Archive | January, 2012

C-D at BU

31 Jan

During a Holy Land pilgrimage with a group of 50 archdiocesan priests Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan of New York visited Bethlehem University.

Catholic News Service reports the visit in their online “New York cardinal-designate: Bethlehem U. helps build culture of peace.”

While at the university, the priests met with students who told about their experiences as Palestinians.

“Opportunities for work in Palestine are very limited,” noted third-year accounting and business administration student Christina Jueejet, 20, of Beit Sahour, West Bank. “There are a lot of educated people, but not enough jobs. We can only look for jobs in a limited area, in the West Bank, not even in Jerusalem.”

Father Andrew Carrozza of St. Ann’s Parish in Yonkers, New York, said he was humbled listening to the students’ experiences and struggles to receive an education, including having to go through checkpoints and border crossings to get to school. It made the priests take stock of everything they had taken for granted during their own college studies, he said.

at station #5 and #12

23 Jan

In honor of our partnership with the Holy Land, our St. Andrew Welcome Connection – the committee of parishioners who welcome new parishioners – gives to every new member an olive wood rosary. In our partnership and in our prayer we hope to help the Christians in the Holy Land, so that they will know that they do not carry their cross all by themselves.

This message is with the rosary:

This rosary was made by the Rosary Makers of St. Andrew Parish using olivewood beads from the Holy Land.  The beads were shaped by Palestinian hands in and around Bethlehem.  The knots tied in the cord were made by the hands of a member of St. Andrew who lives in or around Milford.  This rosary is a symbol of the partnership between the Christians of St. Andrew Parish in Milford and the Christians of Annunciation Parish in Beit Jala, Palestine.

We hope that every time you use this rosary, you say a prayer for our Christian brothers and sisters in Beit Jala.

“We notice around your church the Stations of the Cross…You are at station number 12 – you are being crucified with Christ.  We are at station number 5 – we can be Simon of Cyrene for you to help you carry your cross” (from a homily given by Father Rob Waller at Annunciation Church, Beit Jala, Palestine, July 18, 2005).

“Stay with me”

15 Jan

The “Invitation to Communion” has previously been the topic of a homily in church and a post on this blog. But its beauty astounded us again today, as we heard an extraordinary scripture passage at Mass. 

“Behold, the Lamb of God.”

“What are you looking for?”

“Where do you stay?

“Come, and you will see.” 

As Jesus walks by, there is an acclamation by John the Baptist: “Behold the Lamb of God.” Two of John’s disciples follow Jesus.  One is Andrew. The other is not named, which leaves room for you to be the other disciple.  

There is an acclamation: “Behold the Lamb of God.” Something stirs within them. They approach Jesus. He asks them a question. They ask their own, “Where do you stay?” In response Jesus offers them an invitation – “Come …” – and gives them a promise – “… and you will see.”  And they stay with him that day.  

Acclamation, question, invitation, promise – and communion. 

At Mass we hear the acclamation, “Behold the Lamb of God.”  When you hear that, something stirs within you. As you walk up the aisle toward the altar for communion, Jesus asks you what you are looking for. You approach him with your question or your wonderment, whatever question or wonderment you have about yourself or about life. Jesus gives you an invitation, “Come. Come to me in the consecrated bread and wine.” And he makes you a promise, “You will see.” You will get an answer. It might not be clear now. It may take some time. But he does promise, “Stay with me. You will see. There will come the time when all your questions are answered, when you will wonder no more. Stay with me. You will see.” Then the most extraordinary of things happens. We receive communion, or better, we are received into communion.  

He asks us to stay with him, and he asks to stay with us. It is communion – “holy” communion.

the “we” will mean something different

11 Jan

At the end of our first two-hour session, with our minds on our June 2012 Pilgrimage of Hope to the Holy Land, we sang “The Servant Song.” We will sing this hymn often, as we continue to prepare “for” pilgrimage together in June, and as we remember that we are already “on” pilgrimage together right now. 

When we arrive in the Holy Land, we will sing this hymn with our brother and sister Christians in Jordan, Israel and Palestine. Imagine the feel of the words, as we alternate verses between the Americans and the Arabs. The “we” will mean something different to us then. The hymn will take on new meaning.   

Will you let me be your servant?
Let me be as Christ to you.
Pray that I may have the grace,
To let you be my servant, too.

We are pilgrims on a journey,
We are brothers on the road.
We are here to help each other,
Walk the mile and bear the load.

I will hold the Christ light for you,
In the night-time of your fear.
I will hold my hand out to you,
Speak the peace you long to hear.

I will weep when you are weeping,
When you laugh I’ll laugh with you.
I will share your joy and sorrow,
Till we’ve seen this journey through.

When we sing to God in heaven,
We shall find such harmony.
Born of all we’ve known together,
Of Christ’s love and agony.

Will you let me be your servant?
Let me be as Christ to you.
Pray that I may have the grace,
To let you be my servant, too.

to Our Lady of Palestine

10 Jan

The preparations for the next HOPE (Holy Land Outreach to Palestinian Educators) pilgrimage have begun. Twenty-two of us, more than half of them teachers themselves, will visit and interact with teachers and administrators in the Latin Patriarchate schools in Jordan, Israel and Palestine.

This pilgrimage is the third step in what is hoped will be a lasting relationship. American teachers have been to the Holy Land. Holy Land teachers have been to America. With this pilgrimage, the partnership in learning continues: another group of American teachers will be on their way to the Holy Land in June 2012.

At the very beginning of our preparation, we prayed a “Prayer to Our Lady of Palestine.”

O Mary Immaculate,
gracious Queen of Heaven and of Earth,
behold us prostrate before thy exalted throne.
Full of confidence in thy goodness
and in thy boundless power,
we beseech thee to turn a pitying glance upon Palestine,
which more than any other country belongs to thee,
since thou hast graced it with thy birth,
thy virtues and thy sorrows,
and from there hast given the Redeemer to the world.

Remember that there especially
thou wert constituted our tender Mother,
the dispenser of graces.
Watch, therefore, with special protection
over thy native country,
scatter from it the shades of error,
for it was there the Sun of Eternal Justice shone.

Bring about the speedy fulfillment of the promise,
which issued from the lips of Thy Divine Son,
that there should be one fold and one Shepherd.

Obtain for us all that we may serve the Lord
in sanctity and justice during the days of our life,
so that, by the merits of Jesus
and with thy motherly aid,
we may pass at last from this earthly Jerusalem
to the splendors of the heavenly one.

Amen.