Monday, February 27, 2012

PALANCA! BY LAY DIRECTOR, MARY ANN DOWD

Beloved Cursillistas:

A while ago we had put out to community a request to pray and do Palanca for our on-going journey, as well as encouraging community to share ideas for future endeavors.  We want to keep you posted.  As of this date we have received the following commitment to prayer and fasting from Lakewood Ultreya:
  • A Rosary Holy Hour
  • Novena to our Blessed Mother
  • A Saint Jude Novena
  • Fasting from milk or cream in coffee
  • Alms giving to the poor
We are all included in this prayer and sacrifice as we all continue our 4th day journey.  It is in the knowledge that others care for us in Christ that keeps us going (Ultreya!) God bless you all and keep you in HIS Loving Care.

Forever DeColores!
Mary Ann xo

Monday, February 20, 2012

A MESSAGE FROM MARY ANN DOWD, LAY DIRECTOR

Beloved Cursillistas:

Think, Pray, take responsibility for your Faith in Jesus Christ. Here are three short quotes which we can ponder in the Precious Presence of the Blessed Sacrament:

"To give the victory to the RIGHT, not bloody bullets, but----PEACEFUL BALLOTS only are necessary." (Abraham Lincoln)

"The rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but from the Hand of God" (John F. Kennedy)

"Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesars and to GOD the things that are GOD's" (Jesus Christ of Nazareth)

Forever DeColores!
Mary Ann xo

Sunday, February 19, 2012

MAKE A FRIEND, BE A FRIEND...

Something to think about regarding being a friend as discussed in The Word Among Us. Sounds like the author may be a cursillista!
"Jesus never intended the Christian life to be a solitary journey. On the contrary, we are stronger when we are surrounded and supported by brothers and sisters in the faith. Where the world tells us to be inde­pendent and self-reliant, Jesus tells us to lean on each other—and to let others lean on us. That’s probably why he sent his disciples to preach two by two. He knew they needed to balance each other out, with one helping the other in moments of weakness or tiredness. He knew they needed each other so that they would not fall to temptations of pride, or give up in the face of oppo­sition or hardship.
What about you? Do you have brothers and sisters to help bring you to Jesus? Are there people whom you would go out of your way to help in their faith? It’s always a good idea to reach out to one or two peo­ple in your parish and try to build a friendship with them based on your faith. God wants to give us compan­ions along the way. May we all be open to so generous a gift, the gift of one another."
Let's do it! Make a friend, be a friend, bring a friend to Christ.

Photo courtesy of http://mrg.bz/jpbDaj

Sunday, February 12, 2012

A MESSAGE FROM RONNIE MARTELLA, ASSISTANT LAY DIRECTOR

School of Leaders is Friday February 17, 2012 at Epiphany's Parish Hall (the Little White Church on the corner) starting at 8pm.

Trenton Cursillo has a solid base from which to grow; School of Leaders, Ultreyas, small groups (some of which have been in place for many, many years), our 40th anniversary coming up and new Cursillistas. It is clear that community loves God, each other and Cursillo. However, Sister Clara recently told me of something she heard the author Joyce Rupp say-“God loves you just the way you are. But He loves you to much to leave you there.” As we respond to God's call to not stay where we are, we have challenges ahead of us that will influence the way we need to plan and the decisions we make.

Trenton Cursillo needs to move forward, to reflect changes in community and circumstances and to respond to the urgings of the Holy Spirit. That movement was started at January School of Leaders when those gathered there brainstormed on the question-“What are the challenges Trenton Cursillo faces going forward?” The responses were gathered and put into 4 major categories by the group: who we are, what we do, how we do it and communication. There was a fourth category, one which seems to come up often and applies to each of the four listed above -we all need to make friends of others, then through prayer and discernment, decide who is ready to live a Cursillo.

The process of revising the plan will continue for the next 3 Schools. In February the group as a whole will look at the Mission Statement, the Vision Statement and Overview of the plan. Then we’ll break into sections and those groups will focus on the purpose and objectives of each section. And if time allows we will begin the work of determining recommendations for each section to carry out the plan.

