By Sr. Laura Hammel
Special to The Catholic Weekly
The most common question we, as members of Poor Clare Sisters, also known as Sisters of St. Clare, are asked is: “What do we do?”
“We are a community of contemplative Poor Clare Nuns.”
“And what does that mean?”
This is one of a series of Lenten reflections.
By Srs. Maria Inviolata and Mary Philomena
Special to The Catholic Weekly
The wedding of Cana is God’s perfect manifestation of the Redeemer in a public dimension. While we may not think that a second round of wine was the best time and place for such a manifestation, ultimately God ordained that Cana led directly to Calvary.
On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee and the mother of Jesus was there. (John 2:1) In the Middle East, wedding festivities could last for a week. This wedding takes place in Cana, commonly believed to be in the hill country, about nine miles north of Nazareth. That Mary was invited indicates she was a friend of either the bride or the groom. (more…)
This is one in a series of Lenten reflections.
By Johanna White
Special to The Catholic Times
As we begin the third week of the season of Lent, it is the ideal time to reflect upon Jesus’ amazing gift of salvation and ask if you are on the right path to realizing this gift. (more…)
GAYLORD — Students across the diocese in grades 9-12 are encouraged to participate in the 2012 Sr. High Youth Rally on Saturday, March 17, at the Diocesan Pastoral Center in Gaylord. By popular request, we will welcome back internationally renowned musician and speaker Sal Solo. Sal was last in Gaylord in 2005 where his dynamic approach inspired more than 200 youth from across diocese. This year Sal will use his musical talent and multimedia presentations to highlight the theme “CREED”ing a New You. He will bring to life the words of the Creed and explain the basics of our Catholic faith. Joining Sal for the Rally will be the 2012 National Catholic Youth Conference talent winner, Mathias Michael.
Sal has been playing music since his teenage years. He acquired his first guitar when he was twelve, and by the time he finished high school he had put together an amateur band. The group, calling themselves “The News” (long before Huey Lewis), eventually turned professional. Over the next several years, Sal was lead singer for several other bands, including “Classix Nouveux,” eventually going out on his own as a single performer.
In 1983, Sal met Nick Beggs of the band “Kajagoogoo.” Beggs, a “born again Christian,” persuaded him to go on a pilgrimage to San Damiano in Italy. Sal was hesitant at first, but then became “soaked up in the atmosphere of prayer” and even considered abandoning his singing career for a monastic life. Another pilgrim on the journey told him, “Young people of the world are looking for answers. You’ve found what they are looking for…you can use music to tell them.”
Known internationally for his gentle and respectful way of delivering the Lord’s message through contemporary music, Sal Solo touches the hearts and souls of all who attend his concerts. His spirit, energy and enthusiasm for the Gospel brings teens to Christ. His personal interactions with them encourages them to make tough decisions and positive choices in their lives.
Doors will open at 9:30 on March 17, with the Youth Rally officially getting underway at 10 a.m. The event will conclude after a 4 p.m. Mass celebrated by Bishop Bernard A.Hebda. Cost is $30.00 per student; lunch and refreshments are included. Registration materials have been provided to all parishes and Catholic high schools, and may also be accessed online at www.dioceseofgaylord.org. (Type “2012 Youth Rally” in the search box.) Deadline to register is March 9, 2012.
Planned by the Secretariat for Faith Development and the Gaylord Diocesan Youth Council, this annual event gives high students an opportunity to join with youth from across the diocese to experience church and community in a special way.It gives them the chance to share faith, friendship and fun, while learning new things about life and about themselves.
For more information concerning the Diocesan Senior High Youth Rally, please contact your parish youth minister or Dannie Brzezinski by phone (989) 732-5147 or via e-mail at email@example.com.†
By Charles Taylor
Special to The Catholic Weekly
GAYLORD —How is your Lent going? As we approach Laetare Sunday I usually take a step back to review my progress in fasting, helping others and praying. Sometimes I get a little too focused on fasting and the things that I have chosen to “give up.” I know that others get fixated with the fasting thing as well. You always hear people ask, “So, how are you doing with not eating chocolate and such?” You usually don’t hear people ask, “So Charles, are you praying more often?” or “Have you been giving alms to the poor?” No, usually if people check in with each other in Lent it has to do with fasting.
It is hard to imagine Jesus asking the question. “So, how’s the fasting coming? “ “I gave up coffee and sweets for you,” I respond, and Jesus says what? “Thank you, Charles.”? I doubt it. Obviously something must come from fasting. What is to be gained by learning to control your appetite for food, entertainment and leisure? The question is; can physical hunger inspire spiritual cravings? Can I break the habit of routinely nourishing my body while mindlessly neglecting my soul? For that matter, can fasting bring me to care as much for the state of my soul as I do for the state of my body? By practicing the act of self-denial, can I learn to want to put others’ needs ahead of my own?
Sadly, I have to admit that for me, fasting can easily become simply an exercise in self-discipline. Worse yet, in the past I have motivated myself to fast with fairly secular rewards, however well intentioned; to lose weight, drink less caffeine or watch less TV. I like these things so it has always hurt to give them up. I always start with the noblest of intentions but I have to admit that somewhere way in the back of my mind I am secretly encouraging myself with some physically tangible reward like deciding to give up sweets, snacking between meals, or carbohydrates because I would simply like to lose some weight. I have these expectations that by Easter I will weigh less or need caffeine less or some other “prize for my efforts.” I don’t think that it is bad to fast from things that are unhealthy during Lent in the hopes of a more positive lifestyle come Easter. It’s kind of a two for one thing. My problem is that I often go one for two. That is, I set out to become both spiritually and physically healthier, but often simply come away in better shape physically while my interior self remains neglected as ever.
The truth is that in the desert Jesus fasted AND prayed. They go together. Without prayer, the exercise of fasting is reduced to a forty day diet, divine weight-loss plan or simply a short intermission from coveted things. Fasting is a spiritual exercise only when you can harness your cravings and use them as a reminder to turn your thoughts and energy toward your relationship with God and the state of your eternal soul.
I have been trying something different this Lent. Please don’t think this is morbid — and I admit that it might not be for everyone — but this Lent I have been using my cravings as a reminder to contemplate my own death and subsequent events. It’s not as horrifying as you might think to merely “consider death.” In fact, I am finding that the more I do this, the more comfortable I am becoming with the reality I will someday die and I don’t know when. I accept that I am one heart attack, aneurism or car accident away from standing before God. As I visualize standing before my Maker I imagine that He directs me toward two lists. One list shows where I spent my money and the other, where I spent my time. The tally is a graphic indictment of where my true priorities lie. I am compelled to consider how generous and charitable I am toward others in my actions and in sharing my talents and blessings. Much needs to be amended and I always come away from this exercise worrying more for the state of my soul than about trivial secular concerns and physical cravings. (more…)