Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving

Today as we celebrate Thanksgiving let us be mindful of all we have to be thankful for – family, friends and all those who are blessings in our lives.  Take some time to be grateful for the many blessings in your life as you celebrate with your family and friends.  Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Prayer of Thanksgiving by Walter Rauschenbusch

O God, we thank you for this earth, our home;
For the wide sky and the blessed sun,
For the salt sea and the running water,
For the everlasting hills
And the never-resting winds,
For trees and the common grass underfoot.
We thank you for our senses
By which we hear the songs of birds,
And see the splendor of the summer fields,
And taste of the autumn fruits,
And rejoice in the feel of the snow,
And smell the breath of the spring.
Grant us a heart wide open to all this beauty;
And save our souls from being so blind
That we pass unseeing
When even the common thorn bush
Is aflame with your glory,
O God our creator,

Who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Veteran's Day

Oh beautiful, for spacious skies, For amber waves of grain, For purple mountain majesties Above the fruited plain! America! America! God shed his grace on thee and crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea!

Oh beautiful, for pilgrim feet Whose stern impassioned stress A thoroughfare of freedom beat Across the wilderness!  America! America! God mend thine every flaw, Confirm thy soul in self-control, Thy liberty in law!

Oh beautiful, for heroes proved in liberating strife. Who more than self their country loved and mercy more than life! America! America! May God thy gold refine ‘Till all success be nobleness and every gain divine!

Oh beautiful, for patriot dream That sees beyond the years Thine alabaster cities gleam Undimmed by human tears!  America! America!  God shed his grace on thee and crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea!  -- Katharine Lee Bates


Today we celebrate Veteran’s Day when we honor all the men and women who have served or are serving our country.  Each year there are parades, special discounts in stores and restaurants for vets and people expressing their gratitude for all who served.  As I prayed today I found myself expressing gratitude for the men and women in my own family who have served.  I was thinking about the many songs associated with veteran’s.  The song that came to mind was America the Beautiful.  As I reflected on the words of the song I was struck with the overwhelming sentiment in it.  May we take time today to thank all of those who have served and pray for the families of those who did not return and those still unaccounted for.  Let us always be grateful and may God bless the United States of America.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Monday, November 6, 2017

Kindness

On a Sabbath Jesus went to dine at the home of one of the leading Pharisees.  He said to the host who invited him, "When you hold a lunch or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or sisters or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors, in case they may invite you back and you have repayment.  Rather, when you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you.  For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous."  Luke 14: 12 - 14


This reading always reminds me of how we should act toward one another.  We so often rush through the day busily anticipating the next activity or call that needs to be returned and we forget those little acts of kindness that we are called to do.  It is the seemingly simple things life holding the door for someone to walk through, letting a car pull out in front of us, saying hello to someone passing by or giving someone a dollar to put toward a meal or coffee.  Whatever the action isn’t it better to try to be kind than to get caught up in the competition of our world.  Jesus says that we will find our reward at the end of time, but I believe we find our reward each and every day by practicing random acts of kindness.  If we all try to do the little things with great love then the big things won’t bother us so much will they.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Mindfulness

On a Sabbath Jesus went to dine at the home of one of the leading Pharisees, and the people there were observing him carefully. He told a parable to those who had been invited, noticing how they were choosing the places of honor at the table.  "When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not recline at table in the place of honor.  A more distinguished guest than you may have been invited by him, and the host who invited both of you may approach you and say, 'Give your place to this man,' and then you would proceed with embarrassment to take the lowest place.  Rather, when you are invited, go and take the lowest place so that when the host comes to you he may say, 'My friend, move up to a higher position.' Then you will enjoy the esteem of your companions at the table.  For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted."  Luke 14: 1, 7 – 11


When I prayed using this Gospel passage I was struck by the image of the exalted place at the table.  As I pondered the image of the last time I was at a celebratory dinner I was replaying in my mind how I chose my seat.  In choosing my seat I was conscious of trying not to have my back to anyone when the host would be speaking.  It struck me that this Gospel is less about choosing a seat than mindfulness.  We are called to be mindful of others in all areas of our lives.  When we are mindful we act out of a disposition of thoughtfulness rather than self-centeredness.  We think about others more than we think about ourselves and our own comfort level.  As we go through our day today let us try to be mindful of one another and put the needs of others before our own.  Happy Saturday!

