NET Ministry Retreat Sacred Heart (Winchester) is hosting an overnight NET Ministry Retreat for high school youth, September 27th (Friday evening) - 28th (Saturday Afternoon). We are inviting all diocesan parishes to join us for this retreat. There is a $25.00 fee per youth (chaperones stay free); three meals, two sacraments, and one night’s lodging are included. A flyer and permission slip can be downloaded from ygosh.webs.com. Please send all questions and inquires to Sacred Heart Youth Minister Thomas Marino via 540-931-5768 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Christ the Redeemer is hoping to start an Adult Faith Group that would meet to view DVDs and discuss them in light of our religious faith. In order to refine this idea and help get it off the ground, we ask that you please complete this survey in hopes of having our first Faith & Film showing toward the end of July.
Don't forget to hit the SUBMIT button at the end of the survey.
For More Information, contact Jay Cuasay, 703-430-0811 ext. 112 or email@example.com
ORDINARY TIME IS NOT SO ORDINARY
The last few Sundays have been dramatic Feast Days: Pentecost, Trinity Sunday, and Corpus Christi. In no small way they have continued to amplify the great message of Easter. Christ is Risen! Leave the upper room and tell all. And know that it is through the Holy Spirit that the Son continues to be among us so that we may be raised up to the glory of the Father. But this particular Sunday doesn’t have a great title other than the 10th Sunday in Ordinary Time. This time is ordinary not in the sense of being plain or unremarkable, but in the sense of being counted as the next Sunday after the last Sunday. For Time is anything but unremarkable.
In the Second Reading we hear Paul giving witness to how his own past lived in Judaism became entirely disrupted by the revelation of the Risen Christ. But rather than see this only in terms of a discontinuity between past and present (or between Judaism and Christianity), the scriptures for today present us with similar stories between the Old Testament (Hebrew Scriptures) reading of Elijah the Prophet and today’s Gospel.
BREATHING IN AND BREATHING OUT
In the First Reading the son of a widow has stopped breathing. He has died. At first the widow turns to Elijah to ask him if this misfortune is some type of punishment. The prophet takes the son to an upper room to speak with God and to ask that the “breath of life” be returned to the child. God hears Elijah’s prayer and returns the breath of life to the child. The widow reacts to this disruptive change of events with gladness and praise for Elijah as a true man of God who speaks the truth.
In the Gospel Reading a similar situation presents itself. A widow’s son has died. In fact, the boy is already laid in a coffin and there is a funeral procession taking him outside the gates of the city. Although the widow has not said anything to Jesus one way or another, Jesus is moved by seeing her and says, “Do not weep.” This is speaking the truth to fear and sadness in the face of death. What’s more, Jesus touches the coffin and the procession halts. Jesus offers the very breath of life in forming
the next words, “Young man, I tell you arise.” And his divine command becomes reality. Afterward, there is both praise to God from the crowds for his actions as well as fear and awe. For as fearful and sad as death can be, something more powerful is present here and has taken that fear and sadness away.
AWAY FOR THE SUMMER
Whether we actually have vacation time or not, we all dream of summer vacations as time away and hence behave in that matter. We will try to take things slower. We will try to relax. We will try to “get away” from the normal and seek the extraordinary. But we will always be between this (Ordinary) Sunday and the next (Ordinary) Sunday, between wondering one way about what God has done or given us or feeling differently afterwards.
But if we take the time to seek the deeper truth, perhaps spend a little time participating with the Divine Breath of the Spirit by simply breathing in and breathing out, we might experience a more profound presence of God in our lives. When we start to form words and think of the power the “breath of life” has to form and shape what it sends out into the world, perhaps we too might ask with more discernment in our prayers (like Elijah) and speak more lovingly (as Jesus did) in the face of life’s disappointments. Who knows how God will answer? Or how the Spirit will prompt you to speak.
Director of Christian Formation
This article also appears in the Sunday Bulletin for June 9, 2013.
Readings for Sunday, June 2: The Feast of Corpus Christi
Gn 14:18-20 , 1 Cor 11:23-26 ,Lk 9:11b-17 are available here.)
Food for Thought
On this weekend’s celebration of Corpus Christi we might do well to reflect upon the Body and Blood of Christ offered for us and sustaining and enabling us as members of the same. For me, this weekend pulls me in two different directions. First, I have been called back to New Jersey to celebrate the Ordination Mass of my junior year high school religion teacher, who will then celebrate his First Mass at our memorable Christian Brothers Academy in Lincroft.
