Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Advocate


Jesus said to his disciples:  "Now I am going to the one who sent me, and not one of you asks me, 'Where are you going?'  But because I told you this, grief has filled your hearts.  But I tell you the truth, it is better for you that I go.  For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you.  But if I go, I will send him to you.  And when he comes he will convict the world in regard to sin and righteousness and condemnation:  sin, because they do not believe in me; righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will no longer see me; condemnation, because the ruler of this world has been condemned." John 16: 5 – 11


You can tell that we are getting closer to the Ascension as Jesus keeps referring to “his going away.”  Jesus promised to send an Advocate – the Spirit who will continually guide us.  As I reflected on this passage I was struck by the fact that we have many “Advocates” in our lives – those who have walked with us and showed us the way.  Perhaps today is a good day to thank our God for the gift of our special Advocates.  Each one of us has the potential to be an Advocate for another person.  Let us always be open to fulfilling that role for others knowing that we are responding as Jesus would have.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Courage

Jesus said to his disciples: "If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows him.  But you know him, because he remains with you, and will be in you.  I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.  In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me, because I live and you will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father and you are in me and I in you.  Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me.  And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him."  John 14: 15 - 21


In today’s Gospel, Jesus, promises to send another Advocate to be with us always.  This promise brought me back to my own Confirmation.  Receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit is an intricate part of who we are as Christians.  The promise Jesus made gives one a profound sense of courage.  Courage is the ability to do something that frightens one or strength in the face of pain and grief.  As Jesus spoke about his leaving the disciples must have been very frightened yet these followers also had faith.  Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen, it gives us assurance about the things we cannot see (Hebrews 11: 1).  Let us live this day with faith and courage!

Pat Schifini, OSU

Friday, May 19, 2017

Love One Another


Today we read in St. John’s Gospel a rather simple statement – “Love one another as I love you.”  This brief statement is probably one of the most difficult to do.  It would have been so much easier if Jesus had only given us a list of do’s and don’ts.  This statement really is cause for pause and reflection.  Jesus knew his disciples and continually challenged them to grow and change.  He wanted them to be their best selves.  Jesus knows us too and wants us to follow his command to love.  We live in a world that is desperately in need of love and care for all of humanity.  As we celebrate Graduations and the reception of the Sacraments these days let us remember to “love one another.”
Pat Schifini, OSU

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Remain in My Love


Jesus said to his disciples:  "As the Father loves me, so I also love you.  Remain in my love.  If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and remain in his love.  "I have told you this so that my joy might be in you and your joy might be complete."  John 15: 9 – 11


In today’s Gospel, Jesus gives us a wonderful invitation to remain in his love.  Jesus assures us that if we truly listen to one another we will realize that God’s love is for all of us.  Our world is very busy and very divided.  We need to take time to be silent and know that that is when God will be able to speak to our hearts.  Our God wants to touch our hearts and it is only with listening that this is possible.  May we come to realize that God’s love is at the very heart of all our decisions.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Blessings


May the Lord bless you and keep you.
May the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you.

May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.

This beautiful Judeo-Christian blessing came to mind as I was praying this morning.  As I reflected on it I was struck by the beauty in it.  Our world is in desperate need of peace these days.  I wonder if everyone took five minutes today to just be still and let these words echo in your mind what would happen.  Perhaps we would experience a bit of peace and tranquility if we were to shut out the noise in our minds and hearts today.  May you live this day in peace and know that the Lord shines upon you and loves you as his precious child!

Pat Schifini, OSU

Monday, May 15, 2017

Choices


Each day we make choices that touch not only us, but those around us.  Sometimes choices are made for us, choices that are not to our liking.  it is what we do with choices that makes the difference.  Hopefully, we are able, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to make choices that are good for us and for those around us. Today. let us pray for the gift of being able to make good choices and let us pray especially for our family and friends who are ill.

KM Donohue, OSU

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Happy Mother's Day


Today, as we celebrate Mother’s Day let us take a moment to pause and pray for all Mothers, and special women in our lives who we consider Mothers.

A Prayer from Pope Francis in honor of Mother’s Day

Blessed Virgin Mary of Fatima, with renewed gratitude for your motherly presence, we join in the voice of all generations that call you blessed.

We celebrate in you the great works of God, who never tires of lowering himself in mercy over humanity, afflicted by evil and wounded by sin, to heal and to save it.

