Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Ordination of 12 Catholic Priests in Washington DC

As many of you know, on Saturday May 27, the Archdiocese of Washington DC ordained 12 new priests. Two of these guys, Fr. Greg Shaffer and Fr. Larry Swink, served at St. Martin's.

It was an incredibly moving experience to witness this ceremony and attend their first Masses. For those that are interested, I have included this 12 minute video stream that highlights some of the moments of the Mass.

On a personal note, Fr. Larry and Fr. Greg have been huge influences in my life. Without Fr. Greg's witness talk at the very first Men of Emmaus meeting, I don't know that I would have come this far this fast in my personal conversion. More on this later...

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

First Mass of Thanksgiving!!

"God is awesome!!" That was one of the first things I said at my first Mass of Thanksgiving this past Saturday evening after being ordained a priest of Jesus Christ earlier in the day. It was an AWESOME weekend!! God is very good! Here are some pictures from the first Mass (no pics from the Ordination online yet). I will try to write about the Ordination experience asap. Please pray for the 12 of us newly-ordained priests!

1) Before Mass
2) Residents of Gift of Peace / Missionaries of Charity
3) My friend, Katie, becomes Catholic by making her profession of faith
4) Offertory with my nieces and nephews
5) Full Church!
6) Eucharistic Procession in front of the youth
7) God is awesome!!

Friday, May 26, 2006

On the eve of Ordination

So, tomorrow, I get ordained a priest by the awesome Grace of God!! I'm sitting here at St. Francis, with the soundtrack from "The Mission" playing on my computer, trying to get all my last minute details taken care's busy! We had a GREAT week of retreat that ended Thursday, and it's been crazy ever since. But, good crazy. So, I'll finish up soon, and then what?

What does a man do the night before he becomes alter Christus (another Christ) in the world? The phone which has been off the hook since yesterday is silent (phew!). My family has gone back to their homes after we got together for Adoration, discussion about what tomorrow will be all about ("it's all about Jesus" my little nieces and nephews shouted out!), and dinner. One conversation awaits. I need to go see Him shortly.

I will spend at least an hour with Christ tonight in the chapel. Might be more because I probably won't be able to sleep (last night, it didn't happen...too excited). I will be with Him to whom I will give my life fully tomorrow. Kind of makes me think about the night before He handed over his life to the Father and all of us. Tonight might be a sort of Gethsemane.

But, I will try to rest in his peace. He has drawn me to his heart, his Sacred Heart, through the Immaculate Heart of his mother. It's hard to put in words what my own heart is experiencing now, this closely united to Christ. I will be changed sacramentally and ontologically tomorrow, but he has been changing me so much over the past several years. I am not worthy to be a priest of Jesus Christ; it's only because he has formed me and shaped me to be like Him that I can go forward tomorrow.

Now, with all of the hoopla and details, I have caught myself forgetting one of the biggest moments of all after the laying on of hands (that's the point at the Ordination when I become a priest): the Consecration of the bread and wine at my first Mass. For 14 years, it's been a dream. The Dream. To make Christ present on Earth. Truly present. Through my hands. Through my words. But, they will be His hands... His words. His body...his blood. Tomorrow, the Incredible happens. All because of Him who is Incredible. Awesome. Amazing. It's all about Him. "It's all about Jesus".

Monday, May 22, 2006

Divine Mercy Chaplet Novena

The History

Our Blessed Lord gave Sr. Faustina (for herself only initially) a Novena to His Mercy. She was to start it on Good Friday, that wonderful day when Christ first revealed how merciful and loving He was, by dying for us.

Sr. Faustina wrote in her diary that she began the Novena for the conversion of the whole world that all may recognise God's Mercy and that all souls may speak of His Goodness.

Jesus said: "I desire the confidence of My people. Let not even the weak and very sinful fear to approach Me, even if their sins be as numerous as all the sands of the earth they will be forgiven in the fathomless pit of My Mercy."

She received instructions on how to make this Novena "During these nine days I want you to lead souls to the Fount of My Mercy, in order that they may draw from it strength, refreshment and all the graces they need in the trials of their lives, especially at the hour of death. Each day you will lead a different group of souls and immerse them in the sea of My Mercy. Each day You will beseech the Father through My Bitter Passion for graces for these souls."

