Monday, November 30, 2009

Pauline History Facebook Style

This is a brief Pauline History in the style of Facebook. If the Pauline venerables and blesseds: Blessed Alberione, Mother Thecla, Sr Scholastica (Pious Disciple), Brother Andrew, Maggiorino, Canon Chiesa as well as Mother Paula and Fr. Borrono (first Paulines to establish the congregation in the United States) and some friends from our history (Bishop Re) were to meet on Facebook - what would it look like? I hope this entices you to read more about the foundations of the Pauline Family through this imaginative document.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Interviewed on Catholic Foodie re: Pauline Institutes

Coming soon: Jeff Young interviews Sr Margaret on about Fr Mike Harrington's profession in the Jesus the Priest Institute and "just what is a Pauline Institute?"

Monday, November 23, 2009

First U.S. Priest to pronuonce vows in Pauline Institute

Fr. Michael Harrington is the first diocesan Priest in the United States to pronounce vows in the Pauline Institute of Jesus the Priest. He pronounced his vows in the chapel of the Society of St Paul in Staten Island, New York on the Feast of Christ the King during the Year of the Priest. This landmark occassion brought together members from all branches of the Pauline Family: Priests and brothers of the Society of St Paul, Daughters of St Paul, Sister Disciples of the Divine Master, member of the Institute of Mary of the Annunciation (for single women), Pauline Cooperators and members of the Holy Family Institute. It was a quiet and powerful moment which was celebrated in typical Pauline style with a prayerful, dynamic Liturgy followed by the family meal. Everyone enjoyed the occassion. It was Thanksgiving day early! A movie and photos will follow this post.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Waiting for Advent: the Advent Tree

Waiting for advent could be a great new way to prepare to prepare. An advent for advent. This takes some discipline in today's world since there are so many reasons to prepare for Christmas and skip the waiting. I am beginning to reflect on what advent means for us today while reading The Spirit of the Liturgy by Joseph Ratzinger. The chapter on Sacred Time has a reflection on the dates of Christmas. He writes: "Astonishingly, the starting point for the birth of Christ was March 25th in the early Church. It is traditionally the day Jesus suffered on the cross and so the day of the "new creation." Nine months after March 25th is December 25th - a development in the West (3rd Cent.) while in the East January 6th is celebrated as the birth of Jesus. Creation and the cross are connected in the "hour of Jesus" There is a pre-annunciation (1 Col 1:15) of the cosmos since Christ is the first born of all creation. Up until December 25th darkness increases - and then the light begins to advance. The "bridegroom comes forth from his chamber" (Psalm 18). Getting our lamps ready is a way to prepare. So this week before advent is the advent of preparation for preparing. In honor of this waiting-time the photo appended is an "advent tree."  Blessed are those who wait!


VATICAN CITY, 17 NOV 2009 (VIS) - Made public yesterday was a letter from Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. to priests of the Catholic Church in the People's Republic of China, for the occasion of the Year for Priests which was called to mark the 150th anniversary of the death of St. John Mary Vianney, the saintly "Cure of Ars".

"In the Letter that the Holy Father addressed to the bishops, priests, consecrated persons and lay faithful in the People's Republic of China on 27 May 2007, a number of guidelines are indicated for the future journey of the Church", explains the cardinal in his letter which was published in Chinese, English and Italian. "Among those I wish to emphasise reconciliation within the Catholic community and a respectful and constructive dialogue with the civil authorities, without renouncing the principles of the Catholic faith. In this regard, despite the persisting difficulties, the information that has come from different parts of China points also to signs of hope".

Cardinal Bertone also expresses the view that, "at a distance of only two years since the publication of the papal Letter, it does not seem that the time has come to make definitive evaluations. Using the words of the great missionary of China, Fr. Matteo Ricci, I believe we can say that it is still more a time of sowing than of reaping".

"There are", the secretary of State tells Chinese clergy, "various practical ways in which you can make your valuable contribution: for example, by visiting Catholic and non-Catholic families frequently; ... increasing efforts to prepare and train good catechists; fostering greater use of charitable services directed especially to children and to sick and old people; ... organising special gatherings where Catholics could invite their non-Catholic relatives and friends in order to become better acquainted with the Catholic Church and Christian faith; distributing Catholic literature to non-Catholics".

"In this Year of the Priesthood, I wish to remind you of the source where you can find the strength to be faithful to your important mission, ... the Eucharist. ... A truly Eucharistic community cannot retreat into itself, as though it were self-sufficient, but must stay in communion with every other Catholic community".

Addressing bishops, Cardinal Bertone says: "Your paternal solicitude will suggest to you, according to the possibilities and conditions of each diocese, suitable initiatives for promoting vocations to the priesthood, such as prayer days and meetings or the opening of places where priests and faithful, especially the young, can come to pray together under the guidance of expert and good priests acting as spiritual directors".

"The Holy Father Benedict XVI realises that 'in China too, as in the rest of the Church, the need for an adequate ongoing formation of the clergy is emerging. Hence the invitation, addressed to you bishops as leaders of ecclesial communities, to think especially of the young clergy who are increasingly subject to new pastoral challenges, linked to the demands of the task of evangelising a society as complex as that of present-day China'".

"The saintly 'Cure of Ars' teaches us that the worship given to the Eucharist outside of Mass is of inestimable value in the life of every priest. This worship is closely joined to the celebration of the Eucharist".

After then highlighting how, "if we are united in the Eucharistic Christ, all of the miseries of the world echo in our hearts to implore the mercy of God", the cardinal secretary of State emphasises the need "to seek reconciliation with concrete gestures. ... In order to obtain it, there is an urgent need to pay attention also to the human formation of all the faithful, priests and sisters included, because the lack of human maturity, self-control and inner harmony is the most frequent source of misunderstandings, lack of co-operation and conflicts within Catholic communities".