This requires not just creating a plan but that community takes ownership of the creation, implementation and continuation of the goals and recommendations of the plan.

In order to get right to work and make the most of our time together, I am asking that you review the plan before February School of Leaders. Copies have been sent to the Ultreya leaders, those attending January’s School received a copy and the plan is on the website (right above the red "3 Minute Retreat"). See if you can get a copy from one of those sources.

I am excited about this process and more than that, I am looking forwarded to seeing the fruits of our labors as we respond to the call of Holy Spirit to leave where we are and move into the future!

Ultreya and Buen Camino,
Ronnie

Saturday, February 11, 2012

IN GOD WE TRUST by Deacon Tony Martucci

Two angels came to earth, disguised as poor, lost travelers. At the first home they visited, they found a very wealthy couple who refused to invite them in, and sent them away, cold, hungry and exhausted. Before leaving, one angel placed a valuable gift behind the bushes of the home. At the second home, was a very poor family with four children. With scarcely enough for their family, the couple invited the angels in, shared some of their food with them and let them rest in the warm bed for the night. The next morning before the two angels left, one angel put a huge hole in the foundation of the house.

The second angel was very puzzled by these actions of the first angel. “I don’t understand why you left a valuable treasure in the first house when the people there was so mean and spiteful and caused such a burden on the second family who gave all they had for us.”

“Everything is not always as it seems,” replied the first angel. “When the first couple discovers the treasure, they will be consumed by their greed. They will argue and fight and the treasure will fall to the ground and be destroyed. They will become even more miserable. The second couple will see the damaged foundation, and at first be distraught. When the husband goes to repair it he will find a treasure that has been buried there for a very long time, and the family will be able to live and be happy.”

In the Hebrew Testament, Job is upset and confused over his great losses. He thinks God is treating him unjustly. Job has led a life of piety, hasn’t done anything to deserve this kind of treatment, and blames God for his misery. He cannot see beyond the here and now.

How often in our own lives have we questioned God’s wisdom when it comes to pain and suffering? Why did God let this happen to me, or to us? God does not cause suffering; but God permits it in our human life.  It is a result of sin in the world, imperfection and evil that exists since the fall of Adam and Eve. There was no pain or suffering when God created the universe. That was not part of God’s plan. However, God gave us free will, and that allowed not only pain and suffering, but also the grace of God to give us consolation and comfort. Often it is through pain and suffering that we can come to a new understanding of God’s power and enter into a deeper relationship.

In chapter 9 of John’s Gospel we read: As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”Jesus answered, “Neither he nor his parents sinned; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him.” Then Christ healed the man of his blindness and many came to believe in Jesus and became his disciples.  It is often like that with us as well. In faith we can see the hand of God in our everyday life, whether it be in our joys or in our sorrows, in times of prosperity and in times of need.

Even now, as our country goes through crisis, we can see the hand of God. Bishop O’Connell warned  in his  letter regarding the Federal order to violate our consciences and provide health insurance that will pay for abortions and contraceptives is a violation of the First Amendment right to freedom of religion. Certainly this is not something that we would choose or want. How can God allow this?  Watch how God can bring good even out of this.

First, it has united many people within the Catholic community to want to do something to show their anger and displeasure. We can our congressional representatives and senators by mail, phone or email.

Second, it has brought other faiths alongside us to stand together against this violation of the first amendment right to religious freedom. It has unified us as did the terrible attack on September 11.

Third, it will show the power of God when the victory has been achieved.  For many years, our country has travelled a path that has taken us further and further from our democratic and religious roots. This is our wake-up call to turn back to God.