This Novena can be made at any time, but Our Lord especially wished that it be made beginning Good Friday in preparation for the Feast of His Mercy, which should be celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter. He told her that "The souls that will go to confession, in preparation, and communion on this day will obtain a complete remission of all sin and all punishment. .... On each day You will bring to My Heart a different group of souls and You will immerse them in this ocean of My Mercy, and I will bring all these souls into the House of My Father ... on each day you will beg My Father, on the strength of My Bitter Passion, for graces for these souls ."

Chaplet Using ROSARY beads:

Open each day with the Chaplet to the Divine Mercy then say the prayer for the day's intention:

The Lord's Prayer:

Our Father Who art in Heaven, Hallowed be Thy Name; Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven; Give us this day our daily bread; And Forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation
But deliver us from evil. Amen

Hail Mary:

Hail Mary full of Grace, the Lord is with Thee, Blessed art Thou among Women and Blessed is the Fruit of Thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen

Apostles' Creed:

I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

On starting and on the 4 large Rosary beads say:

Eternal Father, I offer You to Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your Dearly Beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.

On each of the 10 small Rosary beads say:

For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

Conclude by saying three times:

Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

Novena Prayers

First Day

"Today bring to me all mankind, especially all sinners, and immerse them in the ocean of my mercy. In this way you will console me in the bitter grief into which the loss of souls plunges me."

Most merciful Jesus, whose very nature it is to have compassion on us to forgive us, do not look upon our sins, but upon our trust which we place in Your infinite goodness. Receive us all into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart, and never let us escape from it. We beg this of You by Your love which unites You to the Father and the Holy Spirit. Eternal Father, turn Your Merciful gaze upon all mankind and especially upon poor sinners, all enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. For the sake of His Sorrowful Passion show us Your Mercy, that we may praise the infinite power of Your Mercy, forever and forever. Amen."

Second Day

"Today bring to me the souls of Priests and Religious and immerse them in my unfathomable mercy. It was they who gave me strength to endure my bitter passion. Through them, as though channels, my mercy flows out upon mankind."

Most Merciful Jesus, from whom comes all that is good, increase Your grace in men and women consecrated to Your service that they perform worthy works of mercy, and that all who see them may glorify the Father of Mercy who is in Heaven. Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the company of chosen ones in Your vineyard - upon the souls of Priests and Religious - and endow them with the strength of Your Blessing. For the Love of the Heart of Your Son in which they are enfolded, impart to them Your Power and Light, that they may be able to guide others in the way of salvation, and with one voice sing praise to Your boundless Mercy for ages without end. Amen

Third Day

"Today bring to me all devout and faithful souls and immerse them in the ocean of my mercy. These souls brought me consolation on the Way of the Cross. They were that drop of consolation in the midst of an ocean of bitterness."

Most Merciful Jesus, from the treasury of Your Mercy, You impart Your graces in great abundance to each and all. Receive us into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart and never let us escape from it. We beg this grace of You by that most wondrous love for the heavenly Father with which Your Heart burns so fiercely. Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon faithful souls, as upon the inheritance of Your Son. For the sake of His Sorrowful Passion grant them Your blessing and surround them with Your constant protection. Thus may they never fail in love or lose the treasure of the Holy Faith, but rather, with all the hosts of Angels and Saints, may they glorify Your boundless Mercy for endless ages. Amen

Fourth Day

"Today bring to me those who do not believe in God and those who do not yet know me. I was thinking also of them during my bitter passion, and their future zeal comforted my heart. Immerse them in the ocean of my mercy."

Most Compassionate Jesus, You are the Light of the whole world. Receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls of those who as yet do not believe in You or do not know You. Let the rays of Your Grace enlighten them that they, too, together with us, may extol Your wonderful Mercy, and do not let them escape from the abode which is Your Compassionate Heart. Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls who do not believe in Your Son, and of those who as yet do not know You, but who are enclosed in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. Draw them to the light of the Gospel. These souls do not know what great happiness it is to love You. Grant that they, too, may extol the generosity of Your Mercy for endless ages. Amen

Fifth Day

"Today bring to me the souls who have separated from my Church and immerse them in the ocean of my mercy. During my bitter passion they tore at my body and Heart, that is, my Church. As they return to unity with the Church, my wounds heal, and in this way they alleviate my passion."

