Sunday, July 22, 2018

Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time


The apostles gathered together with Jesus and reported all they had done and taught.  He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” People were coming and going in great numbers, and they had no opportunity even to eat.  So they went off in the boat by themselves to a deserted place.   People saw them leaving and many came to know about it.  They hastened there on foot from all the towns and arrived at the place before them.  When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.  Mark: 6:30-34

Today we celebrate the Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time.  Our Gospel today tells us to take time away from the busyness of our lives to spend time with Jesus.  Jesus asks them to come away but many people came too because they were curious.  The disciples had shared how busy they were that they didn’t even have time to eat lunch.  In this story the disciples were very busy and didn’t have time for what they really wanted to spend time with Jesus.  We all need to take some time to retreat and reflect rather than get caught up in our distractions.  It is important to remember to “rest a while” and let the peace of Jesus fill our lives and hearts.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Pray...Pray...Pray...


Today our world is anxiously awaiting the rescue of the 12 boys and their soccer coach from a cave in Thailand.  We have watched and waited as rescue teams have surveyed, scouted, drilled and emptied water from the flooded cave.  It has been a harrowing time for their parents and families who are anxiously waiting for their rescue.  During this time many people from all faiths have united in prayer for their safety and well-being.  So far six of the boys have been rescued and we await further word on the rest of the boys.  The reason they entered the cave is unclear as there was a warning sign not to enter the cave.  During their time in the cave these boys have shown amazing resilience and have not lost heart.  They believe in and trust their rescuers.  There has been one fatality as a result of the attempts to rescue them.  One former Navy Seal died during the week.  Now with monsoons in the forecast it became critical to get the boys out and they are in the process of doing that.  Let us continue to pray for the safety of all who are trying to rescue the boys and the hospital staff who is preparing to treat them.  May they all emerge safely and may their recovery be swift and complete.


Pat Schifini, OSU

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Independence Day

As we celebrate Independence Day today let us pray:  

God, source of all freedom, this day is bright with the memory of those who declared that life and liberty are your gift to every human being.  Help us to continue a good work begun long ago.  Make our vision clear and our will strong:  that only in human solidarity will we find liberty, and justice only in the honor that belongs to every life on earth.  Turn our hearts toward the family of nations: to understand the ways of others, to offer friendship, and to find safety only in the common good of all.  We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Pat Schifini, OSU






Sunday, June 24, 2018

What's in a Name




One day I asked my mother where my name came from and her response surprised me.  She told me that she wanted to name me after her best friend whose name was Patsy but my father would have nothing to do with that so I was called Patricia.  I am forever grateful to my father for sparing me from that fate. 

In today’s Gospel we have a scene where Zechariah and Elizabeth give birth to a son whom they named John.  Elizabeth broke with tradition by announcing her son’s name and Zechariah affirmed this to be true.  We have an awesome God.  A God who is full of surprises and love.  Our God gives us so many blessings for which we should be grateful.  Zechariah and Elizabeth were servants in the temple and God heard their prayers and granted them a son.  This child would grow up and take his place in salvation history.  God heard and answered their prayers.  God always gives us more than we ask for or imagine.  Like Zechariah and Elizabeth we too are called to believe, trust and hope that all shall be well.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

World Day of Prayer for Migrants


Call to Prayer and Reconciliation:

Today we join our hearts and minds in solidarity with our sisters and brothers who, at this very moment, are refugees, families and individuals who are migrating all over the world.  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.  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.

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: Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier. Amen. - Prayer from USCCB

Pat Schifini, OSU

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Feast of Corpus Christi


Today we celebrate the feast of Corpus Christi.  This day we are reminded that Jesus is our Bread of Life.  As we celebrate the great feast of thanksgiving let us recall Jesus’ invitation to come and see.  Jesus personifies hospitality in everything he did.  His tender compassion, his welcome of all people, his miracles and parables are all invitations to enter into a deeper relationship with Jesus.  Jesus had a magnetic personality and people were drawn to him.   He attracted people from all walks of life and never judged them.   Jesus desired to share his message with all who would hear it.  People in Jesus’ time were hungering for direction in life – much like our current reality.

