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Wheeee! Some thoughts on the Trinity

PlaylandParkway 136x93When I was a little girl, my father, loved to take us to a local amusement park, Playland. This old fashioned park was shown to the world in the Tom Hanks movie, Big. I can easily recall the excitement of seeing the Playland Parkway sign, letting us know that we were almost there! Wheeee! Let the fun begin!

When I was about 11 years old we headed there one day, to meet up with another family who had a daughter about my age. She wanted to go on a ride that terrified me. And no – I had never been on it, but just the thought of it sent me reeling! It was called the Round Up at that time. It iis the one where you stand up and hold on, but when the ride gets going, centrifugal force holds you in place. My dad liked this ride, but I would never go on it with him. However, not wanting to act like a baby in front of another kid, I Continue reading

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Pentecost

I blogged about Pentecost at my personal blog today20120513144615!Icon-Pentecost. It felt so personal that I am leaving it there, but inviting you to come over if you wish!

Blessings of Pentecost to one and all! God has done great things!

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Ascension Thursday

ascension-of-christ-large“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

This is Jesus’ command in today’s Gospel for Ascension Thursday. For some of us, this is a Holy Day; other dioceses have moved the feast to Sunday.

Whether or not this is a Holy Day depending on our address, Jesus’ words are an imperative. GO! How do we make disciples? It starts by how we live. As Pope Francis has indicated over and over again, in the model of Christ, we must evangelize with our lives. GO!

This past Sunday I was out of town and attended a particularly joyless Continue reading

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Expectation and Encounter

Emmaus-Road_LR-239x300Father Pat’s homily on Saturday at 4pm got me thinking about something that happened to me a long time ago. Our expectations often limit our encounters with Christ in all those we meet.

During a particularly broken period of my life, I did not think that God had left me, but I felt very hopeless. In that state, I tried to focus on God alone, pushing others away. A week in a monastery was booked – the only place I believed I would find God.

The chill of the chapel and its silence caused me to either shiver or sleep, neither way seemed an effective way of talking to God. Mistakes were being made by the minute – thinking that God was only in the monastery and that I needed to do all the talking. (A problem that continues to dog me!) I felt more angry and frustrated than ever.

The next day, another guest showed up in the visitors quarters, a lovely woman, whose face I can’t quite remember. She was 50? 60? 40? Honestly, I can’t recall; it is all so fuzzy. We ate our meal in relative silence, but as we prepared after-dinner tea, she asked what brought me to the monastery.

blahDid I let her know! A massive flow of words and tears followed. Everything from my return to the church a few years earlier, my mother’s death, my search for God in the monastery, and my possible vocation to said monastery. How I went on for hour or more! Her presence, her compassion, her listening heart remain in my memory while all else has faded.

For the next day or two, she and I spent a lot of time talking. OK, I talked a lot, but she listened well, and when she did talk, I felt my heart burning within me.

Sound familiar? We have all been on that road, the road to Emmaus. That particular path is a path where, Continue reading

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Perspective by Karen DiPalma

Parishioner Karen DiPalma writes about being away from our community this Easter, and what she found.
easter_changes_everythingHoly Saturday led me to Bingham Maine, more than 400 miles from Clifton Park. The church was St Peter, a small parish in Central Maine. Up there, 3 parishes have merged into 1: Christ the King parish. The 3 are located in Madison, Skowhegan & Bingham. We are fortunate here in Saratoga County to have a plethora of parishes from which to choose. Up there, it was almost 30 miles to attend the Easter Vigil. Getting there early was not necessary, but I didn’t know what to expect. The Deacon greeted me as I entered Church, “Welcome!! We’re glad to have you here.” Being of Irish-Catholic descent, I promptly said my 3 wishes upon entering a new Church.

The priest spoke before the Mass, to tell us what to expect. I could see and hear his joy, as he said this parish had not had a Vigil Mass there since 2005. Then came the lighting of the Easter Fire & the candles for the attendees. I held that lit candle for 40 minutes. In the reflection of the glow, I could see the faces of about 100 other worshipers. Most were older than I. Their faces reflected the hardy stock from which they came, weathered faces, all smiling. I can honestly say that I was at peace that night. All worries and cares were forgotten. I truly felt blessed to be there. I guess you could say that I felt renewed, refreshed, very proud of my faith, my life. I guess I just needed that experience to put things into perspective.

