Tuesday, July 21, 2020

LIVING THE CURSILLO METHOD DURING THE PANDEMIC by BILL GRIPPO, FORMER LAY DIRECTOR

DeColores,

This morning I had the wonderful weekly opportunity to share with Al Martella and a regular group of men who have been on a conference call weekly since the Pandemic began.  It is truly enriching.

Today Al asked each of us to share how we are coping with the pandemic personally!  The responses were heartfelt, emotional, personal and prayerful.

I was the last speaker, the clean up “batter” so to speak.

I based my thoughts on the Tripod (Piety, Study and Action)

My first step in coping with this is to continue and strengthen my own prayer life… I attend 2 weekday Masses and one on Sunday and made myself useful by assisting the Church team in organizing the return to Church effort.  I start my day with morning prayer, and do a good amount of spiritual reading.  I try to go out of the house and sit in a park, by the complex pool or outside of Dunkin Donuts (cannot give up that first Cup!!)  I am reading the biography of John Paul 2!  It is 1000 pages and I read it as spiritual reading and Study.  His life is amazing, inspirational and gives me strength and guidance!  That first step of Piety is an absolute in handling this pandemic for me personally.

The next step for me is the discipline and a study of my own physical and mental health.  I have made a significant effort to improve my health at my Baby Boomer age.  I made the commitment to lose some excess pounds and lost 10 to date. I have visited my physician for a check up and she was really happy with the results of the visit. I have committed along with my daily reading and spiritual growth to do some form of exercise “daily”, walking a measured distance or swimming and some light weight lifting.  The benefit of exercise is extremely helpful for your mental and emotional state during this very stressful time in our lives.  I find that if I watch too much TV, especially during the day it encourages depression to occur over this pandemic.  Shut or limit the TV!!  Use the sun that God gave us to energize yourself, the Vitamin D is significant in building up the immune system in your body and it is “free”!!


The final point I made in my witness is Action!  I take action with my family, checking in with them and preparing meals for the more local siblings!  I find being present, social distancing with a backyard picnic or just sitting around a fire pit are simple ways to promote family life.  I also find that preparing and delivering a bowl of Italian meatballs lifts everyone’s spirits very high.

I have also remained very active in my community without meeting with people in large groups.  I attend zoom meetings, raise money for the food bank, continue to develop plans for a YMCA in my community and I keep my finger in the life of our school system.  Reaching out to others in whatever way you can will take your thoughts off yourself and put your energy with others!

 

So let’s close, thanking God daily for all of our gifts and family.  Let’s continue our daily prayer and study, while taking care of our health to the best of our ability!

 

DeColores and as Bishop Sheen would close: GOD LOVE YOU!!!!


Saturday, July 18, 2020

WATCH JULY SCHOOL OF LEADERS


You can watch the July 17th
School of Leaders
on YouTube at this link.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

REFLECTION ON THE THIRTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME by DEACON TONY MARTUCCI


Some of you may recall that from December 2012 to December 2014, I underwent a series of medical issues that threatened to take me. I was homebound for much of that time with nursing care from my wife and visiting nurses. I spent weeks in the hospital. Many of you prayed for me and helped lift my burden. During those difficult times, I turned to God and had some of my closest moments to Christ. I knew I was not alone. My greatest concern was for my wife who had to take care of me and who worried about me. She needed our prayers as well.


For most of that time I was unable to attend Mass. As a daily communicant I missed being there and receiving the Eucharist. I watched on TV but it isn’t the same. For the past three months we all experienced the loss of Mass and communion. Somehow, it was worse for me this time than when I was sick. I know Christ is still present in our lives, but I longed so much to return to Mass and communion.


Our entire society has also changed during this pandemic. Uncertainty surrounds us. There are protests, violence, anxiety and fear. Some people are still out of work; some are still confined to their homes for fear of contracting the virus.


We would all agree we are living in very trying times. Uncertainty is all around us. We wear masks, and avoid crowds. We have changed many of our habits. Even here in Church, we are distanced from each other, and are warned to avoid congregating after Mass. It is as though we are living in a different world and we wonder if things will ever get back to what we called NORMAL.  


Only one thing remains constant. Jesus is with us, guiding and protecting us. In the Gospel today He offers to help us carry our burdens and troubles. “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me.” When I think of a yoke, I remember the yoke borne by oxen and mules, heavy wooden objects placed on their shoulders. I shrink from taking something like that upon myself. But it is Christ’s yoke, and He promises to help bear OUR burdens. His yoke is easy, and He helps us carry our burdens. What a great deal He offers us!
As I was undergoing my surgeries and recoveries, I knew that Christ was helping me to bear them. Your prayers and the love and the care of my wife made Christ real and alive during that crisis.


