Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Liturgy of the Hours

Available for purchase at
The Liturgy of the Hours: ever desired in its beauty, ever peaceful in its rhythm, ever the obnoxious bane of the existence of average "Joe-in-the-pew."  Despite complex rubrics and differing patterns of prayer, I hope to demystify this Liturgy of the Church.  I hope you'll allow it to broaden your relationship with Christ and let the life of the Church to ever more permeate and guide your daily work, play, and prayer.

The Liturgy of the Hours is the cycle of seven "hours" or times of prayer scattered throughout the day which sanctify time.  It is intimately connected to the Mass and a part of the official prayer of the Church. Clergy and religious are required to pray the Liturgy of the Hours several times a day.

Laity are encouraged to participate as their duties and responsibilities permit.  For our purposes here I will focus on the format of the two main hours which hinge the day: Morning Prayer (Lauds) and Evening Prayer (Vespers).
Each hours begins with a call and response from Scripture:

"V./ O God, come to my assistance.
R./ Lord, make haste to help me."

This is then followed by a "Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen."  Note the different form of the prayer from what you may have learned as a part of the rosary.  Often a hymn is then sung relating to the feast day, praising God, or speaking about the particular time of day.

After the hymn comes three psalms prayed with an antiphon.  The antiphon comes first and may relate to the psalm, the Gospel for the day, or the feast.  Antiphons are my favourite part because they give the core of the message for reflection.  They are the lens through which the psalm should be read, the mystery of faith packed in one or two sentences.  Once the antiphon is said the psalm is prayed followed by a "Glory Be" and the antiphon repeated.  A period of silence is observed for reflection, and the cycle repeats with a new antiphon and psalm.

Following the psalms a Scripture passage is read, which is concluded by a Responsory, a short and poetic response to the Scriptures.  Then comes the great hymn of praise, the climax of the hour.  In Morning Prayer, the Canticle of Zechariah is prayed, the words of the father of St. John the Baptist when he regained his speech.  In Evening Prayer, the Canticle of Mary is prayed, the words of the Mother of God when she visited her cousin Elizabeth.  Each canticle  has an antiphon just like the psalms.  General intercessions follow, covering a wide variety of needs, requests, adorations, and thanksgivings, just like at Mass.  The Lord's Prayer is said and a closing prayer follows, frequently matching the opening collect for Mass.  If a priest or deacon does not give a blessing, the hour ends: "May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil, and bring us to everlasting life."

Daughters of St Paul praying Liturgy of the Hours together.
If you are brand new or even mildly experienced, do not - I repeat - do not get bogged down by all the rubrics and guidelines.  There are many different forms, books, and styles of the Liturgy of the Hours.  Each community will pray together just a little differently.  The point is not to pray the Liturgy of the Hours perfectly.  The point is to unite each moment of your day more intimately to Christ by taking small respites to bring yourself to His Presence united with the Church.

Start small.  There are many beautiful resources which are easy to manage and work into your routine.  Then, as you might feel called, you can step up to the more official books of the Church: Shorter Christian Prayer, Christian Prayer, and the "4 volume"!  You may also wish to read the Church's official how-to guide: The General Instruction of the Liturgy of the Hours, if you're feeling particularly ambitious!

Kellen is 26 years old and is Director of Liturgy & Music at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in Hastings, MN. He is a Masters student in Catholic Studies at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN and is a scholar of the church.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Popes and the Pauline Family

Blessed James Alberione as a seminarian was steeped in the teachings of Pope Leo XIII, who brought the Gospel message to a world reeling from the effects of the industrial revolution. As a young priest he followed carefully the life and writing of St. Pius X, a humble and holy Pontiff who initiated liturgical reforms and defended Church teachings throughout his Pontificate. When the world had plunged into total madness in August of 1914, with one so called Christian nation fighting another, Blessed Alberione founded the Society of St. Paul on August 20, the very day that Pius X died. On his own death bed Blessed Alberione was visited by Blessed Pope Paul VI, who greatly admired and respected him. The role of the Papacy in the Pauline family is illustrated in countless ways. Perhaps, most telling is the 4th vow of Fidelity to the Pope in matters of the Apostolate that is a part of the Society of St. Paul's consecrated service to the Church. Blessed Paul VI was known as the “Pilgrim Pope,” making eight international trips that set the precedent for his successors who more then ever see themselves a pastors of the world. Blessed Alberione had often told the members of the Pauline Family that they had the entire world as their parish.

