots of challenges here as well.
Long Island has a fair share of unchurched, under evangelized, nominal Catholics, who don't go to Church on Sunday. But that's everywhere, not just on Long Island.
Another challenge is the youth, how can they be evangelized, so they see the value in attending Mass and praying regularly. Of course some do, but not enough. How can the Bishop or anyone for that matter, get them away from their cell phones for one hour, so they can attend Mass and experience the peace and comfort that comes from prayer and worship of God? 
There is so much wealth on Long Island, especially in the Hamptons, but there is also poverty. That's another challenge......There's the very rich, the somewhat rich, the struggling middle-class (many are just picking up and leaving and heading South where its cheaper to live) and the poor, who need help and mercy.
Bishop Barres can gain comfort from knowing Catholic Long Islanders (among others) are praying for his success and blessings on his episcopacy. May God give him the wisdom and guidance he needs to face the challenges. Amen.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Marian Symposium at the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Huntington, NY

I have been an active friend of the "Friends of the Seminary" for many years. I was also a Vice President and President of the volunteer organization that helps fund- raise and plan events for the "friends." We help the Seminary and we help the seminarians who now study at Dunwoodie in Yonkers at St. Joseph's Seminary. Yesterday on Dec. 4th, the Spirituality Committee planned a great day of prayer, theology, art and music, with the rector's permission and advice. Msgr. Richard Henning is a great rector and he has been an asset to the Seminary. He is making improvements and is very involved in making sure the Seminary remains vital to the surrounding areas of Long Island and the Diocese of Rockville Centre and the Diocese of Brooklyn. Since St. Ignatius Retreat House on the North Shore of LI in North Hills sadly closed and was demolished (the magnificent property will be used to build luxury houses), the Seminary in Huntington has become more important as a place for retreats, education and days of prayer.
The day began with Mass in the Main Chapel and Bishop Massa presided and the Rector, the Associate Rector and Fr. Hugh Gillespie concelebrated.  
At the Marian Symposium the Keynote Address was given by Bishop James Massa (Auxiliary Bishop of Brooklyn and Moderator of the Curia). His lecture was well thought out and fascinating. He spoke about "The Nursing Virgin Mary (Madonna Lactans) in Christian art, devotion and "its theological purpose to honor the sacred humanity" of Jesus. He also spoke about Mary as the Mother of God (Theotokos) and many other fascinating aspects of Marian theology. He highly suggested the book, "The Splendor of the Church" by Henri de Lubac which I am going to try to read this winter. We were all impressed.
His talk was followed by another extraordinary presentation by Fr. Hugh Gillespie, SMM, who is a well known presenter on Marian devotion. He managed to mix deep theological (and challenging) thoughts with an entertaining presentation. It was very good.
That was followed by a powerpoint presentation by Angela-DeLessio-Morrisson who is a local artist and she discussed icons and in particular Our Lady of Perpetual Help icon. Angela is a graduate of the Master's Degree Program at the Seminary. She gave a wonderful presentation. And if that wasn't all enough, we did manage to fit in lunch and a musical interlude by the Cathedral Seminary Schola by the Pre-Theologians studying at Cathedral Seminary House of Formation in Douglaston, Queens. That was heavenly.
The day ended with Solemn Vespers and though I very much wanted to stay, I don't like driving on the North Shore of LI roads in the dark and so I had to leave before darkness fell.
What a great spiritual day, filled with knowledge of God and Mary. All so good for the soul.