Pat Schifini, OSU

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Feast of St. Ursula

On October 21st we celebrate the feast day of St. Ursula, a holy woman and venerated martyr shrouded in mystery. According to legend she was a 4th century princess from Britain who wanted to dedicate her life to God.  She did not want to embrace the arranged marriage that her father had arranged.  Ursula pleaded with him to make a pilgrimage, she set off and was martyred by the Huns in Cologne, Germany.   St. Angela chose Ursula to be the patroness of the Ursuline Order as she was one of her favorite saints.  Ursula’s life is shrouded in legend and it is uncertain if she truly existed.  Whether she is a myth or real we honor her this day as we pray…


Good and gracious God, you have given us Ursula and her Companions, women whose firm belief in Jesus Christ led them to a martyr’s death.  In remembering them may we be empowered by your Spirit to live with singleness of mind and heart as we strive to witness to your presence in our world today.  We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.  Happy Feast of St. Ursula to all!

Pat Schifini, OSU



Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Feast of St. Luke

The Lord Jesus appointed seventy-two disciples whom he sent ahead of him in pairs
to every town and place he intended to visit.  He said to them, "The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few;
so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.  Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves.  Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals; and greet no one along the way.  Into whatever house you enter, first say, 'Peace to this household.'  If a peaceful person lives there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you.  Stay in the same house and eat and drink what is offered to you, for the laborer deserves payment.  Do not move about from one house to another.  Whatever town you enter and they welcome you, eat what is set before you, cure the sick in it and say to them, 'The Kingdom of God is at hand for you.”  Luke 10: 1 – 9


Today we celebrate the Feast of St. Luke.  Luke was one of the four evangelists and wrote the Acts of the Apostles.  In these two books, he shows the parallel between the life of Christ and that of the Church.  He was a Gentile Christian and was said to be a physician.  Luke was a companion of St. Paul and had a unique writing style.  He frequently wrote about mercy, the poor, women, justice and compassion.  Luke had a warmth in his writings which set him apart from the other synoptic Gospels.  St. Luke is the patron Saint of:  Artists/Painters, Brewers, Butchers, Notaries, Physicians/Surgeons.  St. Luke has so much to offer us.  As we pray this day may we pray for the gift of peace and the ability to share that gift with others.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Be At Peace

Brothers and sisters:  Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God.  Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.  Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.  Keep on doing what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me.  Then the God of peace will be with you.  (Philippians 4: 4-6)


Today’s second reading invites us to embrace the peace of God.  We are called to be at peace.  When we are at peace the ordinary problems of life don’t impact us the same way.  We are calmer, less anxious and ready to take on anything that comes our way.  Each morning many of us take vitamins to keep our bodies healthy.  Perhaps today is a good day to take an extra dose of Scripture.  Take some time with the above reading and allow you mind and heart to be filled with the love and peace of our God.   Remember God’s abundant love for you as you give your soul some rest.  Our loving God is always with you for God loves you more than you can ask for or imagine.  Let the peace of God dwell in your heart and let go of all anxiety, fear and concern!

Pat Schifini, OSU

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Seeing is Believing

Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was happening, and he was greatly perplexed because some were saying, "John has been raised from the dead"; others were saying, "Elijah has appeared"; still others, "One of the ancient prophets has arisen."  But Herod said, "John I beheaded.  Who then is this about whom I hear such things?"  And he kept trying to see him.  Luke 9:7-9


In today’s Gospel, we read the story of Herod who wanted to see Jesus.  He kept looking for him not to get rid of him but to understand him better.  Many times, in life we are faced with the same issues.  We want to see Jesus but are not always sure of how to find him.  When I was in the sixth grade I remember getting glasses for the very first time and did not realize how much I had been missing until I put them on.  After wearing them for a short time I could see with a new perspective.  When we are searching for Jesus we need to be open to seeing him in all places and in all people.  Jesus promises to be with us always.  This does not mean only on the good days or when I am in a good mood.  Each day we are called on to put on Christ and to remember that he will always guide us along the journey of life.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Beginning of the New School Year

St. Angela in her First Counsel wrote:

“Therefore, pray God to enlighten you, direct you and teach you what you are to do for love of God in regard to this responsibility; for there can be no nobler one than that of being a teacher of the children of God.  Remember, then, the respect you owe them, because the more you respect them, the more you will love them; and the more you love them, the better you will watch over and care for them; and it will be impossible for you not to have them all engraven in your hearts night and day, each one individually, for this is how true love acts.  Nor should you worry about this responsibility.  Instead you should greatly thank God that you are permitted to be one of those who are allowed to exhaust themselves in guiding and looking after such a precious charge.  Have hope and firm faith in God who will help you in all things.”


As the new school year begins let us recall Angela’s words and know that she is still with us today!

Pat Schifini, OSU

Friday, September 1, 2017

World Day of Prayer for Creation

I received the following from the Catholic Climate Covenant and wanted to share it with all.  Friday, September 1st is World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, celebrated by the Orthodox Church since 1989 and by the Roman Catholic Church since 2015. It is also the beginning of the Season of Creation, which ends on October 4th, the feast day of St. Francis.