Pope Francis began his current trip with a visit to Cuba. Fr. Francis X Borrano, the priest who founded the Society of St. Paul in the U.S., had also started the Society in Cuba. Unfortunately when the communists took over in 1959, the Society was expelled from the country. The good news is that the Society has returned to the island to restart our work there of evangelization. Pope Francis' visit there these days has uplifted the Church and given us the capacity to tell the Good News to a people accustomed to bad news.

In Philadelphia the Pope's visit coincided with the World Meeting of Families. Our Pauline Family was there in force. Together we had ten tables displaying our products and our common spirituality that the families of the world can benefit from.  Bishop Robert Barron was the keynote speaker for the World Meeting of Families and he has been a leader in using the media to promote the beauty and truth of the Catholic Church. He gave a presentation on becoming the image of God by everyone becoming a priest, a prophet and a king. By doing this we break down the gates of Hell and set free those who are trapped in the slavery of sin.

Many of the members of the Pauline Family attended the talks at the World Meeting of Families and participated in the public liturgies celebrated by the Holy Father during his visit. Our main ministry these days, however, will be one of prayer so that the nation and the world can clearly hear the message of peace and hope that Pope Francis brings wherever he goes.

In 1890, Pope Leo XIII wrote his Rerum Novarum addressing the evils that accompanied the industrial revolution and offering godly advice on how to correct the evils while maintaining the good that came from the technical and scientific breakthroughs of the time. Pope Leo was severely criticized by politicians on the Left and the Right. Many in the Church felt that Pope Leo had ventured into the realm of economics that it was best to steer clear of. Pope Francis faces the same criticism today. He however has heard the cry of the poor. He has responsibility to articulate the teachings of the prophets of Israel who declared that true religion always would take care of the poor, the weak, the widow and the stranger in the land.

David Brooks in an Op­Ed piece for the New York Times accurately predicted what the Pope's visit to the U.S would accomplish: “Millions of Americans will display their faith in public. Francis will offer doctrinal instruction for Catholics. But the great gift is the man himself — his manner, the way he carries himself. Specifically, Francis offers a model on two great questions: How do you deeply listen and learn? How do you uphold certain moral standards, while still being loving and merciful to those you befriend?”

Fr. Jeffrey Mickler has been a priest for over 40 years and has ministered to a wide variety of families in Detroit, New York, and Youngstown. Fr. Micker is a member of the Society of St. Paul, a religious society that is present in over 40 countries that specialize in media of all kind. In recent years, the S. S. P. has devoted much time on the use of social media and the internet as a means of bringing the Gospel to the world. To that end Fr. Mickler has posted over 600 videos on line, all of which have had approximately 6 million total views on a variety of web sites including

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Pope and the Paulines -- a match made for heaven!

Pope Francis comes to the United States ...

Courtesy of @CatholicTV

Pauline Family display tables in Philly: waiting to be filled
... And the Pauline Family is there to share the wealth.

    What wealth?  Pope Francis has made it clear that material wealth is not the capital that makes us happy or the grease that oils the machinery of true human goodness.

    The wealth of the Gospel is found in
[P][p]ersons: from the Father, Son and Holy Spirit to the disciples, evangelists, fathers, mothers, workers, thinkers, pray-ers, sisters, brothers, and more. And as Sister Anne Flanagan makes clear in her NunBlog, the Paulines will be spreading the gospel bounty throughout the time of Pope's visit in Philadelphia:

Sister Paulamarie sporting her new
"At the convention center, there will be a whole aisle for the institutes of the Pauline Family, and visitors will get a prayer card and a button (all the senior sisters here were solemnly invested with the button as a sign of their commitment to be the Official Prayer Warriors for the event; can I enlist you in the same effort? If there are any buttons left, I will send you one!). The novices will be holding iPads, inviting passers-by to sign up on the spot for our 'Discover Hope' newsletter. Many of our Pauline authors will also be in attendance, either as presenters or participants, and we'll be posting insights from their books on our official social media channels."
Pauline Family display tables in Philly: full to overflowing
    But what of Pope Francis himself? What does he, the first Pope from America, have to say to the northern Americans?  Addressing the bishops of the United States in St. Matthew Cathedral, Washington, D.C., Pope Francis speaks to all of us. Let us listen to his thoughts on this historic occasion:
The heart of the Pope expands to include everyone. To testify to the immensity of God’s love is the heart of the mission entrusted to the Successor of Peter, the Vicar of the One who on the cross embraced the whole of mankind. May no member of Christ’s Body and the American people feel excluded from the Pope’s embrace. 
Courtesy of @CatholicTV
 Wherever the name of Jesus is spoken, may the Pope’s voice also be heard to affirm that: “He is the Savior”! From your great coastal cities to the plains of the Midwest, from the deep South to the far reaches of the West, wherever your people gather in the Eucharistic assembly, may the Pope be not simply a name but a felt presence, sustaining the fervent plea of the Bride: “Come, Lord!”
    Encouraging dialogue and not harshness as the way for bishops to shepherd, Pope Francis cannot help but encourage us--the flock of those bishops--to reject harsh words and to love and respect yes, even our enemies:
... we are promoters of the culture of encounter… Dialogue is our method, not as a shrewd strategy but out of fidelity to the One who never wearies of visiting the marketplace, even at the eleventh hour, to propose his offer of love (Mt 20:1-16). 
The path ahead, then, is dialogue among yourselves, dialogue in your presbyterates, dialogue with lay persons, dialogue with families, dialogue with society. I cannot ever tire of encouraging you to dialogue fearlessly... 
Do not be afraid to set out on that “exodus” which is necessary for all authentic dialogue. Otherwise, we fail to understand the thinking of others, or to realize deep down that the brother or sister we wish to reach and redeem, with the power and the closeness of love, counts more than their positions, distant as they may be from what we hold as true and certain.  
Harsh and divisive language does not befit the tongue of a pastor, it has no place in his heart; although it may momentarily seem to win the day, only the enduring allure of goodness and love remains truly convincing.
    And are we not all pastors, by virtue of our baptism?  Prophets, priests and kings we are. At this moment when the Vicar of Christ is visiting our shores, can we not renew ourselves in loving dialogue?

    To paraphrase Frank Sheed, co-founder of Sheed and Ward Publishers and street corner apologist for the Catholic Evidence Guild:
When you are tempted to put someone in his place, remember that his place is in heaven, at your side in front of the throne of God.

Rae Stabosz has been a member of the Association of Pauline Cooperators since 2003. She and Bill Stabosz, her husband of 46 years, have six sons, three daughters, nine grandsons and six granddaughters; they eagerly await the birth of grands #16 & #17. Rae retired in 2007 from the University of Delaware, where she was a technology and media specialist for 27 years. She is co-founder and past president of The Society of Catholic Scholars of Delaware and proprietor, since 2004, of the Pious Ladies Bookmobile.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

How St. Paul Grew into “Christ Lives in Me”

Come to me. Mt. 11:28
  • St. Gregory the Great said, “Jesus became incarnate so that he may be seen by us and he wants to be seen so that he may be imitated.”
  • St. Athanasius said, “God became man so that men might become God.
  • St John the Apostle wrote: “He gave us the power of becoming children of God” (Jn. 1:12). 
  • St. Paul reminds us that we are destined to be conformed to the image of God’s Son (Rom. 8:29). 
  • Paul said, “Imitate me as I imitate Christ” (1 Cor. 4:16). 
  • Blessed James Alberione said all baptized Christians are called to say as St. Paul, “It is no longer I, but Christ who lives in me” (Gal. 2:20).    
Does this happen all at once for us? Did it happen all at once for Paul?

Chapter fourteen of Acts of the Apostles gives one brief version of Paul’s growth in becoming Christ.  In 14:6 we read about an attempt to stone Paul. He flees with Barnabas to Lystra and Derbe to escape death. In Lystra, those who witnessed Paul’s healing of a man lame from birth proclaim Paul and Barnabas gods. Paul and Barnabas tear their garments, insisting that they are human. Tearing garments tells us that something new is happening (Ps. 102). It is a new attitude which St. Paul says is “that of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:5).

In 14:19 a crowd does actually stone Paul, leaving him for dead. Undaunted, Paul gets back up and goes into the city to continue preaching.  It was then that the elders of the synagogue in Antioch sent this message to Paul and Barnabas: “We want you to talk to the people, if you have a word of encouragement for them.” Paul and Barnabas went back to Antioch to strengthen and encourage the disciples. Now that he had gained compassion through suffering and had embraced the Paschal Mystery of Christ, Paul is well on his way to saying, “It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives.” Gospel for Paul is not a book, but the person of Jesus Christ. 

As this chapter concludes, Paul and Barnabas are preaching the Gospel and winning a large number of disciples (14:20). They return to the place they first fled for fear of being stoned. This time Paul is a witness to the Pascal Mystery, becoming Christ: “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” he proclaims. The final verse tells us that Paul “gathered the church together and reported all that God had done through them and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles.”
Paulines are called to imitate Paul as he imitates Christ.