I owe a debt of gratitude to this teacher who was part of a very intentional faith formation process in my high school years. It is also with a sense of shared responsibility that the two of us separated by many years of education now find ourselves more intentionally aligned to the same tasks and responsibilities of parish ministry. Our past and present have led us to a common future that was invisible to us all those years ago.
The second place that my attention is drawn is back to my primary ministry: this parish of Christ the Redeemer. This weekend we are offering Religious Education registration after all the masses. Once again, the task of calling to mind the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ and continuing the work of forming disciples through catechesis is upon us. What is marvelously raised up during consecration and ordained in “sacred hands” also comes down to be in our midst and our responsibility to give the multitudes “something to eat.”
“Give them some food yourselves...”
We have journeyed fairly recently through the Easter Season hearing as if for the first time the impact of the Resurrection stories upon the hearts and minds of the first disciples. Jesus’ Ascension was not a reprieve from the mission, but a period of hope and preparation for the coming of the Holy Spirit. The Feast of Pentecost and its outpouring of the Spirit’s gifts could easily stand in for any of our sacramental celebrations in which that same hope and preparation culminates in the Spirit who comes down upon us so that these gifts may become Christ’s Body and Blood offered up for the Father's loving embrace.
As mysterious as sacraments are, they are also quite revealing. They are outward signs of an inward reality. They make visible what is invisible: Jesus Christ, the First Sacrament. It is he who makes visible the invisible God. So also the Church, through the Holy Spirit, is the Sacrament of Christ making visible the invisible God today. It is through the Church and its actions that others come to see Christ. One of the Church’s basic actions visible at the parish level is to share in mission through Religious Education.
Twelve Wicker Baskets
The miracle of feeding the multitudes is a testimony to our hope and God’s abundant care for us. It would be wonderful if everything were as simple as calling the multitudes to sit together in groups and then letting “God happen.” Our various groups in the religious education program hunger for a chance to experience this same abundance and hope. And they need the Church, our parish, to show up and make visible and real this hope and care.
Catechists, parents and parish adults, are needed to live out their responsibilities in faith to echo (which is the meaning of catechesis) the faith. We are not looking for theologians and professors. We are simply looking to carry out our mission to make Christ visible to the world and to our parish children in particular by echoing what we have seen and heard.
From God’s abundance there ought to be a call to “Taste and See”, to “See and Believe”, to have God’s promise “Fulfilled in our hearing.” Do we have 12 baskets full to nourish and sustain our parish programs of the past and present for a common future? What is invisible needs to be made visible. While registration continues, so too the need for catechists continues. Come and be seen, counted, and fed. Come and be food for others.
Jay Cuasay, Director of Faith Formation
(Readings for Sunday, June 2: The Feast of Corpus Christi are available here.)
Fr. C. Donald Howard, a Franciscan Friar of the Atonement and pastor for the past 25 years at Christ the Redeemer Catholic Church, Sterling VA bid farewell to his parish this past weekend. Fr. Howard celebrated the Spanish masses on Saturday and Sunday as well as the Sunday 10 AM and 5:30 PM Masses in English. Parishioners met with him after each of the 6 masses this weekend at a special “Donut Sunday” reception to offer their thanks, write notes of remembrance, and of course as many often did, to listen to his homily and talk to him afterwards.
Our annual participation in Simbang Gabi, a nine-day series of Masses celebrated by Filipinos as a prelude to the Christmas Season, is this evening, Wednesday, December 19th.
Mass begins at 7:30 pm with pastor Rev. C. Donald Howard, S.A. and concelebrant Rec. Patrick Cogan, S.A. The Mass is primarily in English with some Filipino music. Following the mass there will be a reception in Atonement Hall featuring Filipino food. The public is invited and asked to bring a holiday dish to share.
Below is a scriptural reflection for the readings at this Mass. Hope to see you there.
On Friday morning, December 14th, an incredible and unexpected horror was visited upon Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, involving an in school shooting resulting in deaths of adult teachers and young children.
By the end of the day, I received an email from the Loudoun County Public School Superintendent. I imagine most parents also received the same information. But in case you didn't or need access to the PDF that was included in that email, the PDF is below.
The LCPS Superintendent talked about existing and enhanced security measures implemented in LCPS. The PDF contains social-psychological information regarding violence in schools and helping children cope.