On Friday, September 1st let us take a moment to appreciate and give thanks for God’s gifts of nature. Join with Christians around the world praying for creation. Together with Pope Francis, pray for our common home:

A Prayer for Our Earth

All-powerful God, you are present in the whole universe and in the smallest of your creatures.  You embrace with your tenderness all that exists.  Pour out upon us the power of your love, that we may protect life and beauty.  Fill us with peace that we may live as brothers and sisters, harming no one.  O God of the poor, help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth, so precious in your eyes.  Bring healing to our lives, that we may protect the world and not prey on it, that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction. Touch the hearts of those who look only for gain at the expense of the poor and the earth.  Teach us to discover the worth of each thing, to be filled with awe and contemplation, to recognize that we are profoundly united with every creature as we journey towards your infinite light. We thank you for being with us each day. Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle for justice, love and peace.

                        -From Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’

Pat Schifini, OSU

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Faith of John the Baptist

John the Baptist spoke out about the injustices of his time and knew the price he could do for doing so.  As a result he paid the ultimate price and was beheaded by Herod. After hearing the news of his cousin’s death, Jesus, withdrew to a deserted place to pray and mourn the loss of John.  Jesus knew what was ahead of him and went to pray for the strength to continue the mission.

Our world in many ways if faced with very difficult and heart wrenching stories.  We are shaken by senseless violence and often feel powerless in the face of opposition.  As followers of Jesus, we need to remain faithful.  We need to be willing to make the changes needed to follow the good news.  Our call is to be agents of change in any way we are able to. 


As we answer God’s call to be agents of change we will be strengthened by our faith.  Our God of abundant love will always light the path for us.  Let us face this challenge with the same perseverance that John had.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Who do you say that I am?

Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi and he asked his disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?"   They replied, "Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets."   He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"  Simon Peter said in reply, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."   Jesus said to him in reply, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah.   For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.  And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.  I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."   Then he strictly ordered his disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.  Mathew 16: 13 – 20


Today’s gospel happens to be a personal favorite of mine.  It is the gospel that I used for my religious profession some thirty years ago.  The question that Jesus posed to Peter is one that we often struggle to answer.  I believe that it is Peter’s response that gives us hope to persevere in the quest to follow Jesus.  Peter is the disciple who Jesus loved and chose to be our first Pope.  I don’t believe that Peter ever thought that Jesus would make him the leader of the new Church.  Peter proved his love and admiration of Jesus many times and at other times seemingly came up short.  As we look at this question today let us take time to formulate our response to Jesus’ question of who do you say that I am?

Pat Schifini, OSU

Friday, August 25, 2017

True Love


Today’s scriptures speak to us of the great call to love.  In the first reading we have the beautiful story of Ruth and Naomi.  Ruth’s love for her mother- in-law Naomi surpasses tradition and personifies the meaning of commitment.  Ruth’s husband dies and this leaves her and Naomi all alone.  Not having anyone to care for her mother-in-law Ruth makes the decision to stay with her and care for her.  Ruth utters the beautiful statement, “Wherever you go, I shall go, wherever you live so shall I live.  Your people will be my people and your God will be my God too.”  This reading epitomizes true love and is often used at weddings.  Ruth’s dedication and love for Naomi is the kind of love that truly builds up the kingdom of God.  Take some time today to count your blessings and see where you are called to spread love.  Perhaps it will be a kind word for someone who has hurt you, an act of random kindness or the decision to promote love and kindness wherever you go.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Feast of the Assumption of Mary

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  It is a very special day for many people and cultures.  I have fond memories of the procession I participated in as a child.  All the little girls would put on their best white dress and be given a simple blue cape to wear as we walked in solemn procession behind the statue that the men carried.  I remember always trying to go to the ocean on this day to dip my feet into the water.  There are often gatherings at the beach on this day to bless the water and place a wreath out in the ocean.  As we pray this day let us recall what a great blessing our Lady is for us.  She has promised to intercede for us and will always be with us.  O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse in thee.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Friday, August 11, 2017

St. Clare of Assisi

Today the Church honors St. Clare of Assisi.  St. Clare left her comfortable life and in secret left her home and family to follow St. Francis.  She shed her regal clothes for the coarse habit of Francis’ followers, cut her hair and embraced a totally new identity.  Clare sought the contemplative life and knew the importance of prayer.  She praised God in her actions and sought to live the gospel message.  Clare taught her followers to pray, to be engaged in the world and to live the gospel message.  Let us follow St. Clare’s example of praying for the needs of the world.  Right now our world certainly needs prayers of healing and conversion of heart.  Let us pray for world leaders to seek peace and justice rather than weapons of destruction.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Sunday, August 6, 2017

