Saturday, March 11, 2017

Open Ourselves to the Gifts of the Spirit

To the Gifts of the Holy Spirit

Pope Saint John Paul II

Submitted by: Sally Lynch, OFS


From a homily delivered by the Holy Father on the vigil of Pentecost,

to members of the Renewal in the Spirit (Charismatic Renewal)

about “Burning Bush” on May 29, 2004.

     “Veni, Creator Spiritus!”  On the Solemnity of Pentecost, the whole Church raises unanimously this song…The Mystical Body of Christ, spread throughout the world, invokes the Spirit from whom it receives life, the vital breath that animates its being and its action…

Thanks to the Charismatic Movement, many Christians, men and women, youths and adults, have rediscovered Pentecost as a living and present reality in their daily life.  I desire that the spirituality of Pentecost be spread in the Church, as a renewed thrust in prayer, holiness, communion and proclamation.  In this connection, I encourage the initiative called “Burning Bush”, promoted by Renewal in the Spirit.  It is about incessant adoration, day and night, before the Most Holy Sacrament; and invitation to the faithful “to return to the Cenacle” so that, united in the contemplation of the Eucharistic mystery, they intercede for the full unity of Christians and the conversion of sinners.  I sincerely desire that this initiative lead many to rediscover the gifts of the Spirit, which have their source in Pentecost…

    Dear brothers and sisters! This afternoon’s celebration reminds me of the memorable meeting with the ecclesial movements and new communities on the vigil of Pentecost six years ago.  It was an extraordinary manifestation of the unity of the Church, in the richness and variety of charisms, which the Holy Spirit infuses in abundance. I energetically repeat what I said on that occasion: The ecclesial movements and new communities are a “providential answer”, “inspired by the Holy Spirit” given the present need of the new evangelization, for which “mature Christian personalities” and “strong Christian communities” are needed.

     For this reason I also say to you: “Open yourselves with docility to the gifts of the Spirit!  Receive with gratitude and obedience the charisms that the Holy Spirit does not cease to offer! Do not forget that all the charisms are given for the common good, that is, for the benefit of the whole Church!”

     “Veni, Creator Spiritus!”  Among us, with raised hands, is praying the Virgin Mother of Christ and of the Church, Together with her, let us implore and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, light of truth, strength of authentic peace.  We do so with the words of the antiphon in the Magnificat… (For vespers of the eve of Pentecost): “Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of thy faithful, and enkindle in them the fire of thy love: you who, in the variety of human languages, gather people in one faith, Alleluia!”

“Sante Spiritus, Veni!”

Pax et bonum

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Franciscan Day with Sisters of Life

We held a shortened day of recollection Saturday for Secular Franciscans at St. Leo's in Hilton. Father Anthony Baetzold of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal lead the retreat, celebrating Mass, hearing confessions, and conducting a Benediction Holy Hour. And David Valenzuela, who had been with the Friars, but has felt called to serve outside the order (while still working with it when he can), led the music.

But the highlight of the day was the presence of two Sisters of Life.

Sister Mary Loretta Graffeo (above)

and Sister Veronica Sullivan shared the history of the order and their ministry.

They were created in 1991 by Cardinal John O'Connor in New York. They take the three traditional vows that women religious take - Poverty, Chastity, and Obedience - but also take a fourth vow: To protect and enhance the sacredness of human life. As such, they work with women in crisis pregnancies and individuals affected by abortion, run retreats, evangelize and work with the Respect Life in New York.

Sister Veronica said the ministry with pregnant women is not intended to humiliate them, but rather "to restore their God-given dignity."

The order is growing, There are now more than 100 sisters, and many others in formation. The average age of the sisters is 34. Yes, average age. Many older congregations don't even have a single member that young. But the growth of the Sisters of Life is typical of congregations that embrace Church traditions - including the wearing of a habit.

They were delightful, and full of joy. Indeed, as Sister Mary said, "There is no Sister of Life without joy."
Pax et bonum