Archive | May, 2014

bless Sharon John, Abby William and Christy Earl

31 May

On May 28 at our St. Andrew-St. Elizabeth Ann Seton School Mass for the 6th, 7th and 8th graders, we blessed three of our teachers who are making pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

blessing of teachers

We give you thanks for those who teach us along the way.

We give you thanks, O God, for those who teach us about you.

We give you thanks, O God, for those who teach us about right and wrong, and what it means to be Christian and what it means to be Catholic.

We give you thanks, O God, for these women who are spiritual mothers to all of their students.

And as they set out on their pilgrimage to the Holy Land, O God, we ask that you bless Sharon John, Abby William and Christy Earl. Keep them healthy. Keep them safe.

On this pilgrimage, O God, may they keep hope within themselves and be hope for someone else.

Draw them ever and ever more closer to yourself, O God, through your son, Jesus, and in the Holy Spirit. We give you praise now and forever. Amen.

is this a carnival, Palcido?

26 May

My friend, Father Placido, who cares for the shrine at Gethsemane, also took care of me when I tore my meniscus on my way to pay him a surprise visit last summer.

Placido runs a tight ship, boasting that he keeps careful watch over priests who come to say Mass at the Church of the Agony, for fear that they will not follow “the rules” and turn the Mass into “some sort of carnival.”

I am anxious to see him in June to tease him that I caught him on camera turning the visit of the Pope into a carnival. He is the one taking a picture! It will be fun to ask him about that moment …

geth 02

… and to ask him what he is saying to the Pope right after he took the photo, with both his hands raised in a questioning fashion.geth 03


lest we drown in the sea of our fears and anxieties

26 May

“But the Lord’s goodness does not dispense us from the need for vigilance before the Tempter, before sin, before the evil and the betrayal which can enter even into the religious and priestly life.  

We are all exposed to sin, to evil, to betrayal.  We are fully conscious of the disproportion between the grandeur of God’s call and of own littleness, between the sublimity of the mission and the reality of our human weakness. 

Yet the Lord in his great goodness and his infinite mercy always takes us by the hand lest we drown in the sea of our fears and anxieties.  He is ever at our side, he never abandons us.  And so, let us not be overwhelmed by fear or disheartened, but with courage and confidence let us press forward in our journey and in our mission.

 On Golgotha, when everything seemed bleak and all hope seemed pointless, only love proved stronger than death. The love of the mother and the beloved disciple made them stay at the foot of the cross, sharing in the pain of Jesus, to the very end.”

 Pope Francis, Gethsemane, May 26, 2014 (before planting an olive tree)

Geth 01

in her hands, before her eyes, and in her heart

26 May

“Here the Church was born, and was born to go forth.  From here she set out, with the broken bread in her hands, the wounds of Christ before her eyes, and the Spirit of love in her heart.”


“The Upper Room speaks to us of service, of Jesus giving the disciples an example by washing their feet.  Washing one another’s feet signifies welcoming, accepting, loving and serving one another.  It means serving the poor, the sick and the outcast.”

Pope Francis, Mass in the Cenacle, May 26, 2014

a Rabbi, a Muslim leader and the Pope went to Jerusalem

26 May

No, this is not the opening line of a joke.

It was the occasion of an embrace at the Western Wall, the holiest site for Jews in Jerusalem, just below the third holiest site in the world for Muslims.


The Pope, the rabbi and the Muslim leader, all friends back in Argentina, collapsed in a heartfelt embraced.

After the tears and words exchanged, Francis went to pray and to place his prayer in the crevice of the wall.


On the paper, in an envelope was the Lord’s prayer in his native Spanish.


hats off to the Spirit

26 May

6 Boayhs_CAAAMa7c“Let us ask the Spirit to prepare our hearts to encounter our brothers and sisters, so that we may overcome our differences rooted in political thinking, language, culture and religion. Let us ask him to anoint our whole being with the oil of his mercy, which heals the injuries caused by mistakes, misunderstandings and disputes. And let us ask him to send us forth, in humility and meekness, along the demanding but enriching path of seeking peace.”

Pope Francis, Mass in Amman, Jordan, May 24, 2014

too political?

25 May


With recent pilgrimage groups I have stopped the bus in Bethlehem to allow pilgrims “to be in touch with” the security barrier – separation wall. The last group wrote messages on the wall, along with laying their hands on the wall in prayer. Some might say that this is “too political” for people on a spiritual pilgrimage.

We remain in good company.



children on his heart in Bethlehem

25 May

 He needs to be accepted and protected.

They need to be welcomed and defended.

come to my house to pray!

25 May

God’s desire for peace and God’s moment toward peace shines brilliantly through Pope Francis. This is certainly a new “peace initiative.” This morning I am very proud to be a Catholic.

Many times many voices have invited the two sides to sit down and talk or to come together to negotiate. Never have I heard anyone invite them to do this!

BETHLEHEM – 25.05.2014

Manger Square : Invitation of the Pope to Abbas and Perez


prayer 01

In this, the birthplace of the Prince of Peace, I wish to invite you, President Mahmoud Abbas, together with President Shimon Peres, to join me in heartfelt prayer to God for the gift of peace. I offer my home in the Vatican as a place for this encounter of prayer.

prayer 02

All of us want peace. Many people build it day by day through small gestures and acts; many of them are suffering, yet patiently persevere in their efforts to be peacemakers. All of us – especially those placed at the service of their respective peoples – have the duty to become instruments and artisans of peace, especially by our prayers.

prayer 03

Building peace is difficult, but living without peace is a constant torment. The men and women of these lands, and of the entire world, all of them, ask us to bring before God their fervent hopes for peace.

on this corner, just around the corner

25 May

On this corner, right around the corner is Manger Square in Bethlehem. Pope Francis is arriving to celebrate Mass in the square. Right here the popemobile will make a right turn and enter Manger Square. Do you notice the blue “hotel” sign?

Pope and Manger Square Hotel

That hotel is Manger Square Hotel. That is where the HOPE teacher-pilgrims and I will stay for three nights, while we are in the Holy Land – on this corner, right around the corner from Manger Square and the Basilica of the Nativity, the birthplace of Jesus.

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