Accept with the benevolence of a Mother this act of entrustment that we make in faith today, before this your image, beloved to us.

We are certain that each one of us is precious in your eyes and that nothing in our hearts has estranged you.

May that we allow your sweet gaze to reach us and the perpetual warmth of your smile.


—from Mother Mary: Inspiring Words from Pope Francis

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Our Lady of Fatima

Today we commemorate the 100th anniversary of the appearance of Our Lady to three children in the mountainous region of Fatima, Portugal.  Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta were born into families where their faith was the most important aspect of their lives.  Appearing to the children, the Blessed Virgin told them that she had been sent by God with a message for every man, woman and child living in our century. Coming at a time when civilization was torn asunder by war and bloody violence, she promised that Heaven would grant peace to all the world if her requests for prayer, reparation and consecration were heard and obeyed.  "If My requests are granted ... there will be peace."

Yesterday, Pope Francis canonized two of the children in Fatima and prayed:

“Hail Holy Queen, blessed Virgin of Fatima, Lady of the Immaculate Heart, refuge and path that guides to God! Pilgrim of the Light that we receive from your hands, I thank God the Father that, at all times and places, acts in human history; pilgrim of the Peace that you announce here, I praise Christ, our peace, and for the world I ask for concord among all peoples; pilgrim of the Hope which the Spirit encourages, I want to be prophet and messenger so as to wash the feet of all at the same table that unites us.

Hail Mother of Mercy, Lady of the white robe! At this place where one hundred years ago you showed all the designs of our God's mercy, I look upon your robe of light and, as bishop dressed in white [como bispo vestido de branco], I remember all those who, robed in baptismal white, want to live in God and pray the mysteries of Christ to attain peace.”


Let us pray this day for peace in our homes, our hearts and our universe.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Friday, May 12, 2017

On Praying for Others

Each day we meet people who ask us to for them and their intentions. Often, we don't even know what that intention is and that is ok.  People have confidence in the power of prayer, even if they are not strong believers themselves or are not able to pray.  Prayer for others is a serious responsibility for us-part of what it means to be a member of the Body of Christ.


Take a minute to pray for all those who have asked for your prayers and pray especially for those who have no one to pray for them.  This weekend remember to pray for all mothers and mothers to be.

KM Donohue, OSU

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Jesus' Invitation

Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed saying: “I pray not only for these, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me.  And I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may be brought to perfection as one, that the world may know that you sent me, and that you loved them even as you loved me.  Father, they are your gift to me. I wish that where I am they also may be with me, that they may see my glory that you gave me, because you loved me before the foundation of the world.  Righteous Father, the world also does not know you, but I know you, and they know that you sent me.  I made known to them your name and I will make it known, that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in them.”  John 17: 20 - 26


Today’s gospel passage from John provides us with the call to be of service to one another.  Serviam – I will serve is an integral part of who we are called to be.  Jesus reiterates this with his disciples and prays that they may be one.  St. Angela, in her writings, tells us to be “united of one heart and one will.”  Let us take some time today to hear and live Jesus’ invitation to love and serve those around us.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Joy

Joy is contagious. I don't mean silliness but the joy that comes from inner peace-that peace that comes from being ok inside ourselves and outside with others around us.  By sharing our joy, we can brighten the day of someone who might be really down.  It never hurts to share a smile or a wink with a friend or even a stranger.


Take a minute to take your joy temperature.  If your joy temp is low, see what you can do to raise it, and then pass it forward.

KM Donohue, OSU

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

God's Love

“Let us allow ourselves to be guided by the Holy Spirit; let us allow him to speak to our hearts and say this to us:  God is love, God is waiting for us, God is Father/Mother; he/she loves us as a true father loves; he/she loves us truly, and only the Holy Spirit can tell us this in our hearts.”  Pope Francis


I find this invitation to be both comforting and challenging.  Comforting in that our God is always there for us and challenging to allow ourselves to feel this at all times.  Our God’s love is beyond comprehension and requires of us an openness of heart and a willingness to allow our hearts to be touched.  Let us live this and every day with the certitude that our God loves us more than we can ever ask for or imagine.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Sunday, May 7, 2017