Today, as I look around at the mess that the world is in, I remember what I went through in my illness and I recall what helped me get through it. I continue to trust in Christ and you can, too. God is in control and we, Catholic Christians can turn to Him in prayer and trust.


Last week, Vice–president Pence said, “Even when things don’t seem like they’re going the way we expected, they’re going the way [God] expected.” He continued, “If we will but hold fast to Him, we’ll see our way through these challenging times, we will restore our nation’s health, we will renew our freedom, and we will inspire people across this land with our witness of the love and compassion and strength that comes in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      
“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”


Wednesday, June 17, 2020

THE 30th NATIONAL ENCOUNTER IS GOING VIRTUAL!

National Cursillo announces "We are excited to invite you to join us for a 2020 Virtual National Encounter on July 24 and 25! We are committed to having the Cursillo Charism at the heart of our encounter. This was true for our regular in-person encounter and will hold true for our Virtual National Encounter as well! Let’s Make History Together! Live-stream Masses, Virtual Fellowship, and Breakout Sessions. Log in from your cell phone, PC, Tablet etc.

YOU CAN DOWNLOAD THE AGENDA FOR THE ENCOUNTER AT THIS LINK.

The registration fee is $50 per person if the Encounter Registration Form is received by July 5, 2020. Registration fee increases to $70.00 per person on July 6, 2020. We are unable to guarantee attendance after July 18, 2020

MORE DETAILS AND REGISTRATION FORMS CAN BE FOUND AT THIS LINK.

Please continue to pray for the success of the First Virtual National Encounter. 

BTW, The National Encounter is asking for palanca. It can be sent to cursillo.ncc.palanca@gmail.com

Saturday, May 16, 2020

THOUGHTS ON SCHOOL OF LEADERS - MAY 15, 2020 by RONNIE MARTELLA

What a joy it was to see all those who were able to join us on the Zoom call last evening for School of Leaders.    

Each time we gather, no matter the medium, we are given a chance to learn and grow from each other.   We open ourselves to what God has for us, wants to tell us and give us though our time with each other and the talks.   Each talk touches on similar but different aspects of the theme for the time.  And the Holy Spirit does what the Spirit does and brings the talks together.

But in addition to that is the chance for those in community to respond to the talks, ask questions, seek clarification, and deepen the discussion with their own experiences and resources that have discovered, and last night was no different. 

Last night, the idea of praying our most well known prayers; The Our Father, The Hail Mary and others, using different words was presented.  What a wonderful way to break open a prayer, to really reflect on what the prayer means.  We also were told about The Chosen, the story of Jesus, told through the lives of those closest to Him.   At this link you can see something of a preview of the show.   

https://studios.vidangel.com/the-chosen

Thanks to Barbara Kittle, from the Diocese of Newark, for opening me up to these wonderful resources.

At the most recent Pennington ultreya, held by conference call, several of us shared different resources we’ve discovered or that have been recommended to us. As the question on the card for Piety asks:  what spiritual aids have been of help to you? And we shared on how these resources have been spiritual aids to us.  We were reminded that we are blessed to have so many options and chances to access that we can sometimes feel overwhelmed, but we need to discern which of the resources are meant for us, through which ones does God speak to us?   Good advice to follow.

Kathy, Robert and Bob- great job, thanks again for the chance to connect, share and be with each other.

Peace,   Ronnie Martella


MARY by RONNIE MARTELLA

Prayer:        

All praise and glory are Yours, almighty Father:

You have given us Your Son Jesus to save us from sin.

We praise You for choosing Mary to be His Mother,  for teaching her to believe Your message, for helping her accept Your holy will.

Strengthen us by Your Holy Spirit to be like Mary:

To ponder Your word in our hearts,

To obey Your will,      To love Your Son,     To sing Your praises every day.

Father, we praise You through Jesus Christ, Your Son in the love of Your Spirit, for ever and ever.

Amen 

When Robert asked me to do a talk on Mary, two songs came immediately to mind:  I kept them in the back of my mind while I looked at the Catechism and other sources to prepare the talk- but the two songs stayed with me, coming to the front of my mind and on to my lips at different times.   I wondered why but I continued reading and preparing the paper….

