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