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


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


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 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