The Transfiguration

“Jesus took Peter, James, and his brother John and led them up on a high mountain by themselves. He was transfigured before their very eyes. His face became as dazzling as the sun, his clothes bright as light.  Suddenly Moses and Elijah appeared to them, conversing with him.” – Matthew 17.1-3


I always love this part of the Transfiguration story as it provides such a vivid image of what was happening that day.  To think that Jesus took Peter, James, and John up the mountain to be part of an experience that had to be life changing for them.  They had a glimpse of Jesus in glory, his divinity shining through his humanity.   They are overcome with fear and awe and they fall to the ground.  Words fail but faith prevails.  They are empowered by this experience for the mission that was ahead of them.  May we have the faith of the early disciples in our daily living as we seek to be inspired by such an overwhelming event. 

Pat Schifini, OSU

Monday, July 31, 2017

St. Ignatius of Loyola

Today, the Church celebrates the feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits. Many people associate the Jesuits with education. St. Ignatius was a contemporary of St. Angela Merici.  Neither St. Ignatius or St. Angela had initially planned on operating schools.  Both desired their followers to go out to the people and serve the needs of the community. didn’t plan on the Jesuits operating any schools. Like the Ursulines the Jesuits ultimately began to found institutions and became known for their excellence in education.  The Jesuit motto "ad majorem dei glorium" – for the greater glory of God has been passed down throughout many generations.  On this day when we celebrate the feast of St. Ignatius let us take time to reflect on how we can give God greater glory and praise in our thoughts and our actions.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Senator John McCain

Last evening the country received the upsetting news that Senator John McCain has an aggressive brain tumor.  No matter what our politics are, Americans know the history of this man and his dedication to the life of our country.  Let us pray for him and for his family that our God will give them the strength and grace to bear this cross with faith and dignity.

We all know someone who is suffering with cancer and we feel helpless in our efforts to ease their pain.  While we may not be able to ease their physical suffering, we can pray for them and by offering the hard things in our lives, it may make theirs easier. This is redemptive suffering.  May our God bless all who are ill.


KM Donohue, OSU

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Childlike Simplicity

At that time Jesus exclaimed: "I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike.  Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will.  All things have been handed over to me by my Father.  No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him." Matthew 11: 25 - 27


Reflecting on this Gospel passage reminds me of the importance of having a childlike trust and reliance on our loving God.  When you look at a little child you can see how they rely on their parents for everything.  Children trust their parents with a certitude that is hard to fathom.   Jesus calls us today to have the same openness to God’s love as a child does.   We are called to respond to this invitation with the simple trust of a child.  As I watch my twin nephews grow and develop I find myself amazed at how they play and communicate.  I recall my youth when all I wanted to do was go to the park and go on the swings and climb the “monkey bars.”  Jesus calls us to enjoy life as a child would – simply and happily.  May we have the courage to surrender to that invitation and live in happiness and peace.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Come as You Are

Jesus said to his Apostles: "No disciple is above his teacher, no slave above his master.  It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, for the slave that he become like his master.  If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more those of his household!  "Therefore do not be afraid of them.  Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known.  What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light; what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.  And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna.  Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin?  Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father's knowledge.  Even all the hairs of your head are counted.  So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.  Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father.  But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father."  Matthew 10: 24 - 33

Today’s Gospel speaks to the heart of what it means to be a child of God. When we follow Jesus it comes with challenges, and there are many times we find ourselves wondering if we can really follow God’s plan for us.  God’s love for us is so enormous that we can never fully realize the love that God has for each one of us. 

I remember a song that I heard a long time ago and the refrain was. “Come as you are, that’s how I want you.  Come as you are, don’t be ashamed…”  Recalling that song made connecting to this Gospel much easier.  God’s love for us is beyond anything we could ask for or even imagine and is always there for us.  This day let us come to our God as we are with all our joys and sorrows, our successes and faults, and remember that no matter what our God loves us just the way we are.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Jesus' Call

Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out and to cure every disease and every illness.  The names of the Twelve Apostles are these:  first, Simon called Peter, and his brother Andrew; James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew, Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James, the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddeus; Simon the Cananean, and Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus.