-Karen DiPalma

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The Church of Mercy – a book by Pope Francis

church-of-mercy-bookcover“Let us ask ourselves today: are we open to God’s surprises”? Pope Francis, The Church of Mercy

Pope Francis’ name seems to be on the lips of many people. There are so many Catholics who are invigorated by his words and way of life. One of the things that is most surprising is the number of non-Catholic friends who bring him up, and generally with great regard. As I have said in other posts, he has not changed on iota, not one element of doctrine, but he has changed the way that people see the Church, and how people see the papacy.

The Church of Mercy, A Vision for the Church, by Pope Francis (Loyola Press, $16.95, 150pp.) brings together homilies, papers, and audiences from our beloved “Bishop of Rome.” This treasure trove of communiques from the first year of his papacy offers readers a chance to truly spend time with Francis’ as he presses on Continue reading

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We have a winner!

PrintJane Pelletier has won a copy of Dan Horan OFM’s book, The Last Words of Jesus, A Mediation on Love and Suffering. Congratulations Jane, I think that you will enjoy this book.

Thanks to all who read the post, and to all who commented. There will be more book reviews soon, and while not all reviews come with a chance to win a book, I hope that they help sort out some books new and old. I say old, because there are many fine books that I have not reviewed, that I hope to post about.

The next review will be right after Easter, and it is a real doozy! Just kidding, but it is on a very important book that I think many of you will want to read. Stay tuned. And no, I can’t tell you the title just yet, but you will all recognize the author. (Such mystery!) What books that you’ve read lately really hit you? What reviews might you like to read? Let me know in the comments!

Blessings to all as we enter Holy Week!

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The Work of Your Hands – Part Two

macalintal-work-of-your-handsWelcome to part two of my interview with Diana Macalintal, author of The Work of Your Hands. Part one, which includes a review of the book can be found here. Today we finish up the interview, learning a bit more about Diana and about her work as a professional liturgist and author of many prayers and more than one book… with more books to follow!

At the end of this post you will find a video that Diana refers to in her reply to the first question for today. I hope you will take a few minutes to watch it; the video left me quite teary eyed. The video, which includes a spoken version of one of her prayers, is truly moving.

I’m grateful to Diana for her generosity in replying to these questions with such joy and candor! Now, on to our interview…

Q. Did any prayers or blessings end up “on the cutting room floor?” And will there be more books to follow?

There were a lot! The editors at LitPress really wanted a collection that could be used for personal, individual prayer. Therefore, many of the prayers that were more focused on parish life or on more specific historical events didn’t make the cut. One of my favorite prayers, “Prayer after the Earthquake in Haiti,” is perhaps my most popular prayer. I was moved to write it almost immediately after the news broke on January 12, 2010, and I posted it on the Diocese of San Jose liturgy blog. Soon, I started seeing it everywhere on websites, parish bulletins, homilies, and other media (a young adult group in New Zealand made a video prayer montage of the text, and Louis Cantor, a music minister and composer in the United States set the prayer to music). It’s even been translated into Spanish and French. A year later, when an earthquake devastated Christchurch in New Zealand, the prayer found life again and was adapted by Christians in New Zealand. I was sad to not have it chosen for this collection—the title, The Work of Your Hands, comes from one of the lines in the Haiti prayer, but I’m hoping LitPress will invite me to provide another collection of prayers. I guess it all depends on how well this first collection does!

Q. What was the best part of publishing this volume? And the worst?

The best part was searching through all my files and putting all my prayers together. It was the first time I had them all collected in one place. There were prayers not just from the magazine but also from my own work throughout the years when I needed a special prayer for a particular liturgy or blessing as well as from some dabbling in poetry and poetic reflection. It was really encouraging to see so much of the original work I had done over the years and to feel proud of it. I think the next best thing was reading through the final proof before it went to print. I was so struck at how much Scripture flowed throughout the text and has influenced how I personally pray myself. I don’t think of myself as someone very adept with Scripture, but I can see how the liturgy has certainly imbued me with a scriptural spirit.

