Tag Archives: hope

at a time (and in a place) of your convenience

1 Sep

Cremisan prayer September 2, 2015

Tomorrow, Wednesday, September 2, the doors of St. Andrew the Apostle Church, Milford, Ohio, will open wide to anyone who would like to pray silently before the Blessed Sacrament for our family in Beit Jala (Bethlehem), West Bank, Palestine.

Exposition will begin at 10:00 a.m. and continue until 7:00 p.m. We invite you to join us in prayer at a time (and in a place) of your convenience.  The closing ceremony will be around 6:30 p.m. with a rosary, prayers to Our Lady of Palestine, and the hymn, “Jerusalem My Destiny.”

(The photo above pictures HOPE teacher/pilgrims at Mass in the Cremisan Valley of Beit Jala.)

is your hope tall enough?

6 Apr

This is the question that I asked on Easter Sunday: “Is the candle tall enough?

This is the question that I ask on Easter Monday: “Is my hope tall enough?”

Keep Hope Be Hope 2015

even though we are safe, we are affected

31 Jul

Our first question, of course, was, “Are you safe?”

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The HOPE (Holy Land Outreach for Peace Education) teachers from Cincinnati were skyping with their partner teachers in Palestine. Having stayed in their homes, having eaten at their tables, having learned the names of their children and their spouses, and having, here is the key, having looked into their eyes and seen in them Christian sisters and brothers, our Cincinnati teachers wanted to know, first above all, that their friends and colleagues were safe.

Much of the first half of the 90 minutes was about our questions about the war and the situation in Gaza: the news as we hear it, what is going on and why it is going on, what we might do to be of help to them.

The answer that came to our safety question was, “Even though we are safe, we are affected.”

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Teachers in Catholic schools 6,000 miles away from each other talked about what teachers (and parents) talk about:

“Did you start the children’s choir yet?” Response: “Yes, they will be singing for the opening Mass of the school year? We will skype the Mass, so that you can hear them.”

“Is your baby sleeping at night?” Response: “Yes, he is sleeping better, but his mother is not!”

“Here are some books we found about Palestinian life as a child [holding them up close to the camera]. Maybe we could read the same books together.” Response: “We know those books. We know that author. Yes, they are good.”

“What is the best way for my students to communicate with your students?” Response: “Skype. It is better for our students to speak with your students. They really want to make their English speaking skills better. They are very good at reading and writing English. But if they could talk to your students, that is much better for our students.” Teachers on both sides of the online face time agreed that the 7-hour time difference would be, “No problem!”

At the end of the session, we sang an “alle, alle, alle, lu-i-a” together. I offered a cyber-blessing over our friends in Beit Jala, Bethlehem and Beit Sahour, asking God to bless their students and their country, to which we all answered, Ameen,” making the sign of the cross at the same time “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” We shouted final greetings of, “We will do this again,” and “We will see each other again,” to which, with smiles, we volleyed back and forth, “Ensha’allah (God willing).”

And the camera was turned off.

keep hope and be hope

19 Apr

Keep hope within yourself.

Be hope for someone else.

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Be hope for someone else.

Keep hope within yourself.

 

hope gone / unexpected dawn

6 Apr

At our “Community Fare” luncheon today, I will interview in talk show fashion four women who have met and become friends through grief: each has buried her husband.

On this Fifth Sunday of Lent we will use the Raising of Lazarus, with hearty reference to his sisters Martha and Mary, as our conversation prompt. I have prepared eight questions, which I will ask one by one of our panel of believers to help them tell their faith story.

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1. How long have you been without your husband – and – how long was his dying process?

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2. When her brother Lazarus was dying, Martha called for Jesus, and when Lazarus had died, Martha ran to Jesus, all the time knowing that Jesus could change the situation. How did your “running to Jesus” make your situation change?

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3. One could guess that, once Lazarus was brought back to this life, Lazarus and his sisters lived life differently after that moment – and that each of them, Lazarus, Martha and Mary, would approach their own death differently. Since your experience of accompanying your husband in his passing, how do you live life differently now and how might you approach your own dying differently when it comes?

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4. Jesus instructed those near Lazarus to untie him and let him go free. How did you untie your husband and let him go free? How has your family and your parish helped to untie you and let you go free?

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5. Lazarus was brought back to this life. Would you want to bring your husband back?

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6. When Lazarus was resuscitated, Martha and Mary were reanimated. What are you doing now, since your husband’s death, that you never did when he was alive or that you would never have thought that you would have done or could have done?

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7. In our closing hymn at Mass today, “Jerusalem Our Destiny,” we sang in the fifth verse, “To the tombs I went to mourn the hope I thought was gone / Here among you I awoke to unexpected dawn.” Can you relate to that in any way?

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8. Martha put her faith into words. How do you finish the sentence that she began “I have come to believe that …?”

wrapped as for Christmas

22 Dec

Gratitude Hope Joy

Imagine that there are before you three gifts, wrapped as for Christmas. One has on it a large tag marked, “Gratitude.” Another is tagged, “Hope.” The other is, “Joy.”

Answer quickly, without analyzing.  Ready? Without thinking, answer, “Which of these gifts has God given to you this year: gratitude, hope or joy?”

On the back side of the gratitude tag the words “thank you” are written as many times as is possible. On the back of the joy tag are smile faces, and hands clapping and hands raised in prayer. Backing up hope is more hope and more hope and more hope.

Which gift has God given to you this year: gratitude, joy or hope?

And of  those three gifts from God: which one would you like to be able to give to someone else in your life? Gratitude? Joy? Hope?

A young man in our parish responded quickly that God had given him joy this year: a lovely wife and a new baby. And he did not hesitate in the least to say that he would like to give his mother the gift of hope.

 Gratitude, Hope, Joy. Which of the gifts has God given to you this year? Which one would you like to give to someone at Christmas?

Christ is risen. You too shall rise.

7 Apr

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Father Firas, now the parish priest of Jifna, formerly the parish priest of Aboud, sent this Easter greeting.

The Christian Palestinians of Aboud and Jifna – and throughout the entire West Bank – have a strong faith and an enduring hope, in spite of the trials and struggles that they have in their lives, due to “the situation,” that is, the military occupation of their land by the Israeli government.

They have much of which to be afraid, much at which to be alarmed, much by which to be troubled and much in which to weep. But they have Easter faith.

They know that Jesus is risen and that they too will rise.