We are called to imitate Paul (see 1 Cor. 4:16). In “communion” with Jesus Way, Truth, and Life, our salvation already has its beginning in us through baptismour participation in the life, death, and resurrection of the Son of God. Paul teaches us that it is the person of Christ who lives and works in the Christian, not only as an inner power but also as a personal being. Paul first lived in a sphere he refers to as sin, flesh, world, death, admitting he is always on the road to conversion: “I do not consider that I have made it my own, I strain forward to what lies ahead, pressing on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:14). 

After his conversion Paul lived in a sphere he calls “in Christ.” With this he sums up the “new life” that we are called to live after being baptized, after beginning to live in Christ.  We become those who live no longer for themselves; we live for our Lord and Savior who lived for others.

In his charismatic history of the Pauline Family, Abundantes divitia gratiae suae, Blessed James Alberione tells us that the “secret of success is to model ourselves on God by living in the Church and for the Church; of being wild olives grafted onto the olive tree, the Eucharistic Lord; of reflecting and nourishing ourselves with every word of the Gospel, in accord with the spirit of St Paul”(nn. 94-95). We are called to” live in conformity with this new life,” to walk in the Spirit,” “to let oneself be led by the Spirit” (2 Cor. 3:6) so that we may be able to say with Paul, “It is no longer I who live, Christ lives in me” (Gal. 2:20). 

Photo: Icon of Jesus; Orthodox Chapel; Sr. Margaret Kerry, FSP. All Rights Reserved.
Photo: Paul with Blessed and Venerable Paulines. Society of St. Paul, Italy. All Rights Reserved.

Sr. Margaret Kerry, FSP, celebrates 40 years of life and mission as a Daughter of St. Paul. With a Masters from Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, she gives presentations on the vocation and mission of the laity, media literacy, and evangelization. She directed the Association of Pauline Cooperators for 15 years and was creative editor of The Pauline Cooperator magazine. An author (St. Anthony of Padua: Fire & Light; Strength in Darkness: John of the Cross), Sr. Margaret is working on a young adult book. You can reach her at

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Jesus: The Divine Physician

The image of the physician, at least in classic history, is that of healer—rich in wisdom and
Read Archbishop Carlson's wonderful
elaboration on Jesus as Divine Physician
dedicated to the cure or care of his or her patient.  One can very easily see the image of a physician being associated with Jesus.  The Gospel is full of stories of healing at the hands of Jesus, and later in the New Testament by his Apostles.  Healing was a critical part of Jesus’s ministry.

A good physician is able to develop a relationship with a patient, make a diagnosis and offer treatment for disease.  The doctor enters into a form of “communion” with his/her patient based on mutual trust and dedicated to application of medical science accompanied by good ethics and solid morals.  That is not to say that doctors have not failed in that communion of persons, but that the ideal has not lost its attraction or necessity.

Our Pauline spirituality is blessed by the title of Jesus—the Way, the Truth and the Life.  I think we see the same appreciation of the Divine Physician in this spiritual heritage.  Jesus as way is the first part of the medical relationship.  This is the taking of a history and a physical, and the words of trust expressed between the doctor and patient.  The truth is the diagnosis, what truly ails the patient. The life is the therapy employed by the physician to bring cure, or at the very least comfort, to the ill person.

Jesus, as the Divine Physician, has entered into communion with believers; he has diagnosed their illness (sin) and offers his very life for the cure.  The ultimate cure is eternal life in Heaven.  We need only take the therapy, which involves death to our selfishness and love for God and neighbor.   The publishing of books, broadcasting by radio, creating videos or even blogging are all means by which Paulines minister to those who suffer in any way.  Remember that Pope Francis referred to the Church as a field hospital for those seeking mercy.  Our Pauline Family clearly has established an acute care clinic for this very purpose.

In my work as a physician, I have often had patients speak of their mental and spiritual diseases, knowing I did not have the cure they sought.  I knew that Jesus was the answer to these problems.   Broken families, those without affirmation, the lonely elderly, and confused young people are treated by physicians who do not have the ability to cure their illnesses—illnesses that infect their very sense of worth or relation to God.  These are truly spiritual maladies best handled by the Divine Doctor of souls.