The first source I went to was the Catechism.  For me the Catechism is something that at first glance is kind of cut and dry but when I read and really take in what is there I discover so much more.    

And the catechism tells us:

To be sure, there are as many paths of prayer as there are persons who pray, but it is the same Spirit acting in all and with all.   It is in the communion of the Holy Spirit that Christian prayer is prayer in the Church.

MARY, OUR MOTHER AND OUR FREEDOM by FATHER EDWARD BLANCHETT

Opening Prayer: 

O Mary, You shine continuously on our journey as a sign of hope. We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick, who, at the foot of the cross, were united with Jesus’ suffering, and persevered in your faith. 

Help us, Mother of Divine Love, to conform ourselves to the will of the Father and as at Cana in Galilee, to do what Jesus tells us. For he took upon himself our suffering, and burdened himself with our sorrows to bring us, through the cross, to the joy of the Resurrection. 

We fly to your protection, O Holy Mother of God; Do not despise our petitions in our necessities, but deliver us always from every danger, O Glorious and Blessed Virgin, through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 

May has historically been known as “the month of Mary”. We pay special devotions to her: we begin the month with a crowning of her image, there is special emphasis on the Marian devotion of the Rosary, there are litanies offered on her behalf, many times we end the month with – a personal favorite of mine – the feast of the Visitation. The question to ask is: Why? Why is May the month of Mary? 

According to many sources, one reason was because in ancient Greece (remember that the Church went to Greece in its earliest apostolic missions) May was the month dedicated to the Greek god Artemis (or Diana in Roman mythology), the goddess of fertility. Rededicating the month to the Mother of God was a way the early Christians looked to "baptize" pagan culture. But there can be so much more to it, and particularly to us during this time of the coronavirus pandemic, a time that is seen as a restriction to many of our freedoms in this “sheltered in place” environment; even as we slowly begin to open our churches (during the Memorial of the Apparition of Our Lady at Fatima, which was a very interesting coincidence), you won’t be able to even  step into a church building without following a lot of rules that could be seen as obstacles to your freedom. The reason I called this an “interesting coincidence” is because there is a close relationship to the view of freedom and our devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

So, to answer my first question “Why is Mary the Month of Mary”, I’m going to start with another question: What is Freedom? – there’s society’s definition, of which I looked up in the dictionary so that there’s no mistake: 

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

SCHOOL OF LEADERS COMING TO YOUR HOME! A NOTE FROM KATHY TUCKER, LAY DIRECTOR

Hello my Beloved Brothers and Sisters,

I hope everyone is healthy and safe.

We have a wonderful opportunity to have our SOL on Zoom! (Thank you Bob Morris.) We will have SOL on May 15, 2020 Friday night 7-9PM. You will be receiving an email on how to sign on your computer, iPad or cell phone.

We are hoping that we will be able to have our Quarterly Mass if we are freed from our humble abodes.

Thank you for your faith and prayers. We need to stay prayerful at this time. Continue to reach out to your fellow cursillestas!

Anyone need any shopping or medication please reach out to your families, friends and neighbors.

Any questions or issues please contact me directly.

Prayers and peace of mind to all!

Your Humble Servant, Kathy
908-415-6006

Sunday, March 29, 2020

KEEPERS by MARY ANN DOWD

Once upon a time not very long ago.  In fact, at the start of this story; there lived a loving and very wise KING.  This King created a Utopian city which he called the greatest city in all the land. The King put a group of rulers in charge of this city to rule it wisely and lovingly just as he had imagined.  The King told these rulers his magnificent dream for his kingdom. The King called these rulers Keepers and He entrusted them with the power to make his dream a reality in the greatest city in all the land.   He wanted a place where all people could live in peace and safety. He wanted his kingdom to be a place where his people could live and work and play and be happy.. The King knew his perfect plan would ensure that above all else, his people would be happy, content and at peace with each other..


The people who lived in the city had all anyone could wish for to live a happy life. .  Happiness was the most precious gift the King wanted his people to have and so he made the city beautiful with parks and streams and plenty of places for children and adults to play and have picnics and go fishing and boating.  The trees were of every color and size and some bloomed all year long.


In the winter the city was covered in a blanket of snow and the children and grown ups could skate on the ponds and ride their sleds down the hills and make snowballs and snowmen and women.  Many people worked with their hands. They built the buildings where people worked and lived. They built parks and playgrounds and museums and theaters. Some people used their minds to imagine the best way to make their city prosperous and healthy and even more beautiful for all the people.  Some stayed home to raise the children to be responsible, loving and caring adults who would honor the King and his vision and carry on the good work he had started. The citizens of the greatest city in all the land were grateful and they hoped they could always live this way thanks to their good King.