Jesus sent out these Twelve after instructing them thus, "Do not go into pagan territory or enter a Samaritan town.  Go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.  As you go, make this proclamation: 'The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 10: 1 – 7)


In today’s Gospel, we hear the familiar story of the “Call of the Twelve Disciples.”  Jesus called these ordinary men to carry out his mission with him.  When Jesus chose these twelve he chose fishermen and a tax collector.  Not exactly the team one would think Jesus would.  One would think Jesus would have chosen the best and the brightest but instead he chose the average ones.  Jesus shows us that he wants us all to be his disciples and promises to give us all we need to carry out this task. He does believe that we can bring about his message of love, peace and joy to all those we meet.  Jesus invites and we need to be receptive to his invitation and gladly embrace the call he has in mind for each one of us.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Monday, July 10, 2017

Faith

While Jesus was speaking, an official came forward, knelt down before him, and said, "My daughter has just died.  But come, lay your hand on her, and she will live."  Jesus rose and followed him, and so did his disciples.  A woman suffering hemorrhages for twelve years came up behind him and touched the tassel on his cloak.  She said to herself, "If only I can touch his cloak, I shall be cured."  Jesus turned around and saw her, and said, "Courage, daughter! Your faith has saved you."  And from that hour the woman was cured. 

When Jesus arrived at the official's house and saw the flute players and the crowd who were making a commotion, he said, "Go away! The girl is not dead but sleeping."  And they ridiculed him.  When the crowd was put out, he came and took her by the hand, and the little girl arose. And news of this spread throughout all that land. Matthew 9:18-26


In today’s Gospel, Jesus’ teaching was interrupted and he responded immediately.  He did not rebuke the official for disturbing him, nor did he tell him to come back later.  Jesus stopped what he was doing and focused his attention on the man and tended to his need.  When the woman touched his cloak she was cured not because she touched Jesus but because of her great faith.  May our faith grow and be as strong as these two people.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Saturday, July 8, 2017

The Call

The disciples of John approached Jesus and said, "Why do we and the Pharisees fast much, but your disciples do not fast?"  Jesus answered them, "Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them?  The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.  No one patches an old cloak with a piece of unshrunken cloth, for its fullness pulls away from the cloak and the tear gets worse.  People do not put new wine into old wineskins.  Otherwise the skins burst, the wine spills out, and the skins are ruined.  Rather, they pour new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved." Matthew 9: 14 - 17


I have always found this passage to be one that reminds me that we are constantly being changed by Jesus.  We are changed through the Sacraments, prayer and our daily encounters with others.  Jesus helps us to shape our hearts and minds and to become who we are meant to be. Life is a journey with many twists and turns.  This passages reminds us that we never walk alone – Jesus is always with us to guide and help us.  As the song says, “We are called to act with justice, we are called to love tenderly, we are called to love one another and walk humbly with God.”

Pat Schifini, OSU

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

God's Love

Today’s scripture readings assure us of God’s overwhelming love for us.  As we reflect on the story of Abraham and the Gospel from Matthew we see over and over God’s immense love for his people and his desire for our good.  Our God is a God who has promised to always be there for us even in our darkest times.  God hears our prayers and knows our needs even before we even speak a word.  It is the paradox that God’s love never fails only we do.  There are times when God’s love seems very distant from us and we know that all we must do is return to God’s open arms and we will be comforted.  God’s love is beyond our human comprehension.  As we live this day let us try and be open to God’s amazing love for us.  Perhaps we will see it in nature, or in another person.  Where ever we see God’s love let us rejoice in the gift that it is.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Happy 4th of July

Today, we Americans, celebrate Independence Day.  A day where some 241 years ago our forefathers took pen in hand and signed the Declaration of Independence from England.  This day is traditionally celebrated with barbecues, fireworks and being with family and friends.  As we celebrate today let us remember that we are celebrating the gift of freedom that we have.  We need to use our freedom wisely so that future generations will enjoy the same ideals we embrace.  Our freedom did not come without cost.  The desire for freedom came with the reality of overcoming fear.  The founding fathers feared for their lives, their families and their freedom yet they were steadfast in their conviction of freedom.  As we celebrate this day let us take a moment to pause and reflect on the great faith and vision these men had and pray a prayer of gratitude for those who continue to fight for our freedom.  May God always bless the United States of America!

Pat Schifini, OSU

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Love

Jesus said to his apostles:  "Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me.  Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

"Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.  Whoever receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet's reward, and whoever receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man's reward.  And whoever gives only a cup of cold water to one of these little ones to drink because the little one is a disciple— amen, I say to you, he will surely not lose his reward." Matthew 10: 37 – 42


Jesus says it rather clearly in today’s Gospel that the focus of our lives should be on Him.  He challenges us to leave all behind and follow.  In his call he is encouraging us to put God first in our lives and to move away from the worries of this world.   Jesus’ message is truly based on love and this is what we are called to love not hate.  Our world is full of hatred and greed and we are called to rise above that and be persons of peace and love.  Let us live this day in love and strive to live as Jesus wants us to.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Friday, June 30, 2017