Our Pauline charism of media apostleship can also be seen through the lens of the Divine Physician—The Way, The Truth and The Life.  Modern communication media is often diseased, with attitudes that destroy human dignity and diminish the place of God in human existence.  Our Pauline media work enters into a communion with those who use media in an effort to have a relationship with them.  Through a healing relationship, the Pauline makes a diagnosis of brokenness, sin, and separation from God and neighbor.  The Pauline then offers the therapy.  Therapy is relationship with God, through his Son and enlightened by the Holy Spirit.  This therapy is always effective and needs no FDA approval.  Much like the doctor who hopes his patient will take his medications, Paulines around the world pray in mutual intercession that the ill effects of media are repaired and souls saved.

Appointments with the Divine Physician are easy to obtain since he offers same day access.  A simple act of faith, a small prayer or a word of contrition, and the patient-doctor relationship has begun.  He has offered his very life as our cure—we need only ask for it to begin the road to recovery.

May the Divine Physician assist in our cure, the cure of our families and those of the whole world.
Greg Burke has been a perpetually professed member of the Holy Family Institute for five years. He and Kimberly, his wife of 23 years, have four daughters. Greg works as a general internist and is Chief Patient Experience Officer in the Geisinger Health System, based in Danville, PA. Kim is a nurse and religious education coordinator. Greg also serves as president of the Harrisburg Guild of the Catholic Medical Association and was awarded the Benemerenti Medal for his service, by Pope Benedict XVI, in 2007.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Things To Do, Places to Go This Fall

Today we welcome Sr. Marie Paul Curley, FSP as our guest blogger. She is dropping in from her own little neck of the net-woods: Windows to the Soul, the lovely Pauline blog she has authored since 2008. Sr. Marie Paul has put together a list of Fall events "to die for", if you are a lay Pauline, a communicator, or both.
There are so many cool upcoming Catholic media events that I wanted to highlight them here for you:

JP2 Inter-Faith Film Festival

The upcoming JP2 Inter-Faith Film Festival, held in Miami, FL, from October 8-17, 2015, is coming up! If you love films and want to support the development of faith-based films, this is a great endeavor to get involved in and spread the word about. I’m delighted to share the news that our very own Media Apostle: The Father James Alberione Story will be screening at the festival this fall! For more information, visit their gofundme site, or their film festival site.  Here you can find a listing of films in the festival this year. Here is a little more about the festival from their website:

The JP2 Inter-Faith Film Festival (formerly the John Paul II International Film Festival) has been a sensation since its 2009 inauguration. Inspired by John Paul II’s letter to artists (read it HERE) and his inter-religious and unifying efforts, the festival has screened over 125 films (156 if you include our upcoming lineup!) that uphold human dignity and explore the undeniable human journey that defines us.

Chicago Premiere of Media Apostle: the James Alberione Story

For those living near Chicago, here’s an announcement about the free premiere screening of my favorite documentary of 2015! (Note that admission is free, but a reservation is needed! RSVP to Sr. Helena Burns. 

Join the Daughters for the Chicago premiere of Media Apostle: The Father James Alberione Story, a film about the priest who loved our media world.

This takes place on Sunday, October 25 11am-2pm at the Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State St., Chicago, IL. There will be a reception 2-3pm at Pauline Books and Media, 172 N. Michigan Ave, two blocks from the Gene Siskel Film Center.







The Catholic Writers Guild Annual Writers Retreat

The Catholic Writers’ Guild is offering their retreat for writers this year. Personally, I would love to go to this some year.

This writers' retreat is being held October 25-29 at the St. Francis Retreat and Conference Center, 703 E. Main Street, DeWitt, Michigan 48820.

Check it out if you need wonderful writing fellowship and a writing get-away!




Clay Pots: Finding the Treasure: A weekend retreat for communication arts professionals

And finally, time is winding down for registration for our Communicators Arts Professional Retreat, October 9-11 at St. Thecla's Retreat House in Billerica, MA. If you are interested, make sure you check it out today! (Feel free to email Sr. Marie Paul Curley with questions.)


Marie Paul Curley, FSP,  is an author, screenwriter, and video producer, who daily embraces the challenge of inspiring others through her creative efforts… even when she does not feel inspired.  Her passions include: contemplating the Eucharistic Master, Way, Truth, and Life; the writings of Saint Paul; exploring the connection between faith and art, especially Story; the spirituality of Blessed James Alberione; and imitating Christ the perfect Communicator in her life and in her writing. But above all, she is a Catholic sister, a member of the Daughters of Saint Paul—an amazing group of women who enthusiastically commit their energies to communicating the love of Christ worldwide through every form of media and every aspect of our lives.