World Day of Prayer for Vocations

Today we celebrate the 54th anniversary of the World Day of Prayer for Vocations.  The purpose of the World Day of Prayer for Vocations is to publically fulfill Jesus’ instruction to, "Pray the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into his harvest" (Mt 9:38; Lk 10:2).   It affirms the primacy of faith and grace in all that concerns vocations to the priesthood and to the consecrated life.  While appreciating all vocations, the Church concentrates its attention this day on vocations to the ordained ministries (priesthood and diaconate), to the Religious life in all its forms (male and female, contemplative and apostolic), to societies of apostolic life, to secular institutes in their diversity of services and membership, and to the missionary life.  In the spirit of this day let us pray: 


O God, Father of all Mercies, provider of a bountiful harvest, send Your Graces upon those
You have called to gather the fruits of Your labor; preserve and strengthen them in their lifelong service of you.

Open the hearts of Your children that they may discern Your Holy Will; inspire in them a love and desire to surrender themselves to serving others in the name of Your son, Jesus Christ.

Teach all Your faithful to follow their respective paths in life guided by Your Divine Word and Truth.  Through the intercession of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, all the Angels, and Saints, humbly hear our prayers and grant Your Church's needs, through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Celebrating Jubilee

Today the Ursuline Sisters celebrated the jubilees of seven of our sisters.  A combined 370 years of Religious Profession was celebrated.  These sisters have faithfully served the People of God in New York, Delaware, and Alaska as teachers, pastoral associates, technology coordinators and administration.  Each one brought her unique self to the community and has shared their gifts will all who have come into contact with them.  Their commitment began as a small seed and has grown into a beautiful blossom.  As part of the celebration each one renewed the vows they made on the day of their profession.  May their commitment serve as an inspiration for each one of us as we remember, celebrate and believe.
Pat Schifini, OSU

Friday, May 5, 2017

Cinco de Mayo

Each year we hear about Cinco de Mayo.  There are many stories about this day so what does it really signify.  Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of the surprising Mexican army’s victory over France at the 1862 Battle of Puebla.  The Mexican army were both vastly outnumbered and poorly supplied as they prepared for battle with the French.  In the end, nearly 500 French soldiers died and less than 100 Mexicans were killed. While the victory wasn’t a major win in the overall war it represented “a great symbolic victory.”

The holiday is primarily celebrated in Puebla, where the 1862 battle took place. There, locals gather for a big, colorful parade and reenact the war dressed as French and Mexican soldiers before breaking out in song and dance after the reenacted victory.


Let us pray this day for all those seeking political freedom that they will be granted what they need.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Bread of Life

When I was reflecting this morning on today’s Gospel I kept hearing the song I Am the Bread of Life.  It is a song that I learned a very long time ago but it always recalls for me Jesus’ promise to us.  The words of the song have not changed much over the years.  They are: 

I am the Bread of life, you who comes to Me shall not hunger, you who believes in Me shall not thirst. No one can come to Me Unless the Father beckons.

And I will raise you up, And I will raise you up, And I will raise you up on the last day.

The bread that I will give is My flesh for the life of the world, and all who eats of this bread, you shall live forever, you shall live forever.

And I will raise you up, And I will raise you up, And I will raise you up on the last day.


Let us live this day and every day in the promise of Jesus to always be there for us.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Inner Peace

Today, in the midst of all that is happening in our world, let us ask God to give us the gift of inner peace.  We are bombarded with shootings, stabbings, attacks of all kinds constantly and that type of news can reach us at our inner core.  The helplessness we feel in living with these situations can be overwhelming at times but our God can fill us with His own presence and, if we ask, can restore our sense of balance.


Let us pray today for the gift of peace for each of us.  Blessings to each one.

KM Donohue, OSU

Monday, May 1, 2017

St. Joseph Day

Today we celebrate the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker.  It is a day where we are encouraged to make the best use of our talents given to us by our God.  Tradition holds that St. Joseph was a carpenter, probably skilled at both working with wood and stone.  His reputation was that he was a righteous man who desired to serve God and protect his family.  He was given the task of caring for the Blessed Virgin Mary and Jesus.  St. Joseph took this responsibility very seriously and models for us what we are called to do.  May we take some time this day to rejoice in our labors and to use them as a way to praise our God who loves us above all things.
Pat Schifini, OSU