Healing

When Jesus came down from the mountain, great crowds followed him.  And then a leper approached, did him homage, and said, "Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean."  He stretched out his hand, touched him, and said, "I will do it. Be made clean." His leprosy was cleansed immediately.  Then Jesus said to him, "See that you tell no one, but go show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses prescribed; that will be proof for them."  Matthew 8: 1 – 4


Today’s Gospel always strikes me as one of great courage both on the part of Jesus and the man involved in the story.  The leper was an outcast and Jesus embraced his illness and was willing to cure him.  When the man asked Jesus to cure him he responded by stretching out his hand and curing him.  The man must have been filled with great joy as he realized that he had been cured.  Jesus, however, told him to do what the law prescribed.  As you ponder this encounter today perhaps it is a good time to look at the things inside of each one of us what needs healing and ask Jesus to help cure it.  Jesus is always ready to sooth our needs all we have to do is ask.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Sts. Peter & Paul

"Who do people say that the Son of Man is?"  They replied, "Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets."  He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"  Simon Peter said in reply, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."  Jesus said to him in reply, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.  And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.  I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of heaven.   Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."  Matthew 16:13-19


Today we celebrate the Solemnity of Sts. Peter & Paul.  This Gospel has always had special meaning for me as it is the one used at my religious profession.  Whenever I hear or read this Gospel I am brought back to that event.  Today this Gospel is used to honor Sts. Peter and Paul.  Peter who became the rock upon which Jesus built the Church and Paul who had been a persecutor of Christians turned out to be a champion for the faith.  He experienced a profound conversion and went from persecuting to defending.  They both had an experience of Jesus that changed their life forever.  Perhaps today is a good day to look at our own relationship with Jesus and answer the question, “Who do you say that I am?”

Pat Schifini, OSU

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The Golden Rule

“Do to others whatever you would have them do to you.”  This familiar verse is known as the “Golden Rule.”  It seems so simple yet it is also very complicated.  In St. John’s Gospel, we hear Jesus’ teaching that says to “love one another as I have loved you, so you also should love one another.” He goes on to say that this love is how everyone will know that you are following Jesus Christ.  Following Jesus’ commands seem relatively easy but are we able to do it easily.  As we follow Jesus’ commands to love it might be helpful to make a list of all the ways that Jesus has shown us love first.  I am sure that the list will be relatively lengthy.  Using that list as our guide we can see how we should share that love with others.  We all need to show unconditional love, forgiveness, concern, care, compassion and trust.  Let us try to live each day seeing the face of God in one another.
Pat Schifini, OSU

Monday, June 26, 2017

Pay it Forward

Every once in a while a story pops up on social media that causes me to stop and pause.  Yesterday, was one of those days when the priest at the mass I attended spoke of a story he had read.  It was the story of an ice cream drive thru where a father with his children were purchasing ice cream and he paid for the car behind him.  This caught on and some 160 cars later it was still happening.  Whether the story is true of not does not really matter what does is the spirit of this gesture.  Imagine if everyone took a moment to share a compliment or even a simple “hello” with someone else today.  I dare say our world would be a happier place.  Perhaps this simple story will encourage you to reach out someone else today.  Remember our deeds need not be great they should be done with great love.
Pat Schifini, OSU

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Prayer

Jesus said to his disciples:  "In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words.  Do not be like them.  Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.  "This is how you are to pray:  'Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.'  "If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you.  But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions."  (Matthew 6: 7 – 15)


In today’s Gospel, Jesus teaches his disciples how to pray.  It is a prayer that is one that is so familiar to us all.  We often say it in times of need and distress.  I remember as a young child learning the Our Father.  My mother taught me the words by having me repeat them after her until I learned to say them with her.  I can imagine that the disciples learned it in much the same way by repetition.  Prayer truly is a conversation with God and is the way of building our relationship with God.  Our God hears our prayers no matter what form of prayer we use.   The most important thing is to listen as well as speak.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

National Migrant and Refugee Day

Today we celebrate National Refugee and Migrant day.  Let us pray a prayer provided by the USCCB for all those who have been displace by war, violence and oppression.

Lord Jesus, when you multiplied the loaves and fishes, you provided more than food for the body, you offered us the gift of yourself, the gift which satisfies every hunger and quenches every thirst! Your disciples were filled with fear and doubt, but you poured out your love and compassion on the migrant crowd, welcoming them as brothers and sisters.

Lord Jesus, today you call us to welcome the members of God's family who come to our land to escape oppression, poverty, persecution, violence, and war. Like your disciples, we too are filled with fear and doubt and even suspicion. We build barriers in our hearts and in our minds.