Finally, Cardinal Bertone concludes by "entrusting to the Most Blessed Virgin the wish that your priestly life may be guided more and more by those ideals of the total giving of oneself to Christ and to the Church which inspired the thought and action of the saintly 'Cure of Ars'".
SS/.../CHINESE PRIESTS VIS 091117 (710)

Monday, November 16, 2009


VATICAN CITY, 16 NOV 2009 (VIS) - Made public today was a Message from the Holy Father to Cardinal Ivan Dias, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, for the plenary assembly of that dicastery, currently being held on the theme: "St. Paul and the new areopaghi".

The reference to the Areopagus in Athens where St. Paul announced the Gospel "represents a pressing call to make good use of today's 'areopaghi', where the great challenges of evangelisation are to be found", the Pope writes.

He also highlights how "the missionary activity of the Church must be oriented towards these nerve centres of society in the third millennium. Nor should we undervalue the influence of a widespread relativist culture, usually lacking values, which enters into the sanctuary of the family infiltrating the field of education and other areas of society, contaminating them and manipulating consciences, especially among the young. At the same time however, despite these snares, the Church knows that the Holy Spirit is always at work.

"New doors are being opened to the Gospel and a longing for authentic spiritual and apostolic renewal is spreading throughout the world", the Pope adds. "As in other periods of change, the pastoral priority is to show the true face of Christ. ... This requires each Christian community and the Church as a whole to offer witness of faithfulness to Christ, patiently building that unity He wanted and called for from all His disciples. In fact, Christian unity will make it easier to evangelise and to face the cultural, social and religious challenges of our time".

The Pope concludes his Message with a call "to imitate the lifestyle and the apostolic spirit" of the Apostle of the Gentiles, "focusing entirely on Christ. Through such complete adherence to the Lord, Christians will easily be able to transmit the heritage of faith to new generations, a heritage capable of transforming even difficulties into opportunities for evangelisation".

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Update on the Association of Pauline Cooperators

The Ning community has 45 members from the United States, Canada, Signapore, Australia, Malaysia and the Philippines! Join today (see invitation box on the right). Join the Conversation!

I am still writing papers for Theology courses in preparation for working with the Association of Pauline Cooperators formation, magazine, blogs (ahem), movies (why not) and organization. In the meantime I am also preparing for the Pauline Pilgrimage to Rome (2010) and the Conference in April 2010 in Cape May, NJ> The Theme is Equiping the Saints. We will share on decisive elements of organization for the Association. In June I am inviting Cooperators to join me for the International meeting of North American Conference of Associates and Religious in St Louis, MO> Hoping someone will be able to join me so we can catch workshops and share the insights we receive from them with everyone. Join NACAR for ongoing workshop invitations and growth of our Association (APC).

Photo: A meal in Rome - something for you to look forward to!

Sr Margaret

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Gospel and the Media

“Ancient spirit, new forms," was the operative principle of Fr. Alberione as he strove to fulfill the mission entrusted to him by God. The ancient spirit was that of the Gospel, of St. Paul, of the best tradition of the Church. The new forms were whose suggested by human progress in the twentieth century for the influence of the masses and mutual relations among people: the press, motion pictures, radio, television—that is, the means of social communication. With admirable ease and courage, Fr. Alberione entered this field and gave it an authentic sense of apostolate. He stands in the Church as a master in the use of these forms of the Christian apostolate—difficult forms which are undergoing continual improvement. (From the book Thoughts)

Friday, November 6, 2009

How to be Alive for Holiness

For the seed to bear fruit, it must first of all be good, alive and able to grow. Placed into the earth, then, at the right depth, its roots will be fed. A covering of good dirt, fertilizer and water follows and then the seed germinates and emerges in buds, flowers and fruit. The meaning is clear: that we be alive and vital for holiness, that our humility be deep enough. If gossip, calumnies and suffering come even from those in whom we confided, we have to await the action of God through prayer and industrious dedication. We are not to stop, but wait…until the Lord makes the moment known. The future holds our reward, heaven which is beautiful and eternal. (Thoughts of Blessed James Alberione)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Spring of Living Water

The theme for the local retreat held in Boston this October was "The Fresh and Deep Waters of Pauline Spirituality." The theme was inspirired by my study of Pilgrim Fellowship of Faith by Joseph Ratzinger for a theology course. In this book he wrote: "Christ is the spring of living water - the crucified Christ is the spring that makes the world fruitful. The source of the Spirit is the crucified Christ. Yet from him every Christian also becomes a spring of water."  The retreat theme lent itself to a day of reflection on the gospel of John Chapter 4 - the woman at the well.  Jesus asks for the gift of water and in turn reveals himself as the gift of better water! Both Sr Sharon Anne's reflection (5 minutes) and Sr Mary Lea's presentation (2 parts 30 minutes) can be found at

FSP Photo (c)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Spiritual Community

All Saints Day: The communion of saints "is a reality that gives a different dimension to all of our life. We are not alone! We are part of a spiritual 'company' in which profound solidarity reigns. The good of each individual brings advantage to everyone and, vice versa, shared happiness irradiates upon individuals. This is a mystery which, in some way, we can already experience in this world, in the family, in friendship, and especially in the spiritual community of the Church".

All Souls Day: "Live this moment in an authentic Christian spirit; in other words, in the light that comes from the Paschal mystery. Christ died and rose again, opening our way to the house of the Father, the Kingdom of life and peace. As you visit cemeteries, let us remember that only the mortal remains of our loved ones lie there in the tombs awaiting the final resurrection. Their souls - as Scripture says - are already 'in the hands of God'. And so the most appropriate and effective way to honour them is to pray for them, offering acts of faith, hope and charity".

Benedict XVI