Sunday, April 30, 2017

St. Marie of the Incarnation

The daughter of a baker, Marie Guyart was born in Tours, France, married a silk manufacturer named Claude Martin when she was seventeen; the couple had one son. Claude died and Marie became a bookkeeper for her brother-in-law. In 1629, she joined the Ursulines at Tours, taking the name Marie of the Incarnation. In 1639, she was sent to Canada where she laid the cornerstone of the first Ursuline convent in Quebec.  She compiled dictionaries in Algonquin and Iroquois and taught the Native people.  Marie experienced mystical visions and suffered periods of spiritual darkness.  She was beatified in 1980 and canonized in 2014.
She is considered a mystic of the Church as she had extraordinary encounters with our Lord and our Lady, which directed her in the path to bring the faith to the peoples of New France.  Among her many accomplishments, Saint Marie learned the languages in her surrounding areas and even developed dictionaries in Algonquin and Iroquois, a sacred history in Algonquin, and a catechism in Iroquois.  She was among the first women missionaries in North America. Her life and her spirituality have inspired many people around the world.

Saint Marie of the Incarnation is described as having been generous, intelligent and of strong character.  We can go to Saint Marie and ask for help in experiencing a similar closeness with Jesus and Mary, to assist us to be detached from the things of this world and to work with zeal to fulfill God’s plans in our lives.
Pat Schifini, OSU

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Fear

When it was evening, the disciples of Jesus went down to the sea, embarked in a boat, and went across the sea to Capernaum.  It had already grown dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them.  The sea was stirred up because a strong wind was blowing.  When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they began to be afraid.  But he said to them, "It is I. Do not be afraid."  They wanted to take him into the boat, but the boat immediately arrived at the shore to which they were heading.  (John 6: 16 – 21)
Fear is one of the most difficult of all human emotions.  It can paralyze us and make us unable to function.  In today’s gospel the disciples were faced with tremendous fear as their boat was being tossed in the storm.  Their fear was appeased when Jesus approached them and entered their boat.  The disciples on their part followed Jesus.

Today we celebrate the Feast of St. Catherine of Sienna who once wrote:  “Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.”  Let us take the time today to follow the disciples and live St. Catherine of Sienna’s words.
Pat Schifini, OSU

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Knowledge

In today’s gospel, we read, “The one who comes from above is above all.  The one who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of earthly things.  But the one who comes from heaven is above all.   He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony.  Whoever does accept his testimony certifies that God is trustworthy.  For the one whom God sent speaks the words of God.  He does not ration his gift of the Spirit. The Father loves the Son and has given everything over to him.  Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains upon him.”  (John 3: 31 – 33)

As I reflected on this passage from scripture I was struck by the concept of knowledge.  When I think of knowledge I usually think of our ability to think rationally, our imagination, our memories, and our ability to make decisions.  Then I find myself awestruck at the thought of God’s knowledge.  God’s knowledge is clearly greater than anything I could ever imagine.

In all this is the reality that God loves each and everyone one of us for who we are.  We are the wonderful creation that our God has made of us.  Each one of us is given the gift of God’s love and truth and we must choose daily to live it.
Pat Schifini, OSU

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Joyful Enthusiasm

Going through the halls of the school today, I sense an atmosphere of joyful enthusiasm in the students.  True, we are just back from Easter break but the smiles and joyful laughter are really apparent.  It might be that graduation is approaching as is the end of the school year, but as Robert Frost says, "there are miles to go before I sleep."  I think young people look on the sunny side of life even though many are carrying enormous family burdens.  Let us, as adults, take a lesson from these young people and share the enthusiasm we have for life, even though we might also be carrying enormous burdens.  Perhaps our joyful enthusiasm will help someone to get through the day.

KM Donohue, OSU

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Feast of St. Mark

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Evangelist St. Mark.  Mark is one of the four Gospel writers.  His message is so clear, “Jesus appeared to the Eleven and said to them:  "Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.  Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned.  These signs will accompany those who believe: in my name, they will drive out demons, they will speak new languages. They will pick up serpents with their hands, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them.  They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover."  Then the Lord Jesus, after he spoke to them, was taken up into heaven and took his seat at the right hand of God.  But they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the word through accompanying signs. (Mark 16: 15 -20)


We, like the apostles have the responsibility to bring the Gospel to all people as we are able.  In our daily living, we can share God’s love with others, help those in need, pray for those who need our prayers and even a simple smile that can brighten someone’s day.  Our actions may seem small in comparison with the apostles but they are just as important.  We are called to share God’s love each and every day.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Divine Mercy Sunday

Today we celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday.  It is the second Sunday after Easter and it is a special day for us to reflect on and rejoice in the merciful love God has for us.  We have received the gift of faith and have the daily opportunity to allow our beliefs to grow.  The Easter proclamation:  “This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it” still echoes in our hearts and minds.  Today we focus on God’s tender loving mercy for each one of us.   