Lord Jesus, help us by your grace,
To banish fear from our hearts, that we may embrace each of your children as our own brother and sister;
To welcome migrants and refugees with joy and generosity, while responding to their many needs;
To realize that you call all people to your holy mountain to learn the ways of peace and justice;
To share of our abundance as you spread a banquet before us;
To give witness to your love for all people, as we celebrate the many gifts they bring.


We praise you and give you thanks for the family you have called together from so many people. We see in this human family a reflection of the divine unity of the one Most Holy Trinity in whom we make our prayer: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Jesus' Challenge to Love

Jesus said to his disciples:  I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter into the Kingdom of heaven.  "You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.  But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment, and whoever says to his brother, Raqa, will be answerable to the Sanhedrin, and whoever says, 'You fool,' will be liable to fiery Gehenna.  Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift.  Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court with him. Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge, and the judge will hand you over to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. Amen, I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny."  (Matthew 25: 20 – 26)


Today’s Gospel is one where we really see how difficult it is to follow in Jesus’ footsteps.  Jesus has raised the measurement of our love for one another for sure.  As I read it over this morning I was struck by the magnitude of what Jesus is asking of us.  If we take Jesus’ words literally then we are faced with the reality that Jesus is calling us to a complete transformation.  Jesus wants us to not just go through the motions of showing our love, he wants it to be real and genuine.  It is a task that becomes easier with God’s love for us.  It’s a simple yet radical way to live.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Peace

Peace can only come about when we learn to treat each other as brothers and sisters and recognize our shared vocation as children of God.

“Peace is not merely the absence of war; nor can it be reduced solely to the maintenance of a balance of power between enemies; nor is it brought about by dictatorship. Instead, it is rightly and appropriately called an enterprise of justice.”  Gaudium et Spes, Vatican II


As I reflected this morning I was struck by the recurring notion of peace and as the day unfolded it became more obvious how desperately we all need to embrace peace in our daily living.  The event in Virginia this morning has left a tremendous shock on our nation and further reinforces that violence is never the answer.  As we live this day in God’s love let us remember that we are meant to be bearers of peace and reconciliation and not hate and pain.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

St. Anthony

Today we celebrate the Feast of St. Anthony of Padua.  For generations, Saint Anthony of Padua was the go-to saint for finding lost items. But what few realize is that this beloved Franciscan saint was a fiercely intelligent, holy friar who lived what he preached. He was a theologian, a teacher, and a holy religious who gave his life to God.  I have fond memories of celebrating this Feast on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx as a child.  We would go to the Feast Day Mass and then attend the procession before enjoying the games and food that was everywhere.  As the youngest in my family I have the fond memory of pinning a dollar on the St. Anthony statue that was being processed through the neighborhood.  It was a fun time, a family time and a time that centered around faith.  In recent years St. Anthony has definitely become my “go to person” for lost objects – “St. Anthony, come around, something is lost that must be found” is frequently uttered.  As we commemorate this great saint today let us remember that he was more than a great “lost and found!”

Pat Schifini, OSU

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Trinity Sunday

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity.  Our God clearly is a God of relationship.  God sent Jesus as a sign of his love for us.  There are so many signs of God’s abundant love for us – a newborn baby, flowers, a beautiful blue sky, a colorful sunrise, a cardinal or a butterfly.  God’s love overflows in our relationships with one another.  Our God is not a distant God who doesn’t care about us.  Our God is a loving and generous God who continues to show us his love and compassion despite our short comings.  God’s love will last forever and his faithfulness till the end of time because he is a God of love and compassion.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Two Great Commandments

One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him, "Which is the first of all the commandments?"  Jesus replied, "The first is this:  Hear, O Israel!  The Lord our God is Lord alone!  You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.  The second is this:  You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  There is no other commandment greater than these."  The scribe said to him, "Well said, teacher.  You are right in saying, He is One and there is no other than he.  And to love him with all your heart, with all your understanding, with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices."  And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding, he said to him, "You are not far from the Kingdom of God."  And no one dared to ask him any more questions.  (Mark 12: 28 – 34)


In today’s Gospel, Jesus reaffirms the two great commandments – love of God and love of neighbor.  These are the two that we need to live to the best of our ability.  If we do this then we are doing what God has asked us.  Jesus makes it clear in these commandments that love is greater than sacrifice.  Let our love be great in these days where our world is suffering greatly.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

We Remember

Today we commemorate the invasion of the allied troops on the shores of the beaches in Normandy, France.  Commonly referred to as “D-day” it marks one of the largest military amphibious assaults.  As we remember this day let us call to mind all the men and women who have served in our armed services through countless battles who because of their great sacrifices we may enjoy our freedom.  Let us take a moment to pray a special prayer for all those who have served or will serve.  Lord God, Almighty Father, creator of humankind and author of peace, as we are ever mindful of the cost paid for the liberty we possess, we ask you to bless the members of our armed forces. Give them courage, hope and strength.  May they ever experience your firm support, gentle love and compassionate healing.  Be their power and protector, leading them from darkness to light.  To you be all glory, honor and praise, now and forever.  Amen.  May we always strive to live in peace and harmony!