I’m not sure there’s a worst part to this adventure. I feel so blessed to have been invited to do this and to receive so much support and encouragement from friends and people I have admired for so long—great pray-ers whom I have tried to follow! I guess the worst part will be trying to follow it with another collection and wondering if I can provide something new and inspiring. For a procrastinator, it will certainly be a challenge!

Q. Your book is dedicated to your grandmother Irene, now of blessed memory. +Irene died the day that the book was published. Although your forward speaks beautifully about her, and her influence on your own life of prayer, would you be able to tell us something else about her?

The book officially reached the warehouse at LitPress at the end of January, and I think the first copy shipped the first Monday of February. My grandmother died early in the morning on Thursday, February 6. I think I was so close to her, even though I didn’t really get to spend much time with her as an adult, because she, with my aunts, raised me for the first two years of my life. When I was born in the Philippines, my parents only had a few months before their visas would expire that would allow them to immigrate to the United States. They would be the first of our family to make the move to the U.S. So about two months after I was born, my parents handed me to my grandmother and my mom’s sisters to raise me for the next two years in Manila while they began a new life in California. My Lola (Tagalog for “grandmother”) and my aunts, in many ways, were my first family. But I am so grateful for my parents who made that very difficult decision to leave their first-born because it gave our entire family over the next several decades the opportunity to live in the U.S. and become citizens of this amazing country.

Q. What’s the next big thing for you?

Locally, the Rite of Election is always a big and joyful event here in the Diocese of San Jose, and I’m getting the liturgies ready for that. After that, I’ll be travelling in mid-March (along with about 30,000 other Catholics!) to the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress in Anaheim. This year, I’ll be doing several things there: I’ve been commissioned to write the opening proclamation that will take place during the Friday opening prayer. Then I’ll be presiding and preaching at the Saturday Evening Prayer. Finally, I’ll lead a workshop on Sunday on prayer and will be using a lot of examples from my book.

Nick Wagner and Diana Macalintal

Nick Wagner and Diana Macalintal

In terms of publishing, Liturgical Press is currently editing a manuscript my husband, Nick Wagner, and I wrote late last year. The plan is to call it Joined by the Church, Sealed by a Blessing: Couples and Communities Called to Conversion Together. It’s a resource book for parishes to help them model their wedding preparation process after the principles of adult formation found the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. In it, we try to help parishes take seriously the church’s statement that the baptismal catechumenate is the model for all catechesis. Basically, we show parishes how to stop preparing couples for marriage and start preparing them for lifelong discipleship as married persons. Now that one was really, really difficult to write because my husband is so not a procrastinator! But God helped us get through the writing process, nonetheless. We’re looking forward to seeing it in print hopefully later this year or early 2015.

Thank you again to Diana Macalintal. Remember that you can order this book from Liturgical Press, getting either the ebook, the paperback, or the bundle which includes both. Or – order a subscription to Give Us This Day for yourself or as a gift, and receive a free copy of the book!

Here is the video of her prayer for the earthquake in Haiti, but this is made in response to the earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand.

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Lenten Resource Giveaway Winners

RoPaxman_We-have-a-winnerThanks to one and all who read the blogs and commented. We have our winners, who have been contacted.

If there was one goal to this series, it was to try to help clear the way for each of you to find a way to have a meaningful Lent.

In the meantime, I will be posting reflections here, and I welcome any of you to consider doing the same. If you are interested, please contact me about submissions.

I took the names from all the blog sites, for a particular post, and put them in a hat, book by book. They were drawn out, and the winners are as follows:

  • The Living Gospel – KB
  • Everyone’s Way of the Cross – Bridget
  • Change Our Hearts – Christine
  • Not By Bread Alone – Diane
  • The Ignatian Workout for Lent – Peg

Thank you again, one and all! Blessings to you for Lent!

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Resources for Lent – Book Reviews and Round Up Coming Soon

sign-for-lent-with-integrated-crossThis week I will post some reviews and a general round up of Lenten resources. Lent is only a couple of weeks away, and I am behind in posting this! You should still have time to order what you need, and you may even end up winning a copy of one of the books!

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Books that will be reviewed include, although not necessarily in this order:

Plus, I may have some other surprises for you! If you are not already a subscriber or follower of this blog, this may be a good time to become one. Also, you can follow the parish on Facebook to get your updates. Thank you!

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