In today’s Gospel, we hear the familiar story of the apostles gathered in the upper room and this time Thomas is with them.  The apostles recount Jesus’ appearance to them and Thomas does not believe what they are telling him.  He responds with saying, he said to them, "Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nail marks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe."   Jesus appears and invites Thomas to do as he said.  Thomas must have been shaken to the core with this appearance of Jesus, yet he appeals to Jesus’ mercy.  His faith is what helps him in his momentary unbelief.  Jesus’ mercy is right there for Thomas just as it is for each one of us.


On this Divine Mercy Sunday, take some time to relish in God’s merciful love and his promise to be with us until the end of time.  Let the joyful “Alleluias” resound this day and everyday as Jesus has risen!  Alleluia, Amen!

Pat Schifini, OSU

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Earth Day

In the Prophet Isaiah we read, “Yes, in joy you shall depart, in peace you shall be brought back; Mountains and hills shall break out in song before you, and all the trees of the countryside shall clap their hands.”
Isaiah 55:12

Since 1970, April 22, Earth Day, has been set aside to raise global awareness of the need for environmental protection. Stewardship of our planet has always been a part of many religious traditions.  Today, Earth day, has taken on greater urgency as we face the troubling realities of climate change. Our world is in great need of change and everyone needs to do his or her part.  Pope Francis has modeled the need for the care of our earth home.  He took the name of St. Francis of Assisi and released a major  encyclical – Laudato Si, or Praise be to You – to call our attention to the exploitation and degradation of our common home in 2015.

Let us pray this day a prayer provided by the Rabbinical Assembly of the United Synagogue of America.

Light and Darkness, night and day. We marvel at the mystery of the stars. 
Moon and sky, sand and sea. We marvel at the mystery of the sun. 
Twilight, high noon, dusk and dawn. Though we are mortal, we are Creation’s crown. 
Flesh and bone, steel and stone. We dwell in fragile, temporary shelters. 
Grant steadfast love, compassion, grace. Sustain us, Lord; our origin is dust. 
Splendor, mercy, majesty, love endure. We are but little lower than the angels. 
Resplendent skies, sunset, sunrise. The grandeur of Creation lifts our lives. 

Evening darkness, morning dawn. Renew our lives as You renew all time.  Amen


Pat Schifini, OSU

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Palm Sunday

Today we celebrate Palm Sunday the beginning of the holiest week of the Christian Liturgical year.  This day in Churches all over the world the reenactment of Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem is observed.  Jesus arrived in Jerusalem riding on a donkey – a humble entry symbolizing peace as opposed to riding a horse, a symbol of military power.  In a matter of a few short days Jesus will go from being a lauded figure on Palm Sunday to being crucified on Friday because his followers had grown to an enormous number and the religious leaders had become envious of Jesus and with their powerful influences persuaded the people to turn against Him.


In today’s responsorial Psalm we hear “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” – Psalm 22.  This Psalm has been recited over the years and spoke to me very differently today.  As I recited the Psalm at our Mass I was struck by the overwhelming darkness in our world today.  There is so much pain and suffering and we need great faith at this time.  Perhaps on this Palm Sunday it is a good day to take some time to reflect on our world and our times and remember that Jesus too shared in his world.  May we always find the light of Christ in one another.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Promises

Promises are sacred things never to be broken.  Remember when we were little how we did "pinkie promises" with our friends.  We tend to take promises very seriously and are terribly hurt when a friend breaks a promise made to us.  The greatest promise ever made was the one that God made to us when He promised that He would make a new Covenant with us- an agreement, a sacred bond- that He would always be our God and that we would be His people forever.  He told us that the sign of that Covenant would be a rainbow of colors.  So, whenever you see a rainbow in the sky, God is renewing His Covenant-His promise to always belong to us.  Remember to say "thank you" when you see a rainbow!

