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

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