Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Only a few days after the initial hit of snow, last Friday, our Monastery in Philadelphia was beaten down with more snow and there is more to come this afternoon.  Despite the snow and cold, our friars got out to clear the sidewalks and drive way.  We had a bit of fun too.... Joy amidst work is a sign of the Divine indwelling.... Hats off to our Postulant over at Mercedarian Formation for some pictures....

Br. David tried to call a truce with the postulant.... he realizes his own defeat.... HAHA

Br. Daniel is a pro when it comes to shoveling and tossing snow.... Br. David, from the South, is still a novice in snow removal.... A moment of Fraternity!!!

Not bad, brothers!!

This is still Br. David when he was confident in is snowball fighting skills... refer to the first picture.  He now knows the virtue of humility.  The joy and grace of religious life is to come to know your limitations.  Praise God, Br. David has come to know he is not a snowball fighter.... HAHAHA.... 

** Let us remember in prayer the homeless and all who may not have heat in these days of cold weather and snow.  Our Lady of Mercy and St. Peter Nolasco, our Father and Founder, pray for us!!!  J+M+J+PN

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Words from the Holy Father

Conversion breaks bonds of selfishness, pope says in Lenten message

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Conversion to Christ gives people the strength to break the bonds of selfishness and work for justice in the world, Pope Benedict XVI said in his message for Lent 2010.

"The Christian is moved to contribute to creating just societies where all receive what is necessary to live according to the dignity proper to the human person and where justice is enlivened by love," the pope said in the message released Feb. 4 at the Vatican.

Latin-rite Catholics begin Lent Feb. 17 while most Eastern-rite Catholics begin the penitential season Feb. 15.

The theme of the pope's message was, "The Justice of God Has Been Manifested through Faith in Jesus Christ."

The common understanding of "justice," he said, is to give each person his or her due.

But because people are created in God's image, they not only need food, water, shelter and jobs; they need God and they need love, he said.

The greatest sign of God's love is the gift of salvation in Christ. When people accept that gift, the pope said, they recognize that they are dependent on God.

"Conversion to Christ, believing in the Gospel, ultimately means this: to exit the illusion of self-sufficiency in order to discover and accept one's own need -- the need of others and God, the need of his forgiveness and his friendship," the pope wrote.

The Vatican invited Hans-Gert Pottering, the former president of the European Parliament and president of Germany's Konrad Adenauer Foundation, to present the pope's message to the press.

Pottering said the basic call of the pope's message is "to work in union with our creator on our responsibility in the world."

"In these words -- charity, solidarity, fraternity -- lie the key to a true understanding of the responsibility of Christians in the world," he said. "Solidarity or charity implies the responsibility to defend and protect the universal dignity of any human being anywhere in the world under any circumstances."

Pottering said unfortunately modern politics has placed so much emphasis on promoting freedom and equality that it has almost ignored the obligation to promote solidarity and fraternity.

For example, "whereas Europe and the world have already invested unimaginable sums for the fight against the financial crisis, the implementation of charity leaves much to be desired, especially in the fight against hunger in the world," he said.

More than a billion people live on less than $1.50 a day, he said. AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis are devastating the world's poorest nations, and pollution is destroying the air, water and farmable land.

The international reaction to the financial crisis demonstrates that "international cooperation can overcome huge challenges. A similar firmness is equally necessary in the fight against worldwide poverty," Pottering said.

On a concrete level, he called on all countries and all airlines to join the UNITAID project, which works with the World Health Organization to buy bulk quantities of anti-AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis drugs using funding from a $1 or $2 surcharge on airline tickets.

The minor increase in the cost of a plane ticket, he said, "could help ease the misery in the world."


The Curia is Serious....

Vatican official says religious orders are in modern 'crisis'

By John Thavis
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- A top Vatican official said religious orders today are in a "crisis" caused in part by the adoption of a secularist mentality and the abandonment of traditional practices.

Cardinal Franc Rode, prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, said the problems go deeper than the drastic drop in the numbers of religious men and women.

"The crisis experienced by certain religious communities, especially in Western Europe and North America, reflects the more profound crisis of European and American society. All this has dried up the sources that for centuries have nourished consecrated and missionary life in the church," Cardinal Rode said in a talk delivered Feb. 3 in Naples, Italy.

"The secularized culture has penetrated into the minds and hearts of some consecrated persons and some communities, where it is seen as an opening to modernity and a way of approaching the contemporary world," he said.

Cardinal Rode said the decline in the numbers of men and women religious became precipitous after the Second Vatican Council, which he described as a period "rich in experimentation but poor in robust and convincing mission."

Faced with an aging membership and fewer vocations, many religious orders have turned to "foreign vocations" in places like Africa, India and the Philippines, the cardinal said. He said the orders need to remember that quality of vocations is more important than quantity.

"It is easy, in situations of crisis, to turn to deceptive and damaging shortcuts, or attempt to lower the criteria and parameters for admission to consecrated life and the course of initial and permanent formation," he said.

In any case, he said, "big numbers are not indispensable" for religious orders to prove their validity. It's more important today, he said, that religious orders "overcome the egocentrism in which institutes are often closed, and open themselves to joint projects with other institutes, local churches and lay faithful."

Cardinal Rode, a 75-year-old Slovenian, is overseeing a Vatican-ordered apostolic visitation of institutes for women religious in the United States to find out why the numbers of their members have decreased during the past 40 years and to look at the quality of life in the communities.

He spoke Feb. 3 to a conference on religious life sponsored by the Archdiocese of Naples. The Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, published the main portions of his text.

Cardinal Rode said it was undoubtedly more difficult today for all religious orders to find young people who are willing to break away from the superficial contemporary culture and show a capacity for commitment and sacrifice. Unless this is dealt with in formation programs, he said, religious orders will produce members who lack dedication and are likely to drift away.

The challenge, however, should not be seen strictly in negative terms, he said. The present moment, he said, can help religious orders better define themselves as "alternatives to the dominant culture, which is a culture of death, of violence and of abuse," and make it clear that their mission is to joyfully witness life and hope, in the example of Christ.


Friday, February 5, 2010

Back in action

.... Well, it's been some time since i've written on this piece of internet communication... I suppose I should fill you in the happenings of the Monastery.  Two of our brothers endured and survived their Comprehensive Exams for the M. Div at the seminary.  It's an exam that consists of 4 written exams and one oral exam in a particular concentration  -- Systematic Theology, Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, or Sacred Scripture....

In other news, we had a visit of Fr. Eugene Costa, Fr. Oscar Kozyra and Br. Matthew Levis over the course of the January.  They came  and visited us for a brief period.  But it was good to see them all and to hear how our brothers at the other friaries are doing.  Fr Eugene was here to enjoy our community celebration of the 10th Anniversary of Br. James' 30th Birthday.  We all had a great time at a small Chinese restaurant in Philadelphia's China town.

The parish is preparing for the Patronal and Titular Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes.  There will be a Solemn High Mass offered.... and it is all very exciting.

Stay tuned for more updates....

God Bless.
Pray for the captives.