KM Donohue, OSU

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The Truth Will Set You Free

In today’s Gospel, we hear the familiar phrase, “And the truth shall make you free.” We hear this in songs, on TV, in books we read and from significant people in our lives.  This is one of those lines that really stands out when it is said or when we read it.
Jesus is urging us in this Gospel to move beyond our own sinfulness and be freed from all that binds us.  We all desire to be free and do not like to feel trapped, put down, or guilty, but we often find ourselves feeling that way.

We are called to live in Christ’s love and grace.  If we take the time to look at our lives we realize when we fall short of living in Christ’s love and grace.  Perhaps this last week of Lent is a good time to look at our lives and remember that the truth will always make us free and give us grace.  Remember that God’s love for you is unconditional!
Pat Schifini OSU

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Martha and Mary

In today’s Gospel from John 11:1- 45 we hear the familiar story of Martha and Mary following the death of their beloved brother Lazarus.  It is a lengthy story that is full of imagery and a wide range of emotions.  I always find myself when I hear this Gospel thinking about loved ones who have gone before.  Spending time with people we get to know them better and discover their most precious dreams.  The dreams of our hearts are the ones we most often cling to. 


In this story, Martha and Mary are mourning the loss of their beloved brother, Lazarus.  Lazarus who was also a friend of Jesus had died and was buried in the tomb already.  The sisters greet Jesus with the message that if he had been there Lazarus would not have died.  Jesus recognizing the grief of the sisters and probably his own performs a miracle and raises Lazarus from the dead.  In raising Lazarus Jesus embraced his own humanity and reiterates that the Holy Spirit will come and continue to care for all.  What a great reason to rejoice this day!

Pat Schifini, OSU

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Jesus' Words

In today’s Gospel from John 7:40-53 we read, “Some in the crowd who heard these words of Jesus said, "This is truly the Prophet." Others said, "This is the Christ."  But others said, "The Christ will not come from Galilee, will he?  Does not Scripture say that the Christ will be of David's family and come from Bethlehem, the village where David lived?"  So a division occurred in the crowd because of him. Some of them even wanted to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him.

So the guards went to the chief priests and Pharisees, who asked them, "Why did you not bring him?"  The guards answered, "Never before has anyone spoken like this man."  So the Pharisees answered them, "Have you also been deceived?  Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in him?  But this crowd, which does not know the law, is accursed."  Nicodemus, one of their members who had come to him earlier, said to them, "Does our law condemn a man before it first hears him and finds out what he is doing?"  They answered and said to him, "You are not from Galilee also, are you?  Look and see that no prophet arises from Galilee."

As I reflected on this Gospel I was struck by the response of the guards who had been sent to arrest Jesus no one touched him.  Jesus proved to be an enigma to many of the people of his time.  Jesus was not the Messiah that they people of his time were expecting.  He preached a message of love and compassion.  People were drawn to him because of his personality and the way he treated people.  Always treating people with respect and love confused many.  His voice and the power of his words attracted many.


Jesus continues to speak to us in our daily lives.  His words are able to touch open, receptive and faithful hearts.  Are we willing to allow our heats to be touched by Jesus’ words and actions?  Take some time today to allow Jesus to speak to your heart and mind so that his words may touch your heart too!

Pat Schifini, OSU

Friday, March 31, 2017

Freedom

Today is not what one would call an upbeat day.  It is rainy and windy-Friday and the end of the month.  We hear these comments from each other and from those we pass on the street.  But, we really have it good.  We have coats and umbrellas, boots, hats-maybe a nice paycheck and the hope of what April and her days will bring to us. And above all, we are FREE to be who we are and where we are and to worship as we please.  Let us think today, and pray for those in our world who do not have these freedoms and who are being martyred because they choose to worship their God, especially our brothers and sisters in the Middle East. Against their lives, is a little rain and wind so bad?

KM Donohue, OSU

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

God's gifts

God gives His children special gifts each day because He loves us.  Look around and see beginning buds, robins, puppies, good food, friends, family and many other things.  Today, He gave us the gift of sunshine and don't we feel better because of it?  These past few days have been gloomy and rainy and our spirits sink to our toes whereas today, the sunshine brings us hope that the days will be brighter and warmer and friendlier.  Let us thank Him for this special gift.


