Friday, September 23, 2016


I read the following when I was praying and it really resonated with me so I thought I would share it. We all need to reflect on peace and seek peace in all we do.  

Peace is not a word to thoughtlessly toss around. No, peace is the fruit of struggle. It is the child of effort and suffering. It springs from a life lived with and for others.

Pope Francis says peace grows out of brotherly and sisterly regard, He sees genuine concern for human well-being as its source.

God of nations, you have promised never to abandon humanity. Help us to see others through your eyes and to listen to the depth of their stories. Help us see the good in every person and to enjoy their gifts.

We want to strive for justice, make the world new and live as brothers and sisters. O God who has put this prayer in the human heart, hear us today, hear us now.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Sunday, September 18, 2016


Sometimes being away is a wonderful break from reality.  I had the pleasure of taking forty five high school juniors and seniors on their overnight retreat training program in Cresco, Pennsylvania.  It was a wonderful experience as the group came together to get to know each other and plan for the school’s retreat program.  They had group activities, individual reflection time, a camp fire, a high ropes course and the opportunity to go on the lake in a kayak or row boat.  To say the least they had a wonderful time and also accomplished a great deal.

Reality set in when I watched the news late last night and again this morning.  The incidents of violence are absolutely incredible.  Bombings, shootings, and stabbings were the lead stories today which lasted for about twenty minutes of the broadcast.  I was away with the students for not even thirty six hours and all that happened.  It leaves me to wonder what kind of world these young women have.  Let us renew our efforts to seek peace in all that we do and say!

Pat Schifini, OSU

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Remember, Honor, Pray

It is so hard to believe that fifteen years ago today, nearly 3,000 lives were lost. Each year on September 11, Americans remember an act of unthinkable violence and the lives lost in the terrorist attacks in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania.  Like many others I remember exactly where I was when it happened.  I was at school and had a free period so like many others I was frantically trying to find out what was going on.  On that day, New York City fire chaplain Mychal Judge, OFM, entered the World Trade Center to pray for and assist the first responders there. He was killed when the South Tower collapsed, and is designated Victim 0001 of the World Trade Center attacks.  The loss and visual reality is forever embedded in my mind.

When Pope Francis visited New York City in September 2015, his message at Ground Zero was one of sorrow, but also of hope:  "This place of death became a place of life, too, a place of saved lives, a hymn to the triumph of life over the prophets of destruction and death, to goodness over evil, to reconciliation and unity over hatred and division."

On this day, we honor those loved ones who keep the memories of the fallen alive. We celebrate the heroes who sacrificed everything so that others might live. And we pray, as Pope Francis asked in his Ground Zero address, for:   "Peace in our homes, our families, our schools and our communities. Peace in all those places where war never seems to end. Peace for those faces which have known nothing but pain. Peace throughout this world which God has given us as the home of all and a home for all.  Simply PEACE."

Pat Schifini, OSU

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Feast of the Nativity of Mary

Today we celebrate the birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  Mary’s birth is one of the three that the Church celebrates – Mary on September 8th, Jesus on December 25th and John the Baptist on June 24th.  Each one of these individuals had a very special role in our Church’s history.

Mary’s parents, Joachim and Ann—were faithful followers and loved God very much.  They were filled with gratitude to God for the gift of their daughter.  Raising her to be a faithful child of God they taught her to love and serve God.  When the angel Gabriel told Mary that she had been chosen to be the mother of Jesus, her great faith and trust in God gave her the ability to say yes.  Like Mary we too are called to bring Jesus into our world.  As we pray this day let us remember that we should be thankful for the gift of life and to never be afraid to show care and concern for others.  Remember that God does have a plan for each one of us.
Pat Schifini, OSU

Monday, September 5, 2016

Labor Day

Observed on the first Monday in September, Labor Day pays tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers. It was created by the labor movement in the late 19th century and became a federal holiday in 1894. Labor Day also symbolizes the end of summer for many and is celebrated with picnics, parades and sports events.  As we mark the end of the lazy days of summer let us pause to thank our love God for all the gifts we have received.

God our Creator, we are the work of your hands.  Guide us in our work, that we may do it, not for self alone, but for the common good.  Make us alert to injustice, ready to stand in solidarity, that there may be dignity for all in labor and in labor's reward.  Grant this through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Saint Teresa of Calcutta

Today in Rome, on the nineteenth anniversary of her death, Pope Francis canonized Mother Teresa of Calcutta.  For much of her life, she was known as the "living saint."  Born, in modern day Skopje, Macedonia as AnjezĂ« Gonxhe Bojaxhiu, in 1910 she became known as the “saint of the gutters.”   She entered the Sisters of Loreto and went to India to educate the girls of wealthy parents.  On a train ride from Calcutta to Darjeeling, she received her inspiration to establish the Missionaries of Charity dedicated to the service and needs of the poor.  On August 17, 1948, she dressed for the first time in a white, blue-bordered sari and entered the world of the poor.   Mother Teresa’s worldwide fame came as a result of her care for the poor, the sick and the dying of India.  Winner of countless awards and accolades she always sought to do small things with great love.

May we strive to honor her by doing the same.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Today, September 1st we celebrate the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, a day proclaimed by the Orthodox Church in 1989 and established in the Catholic Church by Pope Francis in 2015. The Holy Father encourages us to join him, and millions of other Christians around the world, to pray and “reaffirm our personal vocation to be stewards of creation, to thank God for the wonderful handiwork which he has entrusted to our care, and to implore his help for the protection of creation as well as his pardon for the sins committed against the world in which we live.”

This past Sunday, Pope Francis described the event as, “an opportunity to strengthen the common commitment to safeguard life, respecting the environment and nature.”  Let us pray this day and every day for the care of our world and for one another.

Pat Schifini, OSU