Jesus’ hospitality reached far and wide.  He wanted/wants people to be whole both physically and spiritually.  The nourishment of the Eucharist is more than spiritual.  Jesus desires all people to be satisfied both physically and spiritually.  As we partake in the great act of thanksgiving – the Eucharist let us always remember that Jesus is indeed our bread of life.  The song Pan de Vida summarizes beautifully this feast for me.

Pan de Vida by Bob Hurd and Pia Moriarty

Pan de Vida, cuerpo del SeƱor, Cup of blessing, blood of Christ the Lord. At this table the last shall be first.  Porder es server, porque Dios es amor.

1. We are the dwelling of God, fragile and wounded and weak.  We are the body of Christ, called to be the compassion of God

2. You call me Teacher and Lord; I, who have washed your feet.  So you must do as I do, so the greatest must become the least.

3. There is no Jew or Greek; There is no slave or free; There is no woman or man; Only heirs to the promise of God.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Saturday, May 26, 2018


Today was one of those days that was perfect.  It was a beautiful summer day and I had the opportunity to go to the beach twice.  There is nothing more relaxing for me than some time at the beach.  Somehow all the cares and stresses of the world are whisked away by the ocean.  The water was frigid, and the air was cool.  As I sat at the beach I was observing the tide coming in and out and noticed the footprints that were left on the sand by people who were walking on the beach.  It reminded me of the poem “Footprints in the Sand.”

One night I dreamed a dream.  As I was walking along the beach with my Lord.  Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life.  For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand, one belonging to me and one to my Lord.

After the last scene of my life flashed before me, I looked back at the footprints in the sand.  I noticed that at many times along the path of my life, especially at the very lowest and saddest times, there was only one set of footprints.

This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it.  "Lord, you said once I decided to follow you, You'd walk with me all the way.  But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life, there was only one set of footprints.  I don't understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me."

He whispered, "My precious child, I love you and will never leave you Never, ever, during your trials and testings. When you saw only one set of footprints, It was then that I carried you."

Mary Fishback Powers

May we take time each day to remember the truth of this poem – that our God is always with us.


Pat Schifini

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Pentecost Sunday


Today is Pentecost Sunday – the birthday of the Church.  On this day we celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit given to us all.  Our world is in desperate need of the wisdom of the Holy Spirit and we all need to pray for the guidance of the Spirit.  As we pray this day let us pray for our world and for one another that we may be open to the Spirit.  Let us pray:  Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love.  Send forth your Spirit, and they shall be created.  And You shall renew the face of the earth.  O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.


Pat Schifini, OSU

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Martin Luther King, Jr.


Where were you on this day fifty years ago?  On this day, the world learned of the tragedy that took place in Memphis, Tennessee—the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.  Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot while standing on his balcony of the Lorraine Motel by James Earl Ray.  Martin Luther King, Jr. was America's greatest civil rights leader and most famous advocate of non-violence.  He was in Memphis to support a march for black sanitation workers on strike for better pay and wages.

Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream and sought to be an ambassador of peace in all he did and said.  On Aug. 28, 1963, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.   This historic speech helped galvanize the Civil Rights Movement and brought the plight of the disenfranchised to a larger national and international audience.  As we remember and celebrate this wonderful man today let us reflect on some of his most popular quotes:

"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed - we hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."
\
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

“Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding.” “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

May the dream he had continue to become a reality in our world as we strive to live together in peace, love and harmony.  