Enjoy!
KM Donohue, OSU

Monday, March 27, 2017

Lent, Take Two

It is hard to believe that we are half way through the Lenten season.  Is it time to revisit our promises or is it time to come up with some new ones to finish the season out.   Either way there is still time to do what we have the power to do.  When I was praying this morning, I came across this little reflection from the prayer guide The Word Among Us.   It seems so appropriate to this day.


“The more space you give God to work, the more refreshed, invigorated, and restored you will feel. So, as you enter into the second half of Lent, let the Lord nourish you. Sit quietly, pondering his word. In prayer, recall all he has done for you already, and praise him for all he still wants to do. Cherish the gift of the Eucharist. Or maybe share God’s blessings with someone in your home. Whatever you do, make it a point to balance out the things you do for God with how much you let him restore you.”

Pat Schifini, OSU

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Seeing With the HeartThis morning when I was reading over the first reading from today's Mass, a line in the reading struck me quite strongly... See if it resonates with you too? "Not as man sees does God see, because man sees the appearance but the Lord looks into the heart." Take a few minutes to reflect on this statement and ask the Lord to help you to see with the heart not looking just at appearance. Perhaps you will be begin to see with God's eyes. Blessings on each of you for the coming week.

This morning when I was reading over the first reading from today's Mass, a line in the reading struck me quite strongly... See if it resonates with you too?


"Not as man sees does God see, because man sees the appearance but the Lord looks into the heart."  Take a few minutes to reflect on this statement and ask the Lord to help you to see with the heart not looking just at appearance. Perhaps you will be begin to see with God's eyes. Blessings on each of you for the coming week.
KM Donohue, OSU

Saturday, March 25, 2017

The Annunciation

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Annunciation.  It seems a little odd to have it during the heart of the Lenten Season.  The image of the young Mary being visited by the Angel Gabriel who was sent by God.  Gabriel’s message was probably the last thing Mary ever expected to be hearing.  Yet she responds with great maturity and even greater faith.
Mary did not hesitate to articulate the simple word “yes.”  She knew that all would be okay because she was responding to God’s invitation and that God would never fail her.  We often are faced with responding “yes” or “no” in many different situations.  How easy is it to respond positively when we are uncertain of the outcome?  How often to I say yes to sharing my time and talents with others?  How would I respond if an angel of God were to visit me? 

These are good questions for this Lenten season.  Perhaps it is a good invitation for each of us to reflect on our responses when we are asked to do things.  Let us try and respond with the eyes of faith as Mary did.  Her simple “yes” changed the world forever.
Pat Schifini, OSU

Friday, March 24, 2017

Oscar Romero

Oscar Romero, Archbishop of El Salvador was assassinated on March 24, 1980 after he pleaded with government officials to stop the repression of the Salvadoran people.  As we remember Oscar Romero today let us take some time to reflect on his prayer:  It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view.  The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision.  We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God's work. Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of saying that the Kingdom always lies beyond us.  No statement says all that could be said. No prayer fully expresses our faith.  No confession brings perfection.  No set of goals and objectives includes everything.  This is what we are about.  We plant the seeds that one day will grow.  We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.  We lay foundations that will need further development.  We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.  This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.  It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord's grace to enter and do the rest.  We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.  We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.  We are prophets of a future not our own.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Listening Heart

Today is a good day to think about praying for a listening heart.  To have a listening heart is to be attuned to the voice of God as He does His work in us.  It is to be attuned to His will as His Spirit is guiding us to live a good life-one which is pleasing to Him.

We can also enhance the gift of listening in our everyday lives as we become more aware of how we respond to our parents and teachers and how we hear what they are saying to us.  Our friends also need us to listen to them.  We all know how much better we feel if we think someone is truly listening to what we are saying.


Listening closely to what is being said to us helps us to examine what is happening in our lives and, in addition, helps us to grow both in our faith lives and our social lives.

KM Donohue, OSU

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Global Change

Today at my school we celebrated our 4th Global Symposium: “Fashioning Global Change” let us reflect on the words of Dorothy Day.  May we bring to life her spirit of compassion and justice for all each day.