Most Merciful Jesus, Goodness Itself, You do not refuse light to those who seek it of You. Receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls of those who have separated from Your Church. Draw them by Your Light into the unity of the Church, and do not let them escape from the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart; but bring it about that they, too, come to glorify the generosity of Your Mercy. Eternal Father, turn Your Merciful gaze upon the souls of those who are separated from Your Son's Church, especially those who have squandered Your Blessings and misused Your Graces by obstinately persisting in their errors. Do not look upon their errors, but upon the love of Your Own Son and upon His Bitter Passion, which He underwent for their sake, since they, too, are enclosed in His Most Compassionate Heart. Bring it about that they may glorify Your great Mercy for endless ages. Amen

Sixth Day

"Today bring to me the meek and humble souls and the souls of little children and immerse them in my mercy. These souls most closely resemble my Heart. They strengthened me during my bitter agony. I saw them as earthly angels, who will keep vigil at my altars. I pour out upon them whole torrents of grace. Only the humble souls is capable of receiving my grace. I favour humble souls with my confidence."

Most Merciful Jesus, You Yourself have said "Learn from Me for I am meek and humble of heart". Receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart all meek and humble souls and the souls of little children. These souls send all Heaven into ecstacy, and they are the Heavenly Father's favourites. They are a sweet-smelling bouquet before the Throne of God; God Himself takes delight in their fragrance. These souls have a permanent abode in Your Most Compassionate Heart, O Jesus, and they unceasingly sing out a hymn of love and mercy. Eternal Father, turn Your Merciful gaze upon meek and humble souls and upon the souls of little children, who are enfolded in the abode which is the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. These souls bear the closest resemblance to Your Son. Their fragrance rises from the earth and reaches Your very Throne. Father of Mercy and of all Goodness, I beg You by the love You bear these souls and by the delight You take in them. Bless the whole world, that all souls together may sing out the praises of Your Mercy for endless ages. Amen

Seventh Day

"Today bring to me the souls who especially venerate and glorify my mercy and immerse them in my mercy. These souls sorrowed most over my passion and entered most deeply into my spirit. They are living images of my compassionate heart. These souls will shine with a special brightness in the next life. Not one of them will go into the fire of hell. I shall particularly defend each one of them at the hour of death."

Most Merciful Jesus, whose Heart is Love Itself, receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls of those who particularly extol and venerate the greatness of Your Mercy. These souls are mighty with the very power of God Himself. In the midst of all afflictions and adversities they go forward confident of Your Mercy. These souls are united to Jesus and carry all mankind on their shoulders. These soulks will not be judged severely, but Your Mercy will embrace them as they depart from this life. Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls who glorify and venerate Your greatest atribute, that of Your fathomless Mercy, and who are enclosed in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. These souls are a living Gospel; their hands are full of deeds of mercy and their spirits, overflowing with joy, sing a canticle of mercy to You, O Most High! I beg You O God: show them Your Mercy according to the hope and trust they have placed in You. Let there be accomplished in them the Promise of Jesus, who said to them that during their life, but especially at the hour of death, the souls who will venerate this fathomless Mercy of His, He, Himself, will defend as His Glory. Amen

Eighth Day

"Today bring to me the souls who are detained in purgatory and immerse them in the abyss of my mercy. Let the torrents of my Blood cool down their scorching flames. All these souls are really loved by me. They are making retribution to my justice. It is in your power to bring them relief. Draw all indulgences from the treasury of my Church and offer them on their behalf. Oh, if you only knew the torments they suffer, you would continually offer for them the alms of the spirit and pay off their debt for my justice."

Most Merciful Jesus, You Yourself have said that You desire mercy; so I bring into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls in Purgatory, souls who are very dear to You, and yet, who must make retribution to Your justice. May the streams of Blood and Water which gushed forth from Your Heart put out the flames of Purgatory, that there, too, the power of Your mercy may be celebrated. Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls suffering in Purgatory, who are enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. I beg You, by the sorrowful Passion of Jesus Your Son, and by all the bitterness with which His most sacred Soul was flooded: Manifest Your mercy to the souls who are under Your just scrutiny. Look upon them in no other way but only through the Wounds of Jesus, Your dearly beloved Son; for we firmly believe that there is
no limit to Your goodness and compassion. Amen.