The King smiled when he saw how well his dream was coming together.  He left the city for sometime but promised to return and charged the Keepers to continue all the good work he had started.


After a few years some of the Keepers began to grow weary with simply obeying the instructions the King had given them.They began to think that they had a better plan, or, at least more ideas to make the city more of what they might envision.  After all, they reasoned, don’t we have ideas just as good as the Kings’? We can make people happy too, can’t we? What if we give them everything they ask for? So slowly the wise vision of the King began to give way to the Keepers vision for the city.  The Keepers began to turn on each other because each one wanted the love and respect of the people to show that they were the greatest in the greatest city in all the land.


So one by one they began to promise the people anything and everything they said would make them happy.  With each new promise came more power and respect for the Keeper until it became clear that no request was too outlandish or preposterous.  Some of the people’s requests forgot about being kind or loving or even moral. Soon all the dreams of the King were forgotten. The people, instead of becoming happier, became increasingly  unhappy. The beauty of the city faded into disrepair as each one argued over the best way to keep it beautiful. The joy and happiness that the people felt when they were all working and playing together became a bitter struggle to have things their own way.  The people began to realize they could go to the Keepers to get what they wanted and the Keepers knew by promising them what they wanted they could have the honor and power that was always only meant for the King.


Very soon the most beautiful city in all the land became the ugliest.  The town was covered in vines and dirt and garbage because everyone was arguing about who should clean it up so no one ever did. Even the air in the once great city became fouled and hard to breath.  The joy and happiness the people enjoyed when they were living in the plan of the King was nowhere to be seen. All the important and urgent matters of running the city were in the hands of those who were entrusted to Keep the peace.  Now, there was no peace, no joy, and sadly, no happiness.


One day the keepers received word that the King was coming back soon and was looking forward to seeing his beautiful city and all the happy people again.  The Keepers realized what they had done. We have completely abandoned the job the King left us here to do. We have gone our own way and our pride, selfishness and greed has led us to lead all the people astray..  What are we to do?  


The Keepers summoned all the people to the town square, now overgrown with weeds, the gazebo in the center of the park crumbling from disrepair.  They beseeched the people saying: “We have failed the King and we have failed all of you citizens of this great city. Please help us to restore our town to the way it was before.”  Many of the people remembered when everyone worked and played together thinking of others and lending a helping hand, when the city was beautiful and clean and the people were happy.  Now it would take a lot of hard work with everyone pulling together to make it look and feel the way it did before. The people agreed to help the Keepers but only if they could appoint new keepers from among themselves who had proven themselves to be kind and loving like the King.  The people found citizens who remembered the King and his dreams and had tried to live that way. These people, faithful to the King were appointed as new Keepers and put in charge of the greatest city in all the land. The Keepers reluctantly agreed and all of the Keepers and people began the work hoping that they would have enough time before the King returned.


This is where our story ends.  The citizens of the town came to their senses at last but was it too late?  They remembered joy and hope and happiness. They were never sure of exactly when the King would return but they were determined to do their best until He did.


.The End

Thursday, March 12, 2020

CURSILLO UPDATE FROM KATHY TUCKER, LAY DIRECTOR

My Beloved Brothers and Sisters,

I with the support of the Secretariat will be cancelling all Cursillo Events for the month of March, for the health and safety of our Cursillistas. This includes School of Leaders/Secretariat meetings.

I have cancelled Tinton Falls Ultreya for this week. My suggestion is to suspend current Ultreya meetings for this month.

Self containment for the COVID19 virus is recommended. Anyone with an immuno-compromised system should not gather in numbers. The numbers of people affected by the virus is growing at a more rapid pace than earlier predictions.

Father Ed states, ask the intercession of St. Damien of Molokai for us in this time of active uncertainty.

This is not to put fear in anyone's heart but to be prudent for health concerns.

Please disseminate this information to your Ultreyas members that do not receive e-mails.

As of March 11, 2020 the World Health Organization (WHO) has called the outbreak (COVID-19) a pandemic. The last time this happened was  2009 the WHO had declared the H1N1 Flu a pandemic.

Anyone with any concerns please call me directly or e-mail me.

God Bless Us All,
Your Humble Servant,
Kathy Tucker