“What we would like to do is change the world--make it a little simpler for people to feed, clothe, and shelter themselves as God intended them to do. And, by fighting for better conditions, by crying out unceasingly for the rights of the workers, the poor, of the destitute--the rights of the worthy and the unworthy poor, in other words--we can, to a certain extent, change the world; we can work for the oasis, the little cell of joy and peace in a harried world. We can throw our pebble in the pond and be confident that its ever widening circle will reach around the world. We repeat, there is nothing we can do but love, and, dear God, please enlarge our hearts to love each other, to love our neighbor, to love our enemy as our friend.”  ― Dorothy Day

Pat Schifini, OSU

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Spring

Yesterday we celebrated the first day of Spring!  There is something so refreshing to having longer days of sunlight even though the early morning hours are still dark.  I always find this to be a special time of year when there is new life blossoming all around us.  Seeing the return of the robins and even the Canadian geese signal a time of rebirth and renewal.  Each one of us is invited to live these spring days with hearts full of anticipation and challenge.  We are anticipating the warmer weather and the beauty of the sunny days ahead while at the same time we are continuing the challenge of the Lenten days.  As we move through the days ahead let us remember that our God always desires the best for us and that we God’s beloved children.  Let us rejoice in the reality that we are wonderfully made by our God who loves us beyond measure.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Woman at the Well

Today’s Gospel is one of my favorite as it is the beautiful story of Jesus and the Woman at the Well (John 4: 4 – 42).  It is a story of a woman who goes to the common well early in the morning as she is shunned by society.  She goes to the well when she knows that no one will be around.  One morning she is surprised to meet Jesus there.

Jesus does not judge her as so many other people have.  He reaches out to her in compassion and mercy.  I am sure that she had an experience that changed her life forever.  The woman had a difficult life and I am quite certain that she would have preferred to be alone.  Jesus did not force, accuse or judge her he spoke to her and gently challenged her to change her ways.  We, too, are called not to be judgmental to reach out to others with compassion.  Jesus gives us the model of how we should act in every situation we need to simply follow the model.
Pat Schifini, OSU

Saturday, March 18, 2017

The Prodigal Son

The story of The Prodigal Son is one parable that we all can relate to in so many different ways.  Each one of us can relate to f the characters in the story at various moments in our lives.  We have all had our share of making bad decisions and coming back to our families, friends and our God to seek forgiveness and reconciliation.  The younger son certainly experienced this in a most dramatic way.  Having squandered his money he returned home planning on begging for forgiveness and found himself welcomed home with wide open arms.
We can also identify with other sibling.  Having worked, obeyed and done “everything right” we are faced with accepting one who has not.  This is a difficult reality even in the best of situations.  We are called to be open, to forgive and to show compassion.  Sometimes it is easier to just hold a grudge.

Finally, we can relate to the parent who forgives and welcomes back the repentant child.  This is where we can see the merciful love of God in action.  We all need to remember the importance of offering forgiveness, welcoming back one who has harmed us just as our God is always there to welcome us home with open arms.
Pat Schifini, OSU

Friday, March 17, 2017

St. Patrick's Day

Today is St. Patrick's Day, the patron saint of Ireland and the Archdiocese of New York.  It is said he went about the countryside converting the early Irish and used the shamrock to symbolize the Trinity-3 in 1. Throughout the centuries, the Irish have been known for their strong faith and have suffered very much for that faith.  So often today, St. Patrick's Day is seen as a day for drinking and partying-- definitely not the image presented by Patrick as he walked the hills and fields of early Ireland preaching of Jesus.

50 years ago today, four young women professed their first vows as Ursuline Sisters.  Each of those young women stood on the shoulders of Irish ancestors and gave thanks for the faith handed down through the generations.  Now, 50 years later, we still give thanks for our gift of faith and pray that those who stand on our shoulders will receive that same gift.


Happy St. Patrick's Day to all and may God hold you in the palm of his hand.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Mindfulness

In today's Gospel, Jesus instructs us to look at our relationships with others and, if there is one relationship that is out of kilter, to heal it before approaching the altar.  I wonder how many of us think about this saying of Jesus before bringing ourselves to the altar.  I can truthfully say that is not my focus when I am in church or in the chapel.  But maybe I can ask the Lord to help me to be more mindful of others and to put my house in order before I go and ask Him to forgive me for my sins.  If I want to be forgiven, I must be willing to do the same for others. 


Have a wonderful weekend and be kind to each other in a world that doesn't always value kindness.

KM Donohue, OSU