Pat Schifini, OSU



Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Faith


In today’s scripture readings we have the familiar story of the three brothers Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego who are cast into the furnace by King Nebuchadnezzar who wants to weaken their resolve to follow God’s commands.  He wants them to betray their faith and turn away from God.  Often we too face many heavy demands that can make us wonder if we have any strength left.  We can feel that we are being tested to the extreme.
The three young Israelites are models for us to follow. No matter what threat was flung at them, they refused to succumb to defeat and fear.   Their faith in God could not be shaken.  They knew the reality of God’s abundant love for them.  God would stand by and protect them from all evil and harm.  The same is true for us - God will never abandon us nor will he take his love from us.  All we need to do is surrender our love to the God who has loved us first.  Take some time today as the snow falls to relish the love of God present in your life.
Pat Schifini, OSU

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Happy St. Patrick's Day


St. Patrick's Breastplate is a popular prayer attributed to one of Ireland’s most beloved patron saints. According to tradition, St. Patrick wrote it in 433 A.D. for divine protection before successfully converting the Irish King Leoghaire and his subjects from paganism to Christianity. The term breastplate refers to a piece of armor worn in battle.  This is the part of the prayer that is most popular and familiar for people.

Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

Let us pray for all people who celebrate this day.  May all be safe and enjoy their day.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Fourth Sunday of Lent


Jesus said to Nicodemus: “Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.” 
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.
  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.  Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the verdict, that the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light,
because their works were evil.  For everyone who does wicked things hates the light
and does not come toward the light, so that his works might not be exposed.  But whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God.  John 3: 14 – 21

Today, the Fourth Sunday of Lent, is what was once called Laetare Sunday.  Laetare means “Rejoice” in Latin.  In the entrance antiphon we hear “Rejoice, Jerusalem!”  We are just a bit more than half way through the Lenten season.  This day we hear the familiar “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.”  This passage is one of the most often quoted passages.  It gives us both hope and challenge.  God does indeed love each and every one of us as we are and challenges us to continue to grow into the person we are meant to be and this is a great reason to rejoice!.


Pat Schifini, OSU

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Prayer for Women Leaders Around the World


March, is Women's History Month, a time when we recognize all the great women who have forged our history and continue to do so.  This morning as a school community we prayed the following prayer to honor all women leaders around the world.  Take some time today to pray to and for the women who have influenced your life.

A Prayer for Women Leaders Around the World

Praise to you, women leaders of the seven continents, for your many works of justice.
Praise to you, women leaders of Asia, for confronting trafficking of women.
Praise to you, women leaders of Africa, for raising your voices to stop AIDS.
Praise to you, women leaders of Europe, for your peacekeeping.
Praise to you, women leaders of North America, for confronting economic inequities and racism.
Praise to you, women leaders of South America, for struggling against U.S. domination of your land.
Praise to you, women leaders in Antarctica, for your scientific research.
Praise to you, women leaders of Australia, for supporting indigenous cultures.
May our loving God continue to bless women leaders each day.  Amen
 - Diann Neu


Pat Schifini, OSU

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Innocence and Wonder


Today I had the experience of watching total innocence and childhood wonder.  My friends had asked me to watch their three year old twin sons for a few hours.  It seemed best to take them for a car ride as they did not want to just stay home.  As we drove there was an unending series of questions from the back seat and then it got very quiet and I now had two sleeping passengers.  They slept for a good hour and when we arrived at our first location they woke up as quickly as they fell asleep.  We were going to have lunch at a diner.  They were so inquisitive at all the sights and sounds around them and asked more questions.  Once their food came they began to eat and were having a really nice time.  We then stopped at the store and the fun began – they wanted everything.  I purposely avoided the toy aisle as I am not good at saying “no” to them.  What was so nice was how sweet they were to others – saying hi and please and thank you.  I thought of all the events of this past week and was struck that they have no clue as to what has happened in our world.  Today was one of those days, slightly busy but full of grace which makes it all worth while.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Happy Feast of St. Angela

Today we celebrate the Feast of St. Angela Merici.  Some 482 years ago St. Angela founded the Company of St. Ursula which later evolved into the Ursuline sisters.  Angela was a woman ahead of her time and was deeply committed to personal prayer, helping all people and being a reconciling presence.