Ninth Day

"Today bring to me souls who have become lukewarm and immerse them in the abyss of my mercy. These souls wound my Heart most painfully. My souls suffered the most dreadful loathing in the Garden of Olives because of lukewarm souls. They were the reason I cried out: "Father, take this cup away from me, if it be Your will". For them the last hope of salvation is to run to my mercy."

Most Compassionate Jesus, You are Compassion Itself. I bring lukewarm souls into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart. In this fire of Your Pure Love let these tepid souls, who, like corpses, filled You with such deep loathing, be once again set aflame. O Most Compassionate Jesus, exercise the omnipotence of Your Mercy and draw them into the very ardour of Your Love; and bestow upon them the gift of Holy Love, for nothing is beyond Your power. Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon lukewarm souls who are nonetheless enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. Father of Mercy, I beg You by the bitter passion of Your Son and by His three-hour agony on the Cross, let them too, glorify the Abyss of Your Mercy. Amen

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Mothers: Heroes for Christ

1. New shepherd!! As you've probably heard, we have a new Archbishop of Washington, Bishop Donald Wuerl from Pittsburgh. He will be installed as Archbishop in June; Cardinal McCarrick will still ordain the twelve of us as priests next Saturday (5/27), and will continue to live in Washington. Thank you, your Eminence, for your fatherly care, heroic service, and heartfelt love! Welcome, Bishop Wuerl!

2. DC 'Hood game: this Friday, May 19, 7 pm, Watkins Mill HS, versus St John Neumann parish. Come and root on us priests and seminarians!!
This past Sunday, we honored all mothers, grandmothers, and godmothers for Mother's Day. As I said in my homily, all mothers who live out their vocation are heroes! They are heroes for Jesus Christ, for life, and for love. As Msgr. Ralph said in his comments at the end of Mass, we know we are loved by our mothers; this helps us to know we are loved by God.

Jesus says in Sunday's Gospel that he is the true vine, and we are the branches, and that only in him can we bear fruit. Apart from him we can do nothing! When we think about what it means to bear fruit, then, we know that it is only in Christ that we can do good in our lives. But, if it weren't for our mothers, we wouldn't be here at all! We wouldn't be on the vine of Christ. So, any fruit that we bear is in Christ through our mothers. We are the fruit of our mothers' wombs.

We look at the Blessed Mother, the Virgin Mary. The fruit of her womb is her Son, Jesus Christ. We say in the 'Hail Mary', "blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus". Mary shares in the fruit of Jesus' life which is Salvation, the greatest fruit the world has ever seen. We look at his Death and Resurrection, which is our Redemption; Mary shares in that. Our Redemption, then, is the fruit of her life, the fruit of her love. The Church gives Mary the title of "Co-Redeemer"; she shares in the fruit of her son's life.

My mother will share in whatever fruit I will bear in my life as a priest. Whatever good any of us does in our lives, it is through our mothers. It is fitting that they share in our fruit because of all the sacrifices they ahve made for us: at least nine months of physical sacrifices, and all that it takes to nurture, mold, and shape us to be the persons we are today. Our mothers are the primary formators on Earth of our personalities and characters.

We thank God for our mothers, grandmothers, and godmothers. If they are no longer with us, we pray for them and thank them for their heroic lives. We thank all mothers for their lives, and for giving us our lives. It is through them that we are on the vine of Christ, and bearing fruit in Him. Mothers bear the most and greatest fruit on His vine because all fruit is through them. They are true heroes for Christ, life, and love.

Monday, May 08, 2006

The Next Big Thing For MoE

What do you guys think about adding video to our blog. Let me give you some examples of content that I was thinking about:
  • Video tape our reading of the Gospel (panning around the room showing the guys listening to the Word).
  • A weekly interview with random guys (eg., 'Why do you come to Men of Emmaus meetings')
  • Announcements that we make prior to reading & reflecting on the Gospel.
NOTE - these are just some ideas.

What's the motivation for doing this? Help increase interest in the Men of Emmaus and make people more aware of things that are going on, even if they were unable to come to the meeting.

What do you guys think?

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