Pat Schifini, OSU

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Pentecost

The Season of Easter concludes with today’s liturgical celebration, the Feast of Pentecost. On Pentecost, we celebrate the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles gathered in the upper room in Jerusalem; this event marks the beginning of the Church. The story of Pentecost is found in the Acts of the Apostles, today’s first reading. Today Jesus fulfilled his promise to send to his disciples a helper, an advocate, who would enable them to be his witnesses throughout the world.
Today’s Gospel reminds us that the Church is called to be a reconciling presence in the world. This reconciling presence is also to be a way of life for Christians. In situations of conflict, we are to be agents of peace and harmony among people.  St. Angela in her writings said to “spread peace and concord wherever you are” and to “remain in harmony, one heart, one will.”  She reminds us to continue the mission of Jesus in all that we do and say.  Let us live this day in peace and pray for those who were injured or killed in London yesterday.  May all violence cease.

Pat Schifini, OSU


Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Visitation

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Visitation.  A day that is all about friendship, love, and service to others. I love this day as it celebrates the love of the cousins Mary and Elizabeth.  Mary goes to visit her cousin and spends about three months with her.  The journey could not have been easy for her as she was pregnant traveling by donkey or walking through the hill country and rocky paths.  It must have been an arduous trip. 

Elizabeth too was pregnant and welcomes her cousin without concern or fuss.  She greets her with great joy, in fact the baby in her womb leaped for joy at Mary’s arrival. Mary and Elizabeth are thrilled to be with one another and share a very special bond.  As they model friendship, love and family for us we are called to do the same.  Perhaps it is as simple as saying “Hello” to those we pass by in the halls.  Let us take time this day to make the extra effort to make others feel welcome and loved.
Pat Schifini, OSU

Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day

The following prayer was sent to me by Sadlier Publishing Co.  It seems appropriate to share it on this Memorial Day.  “Give us the grace to find alternatives to vengeance and violence, and the courage to advocate for peaceful solutions to our conflicts.  Center our hope in you so that, like the prophet Isaiah, we, too, envision a world without war. With all hope in your power and presence, we pray.”


As we celebrate this Memorial Day may we always remember those who have died serving our country.  It is a somber day as it is raining and rather gloomy.  Last night there was a wonderful tribute to our armed forces from our nation’s capital.  It was an amazing tribute to all who served both living and deceased.  As we celebrate today let us take time to pause and reflect on the true reason for this day and remember with gratitude all who paid the ultimate sacrifice.  Happy Memorial Day!

Pat Schifini, OSU


Sunday, May 28, 2017

Seventh Sunday of Easter

After Jesus had been taken up to heaven the apostles returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day's journey away.

When they entered the city they went to the upper room where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James.  All these devoted themselves with one accord to prayer, together with some women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.  Acts 1:  12-14


Today we celebrate the Seventh Sunday after Easter.  I can’t believe that is has been seven weeks since Easter Sunday.  Time is flying by.  As I listened to this reading at Mass today I was struck that the Apostles gathered in the familiar room they had been in when Jesus appeared in their midst.  I can imagine how difficult it must have been for the Apostles as Jesus told them that he was going away and would no longer be physically with them.  They must have experienced profound grief and confusion.  But Jesus did promise to be with them until the end of time.  It is this promise that kept them going and keeps us going too.  As we celebrate this day let us always remember that Jesus’ promise is alive for each one of us!

Pat Schifini, OSU

Friday, May 26, 2017

Memorial Day Weekend

For Americans, Memorial Day Weekend marks the beginning of the summer season. Merchants are hoping for good weather and a great beach season which will help them get through the lean winter season. Millions of us will be traveling for family reunions, for graduations, for fun gatherings or just to "get away."  It is a time for parades and festivals.


But, we must never forget the real reason Memorial Day was begun.  It is a time for the Nation to remember our war dead, those patriots who were willing to fight for freedom and to defend the rights of others.  Many lives are touched when a young man or woman is killed while serving in the Armed Forces.  In the midst of our festivities this weekend, let us take time to say a prayer for these patriots and their families and to remember those men and women still serving today.  Thank them for their service if you meet a veteran.

KM Donohue, OSU