St. Angela encourages us to be present to others by being women and men of wisdom and compassion, by being committed to the Ursuline motto of Serviam – I will serve and by being a reconciling presence for all people.  St. Angela promised her daughters to be united with them for all time.  In her promise to always be with us, Angela gives us the courage and strength to begin anew.  As we celebrate this day may we always follow Angela’s advice and be willing to be risk-takers and open to all we meet.  Happy Feast!

Pat Schifini, OSU


Wednesday, January 24, 2018

World Communications day 2018

On this, World Communications Day 2018, Pope Francis used a familiar prayer to conclude his message.  To read his message in its entirety you may visit www.vatican.va.  Here is the prayer for your reflection to counter “fake news.”

Lord, make us instruments of your peace.

Help us to recognize the evil latent in a communication that does not build communion.

Help us to remove the venom from our judgements.

Help us to speak about others as our brothers and sisters.

You are faithful and trustworthy; may our words be seeds of goodness for the world:

where there is shouting, let us practice listening;

where there is confusion, let us inspire harmony;

where there is ambiguity, let us bring clarity;

where there is exclusion, let us offer solidarity;

where there is sensationalism, let us use sobriety;

where there is superficiality, let us raise real questions;

where there is prejudice, let us awaken trust;

where there is hostility, let us bring respect;

where there is falsehood, let us bring truth.


Amen.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

What's in it for me?

After John had been arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God: "This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand.  Repent, and believe in the gospel."

As he passed by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea; they were fishermen.  Jesus said to them, "Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men."  Then they abandoned their nets and followed him.  He walked along a little farther and saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John.  They too were in a boat mending their nets.  Then he called them.  So they left their father Zebedee in the boat along with the hired men and followed him.   Mark 1: 14 -20


When I read this Gospel this morning I was immediately drawn to a song that was written by a Cleveland Ursuline Sister.  The song is entitled, Do You Remember the Call and begins by asking the question, Do you remember the call, when did you hear your name out loud…?  It is a beautiful song and leads to reflection.  As we read today’s Gospel the disciples are called and respond.  None of them asked the all too familiar question – What’s in it for me?  They responded to Jesus’ invitation with utter simplicity and resolve.  They did not go home say goodbye to everyone they simply followed.  Whatever their motivation they simply wanted to follow Jesus and did not hesitate to when asked.  We, too, have been invited to accept Jesus’ invitation to follow and live out his message in our present reality.  As the disciples followed are we ready to simply follow or do we need to first figure out what’s in it for me?  Let us remember that the call is a daily invitation to live a life of faith, hope, and love.  What we receive in return far outweighs what we give up.  As we live this day (and every day) let us remember that we are called by a God of love to do the very same for others for “to love another person is to see the face of God.”

Pat Schifini, OSU

Monday, January 1, 2018

Happy New Year

Happy New Year!  As we begin 2018 let us remember that today marks the 51st World Day of Peace.  Pope Francis’ theme for this year is:  Migrants and refugees: men and women in search of peace.  Pope Francis urges us to turn a "contemplative gaze" toward our migrant and refugee brothers and sisters and to respond to their plight.  Pope Francis encourages us to embrace all those fleeing from war and hunger, or forced by discrimination, persecution, poverty and environmental degradation to leave their homelands.  Let us heed his message as we pray a Prayer for the New Year

Heavenly Father, we thank you for the year that has just passed and the many blessings you have showered upon us in time.

We beg your pardon for our many failings and transgressions and we pray that the coming year may be a more fruitful one.

We earnestly pray for the gift of the Holy Spirit and we call upon our Lord Jesus Christ for his intercession, his guidance, and his light to shine our path into a new year filled with love, peace and hope.


May 2018 be filled with many blessings for all.  May our God of light, love and peace touch the hearts of those who are leading others and making decisions.  May we become a people of peace!

Pat Schifini, OSU