Holy Spirit Novena

248We have entered a powerful time of prayer. For nearly 20 years I have taken this time between Ascension and Pentecost to make a novena to the Holy Spirit.

There is no formula to follow, this is your prayer, your conversation with God. What do you need to pray for? This is a time to ask for wisdom, courage, grace, consolation, and healing from the Holy Spirit, but once again, this is your conversation with God, so what do you need to seek from the coming of of Holy Spirit?

Every year, I like to make my daily novena and to listen to Veni Sancte Spiritus from Taize, which I include here. I love the repetitive chant, seeking the coming of the Holy Spirit, the sound of which typically brings me to a place of silence and peace.

Whatever your prayer to the coming of the Holy Spirit might be, find the words of your heart, which may simply be silent waiting, and offer them to God these nine days. Come Holy Spirit, come.

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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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Mercy matters

imagesmer·cy ˈmərsē/ noun noun: mercy; plural noun: mercies1.compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm. “the boy was screaming and begging for mercy”
synonyms: leniency, clemency, compassion, grace, pity, charity, forgiveness, forbearance, quarter, humanity…

Mercy. It is not a new word, but we seem to hear more of it lately. I feel as if I do, anyway.

Mercy matters. Mercy is at the heart of Christ. God if rich in mercy – go read the definition next to the photo again. There is so much evidence for Continue reading

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Christ is Risen!

resΧριστὸς ἀνέστη! Ἀληθῶς ἀνέστη! Khristós Anésti! Alithós Anésti!
Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen! Every blessing to one and all. Alleluia!

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