Let each of us here today resolve to pray and fast for the good of our nation and our world. Let us place our trust in Almighty God and live by the motto of our Great Nation: “IN GOD WE TRUST”.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

A NOTE FROM OUR LAY DIRECTOR, MARY ANN DOWD

Beloved Cursillistas,

Friday night at Diocesan Mass began (as Ronnie Martella says), our journey "back to the future".  It began with Father Ed once again reading the letter from the Bishop urging us, as Catholics, to speak up against what is an unconstitutional law forcing not only Catholics, but people of conscience everywhere, to conform to anti-life legislation. By going to the Right to Life website you can easily access your congressmen and make your feelings known. (Editor's Note: Here is a link to the United States Conference of Bishops to learn more about the HHS Mandate - http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/conscience-protection/index.cfm )

Secondly, Al Martella reminded us of the past influences on our environments and our attitudes (the Faith of our fathers and mothers and friends), which taught us to understand how BIG our God Is...how much HE loves us and how to respond to that Love (the witness can be found below)...and

Thirdly, the announcment was made of plans for an inter-collegiate cooperative Cursillo for our Diocesan colleges in the summer of 2013 (more information to come)

In order to respect the memory of those living and dead, who have helped us on our journey, be courageous and fight the  Good fight ahead of us, as well as prayerfully prepare for the collegiate Cursillos, we ask that all of us humble ourselves in prayer and palanca to God.  This palanca can be posted so all of our community can see it and be encouraged at our website where we have posted a prayer to St. Paul (the link is to the right column at the top of the page) which we can say as often as possible to beg God to help and strengthen us.  Be Courageous! (Palanca can be emailed to trentoncursillo@gmail.com.)


Forever Decolores!
Mary Ann xo

PRESENCE - A WITNESS

Note: This witness was given by Al Martella on February 3, 2012 at the Diocesan Mass. 

I wanted to make sure I would be an effective witness, so I went to the Cursillo National Website and found a document from the Diocese of Wichita on what a witness talk should be like. 

It said that the Witness Talk should not be:

a) It should not be sensational - no need for Cecil B. deMille productions in Ultreya witnessing.
b) It should not be a sermon, nor should it be instruction in Catholicism.
c) It should not be longer than five to ten minutes.
d) It should not be too emotional. Emotions will be affected by a simple, sincere talk.

It said the Witness Talk should be:

a) It should be your life lived out as a Christian - how the Lord is working through you.
b) It should be concrete and practical, carried out in the normal flow of your life.
c) It should be centered on and be about Christ, how you were His instrument.
d) It should be centered in the present, not something that happened six months or more ago.
e) It should be descriptive - explaining who, how and what of the details necessary to make your witness clear.
f) It should concentrate on one or two points, rather than a series of examples.
g) It should be as informal as if you are sharing it with a friend - you are!
h) A brief Scripture passage should be used that will tie into your witness

So, let's see if I can follow those suggestions. Let's start with a quote from scripture:

Ephesians 3:16-19

 

New Living Translation (NLT)

16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

WITNESS

Recently, The Holy Spirit has been especially present in my heart, helping me to think about relationships past and present, who have helped me grow closer to God.

At the beginning of the year, I was able to become a telecomputer and work full time from home. I have set up my office in what was my Mother’s Room, where she lived with Ronnie and I for 17 years. In one corner are mementoes of her faith – including a crucifix, a statue of our Sacred Heart and the Blessed Mother, a picture of Saint Anthony. It is in this room that I spend my day in the comfort of knowing the Trinity and the Blessed Mother are near. Throughout the day, I turn to them to ask for guidance in how to deal with work situations. This space has helped me be reminded how much God loves me.

You Tube also helped to remind me. Two weeks ago, I came across a wonderful clip. In 1997, Fred Rogers Accepted the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 24th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards. While most presenters would have talked about themselves, this is how Mr. Rogers spent his time:


“So many people have helped me come to this night. Some of you are here and some are far away. Some are even in heaven.  All of us have special ones who have loved us to being. Would you just take along with me ten seconds to think of the people who have helped you become who you are. Those who have cared about you and wanted what was best in life for you. Ten seconds of silence – I’ll watch the time” (Stop for ten seconds and think about those people.)

“Whomever you’ve been thinking about, how pleased they must be to know the difference you feel they have made.”

I try to stop often during the day to remember those people – and especially remember God, his son and the Holy Spirit for putting those people in my life. How blessed we are to be surrounded by so much love.

I’d like to end with a short prayer called Desert Waters by David Adam from his book, Tides and Seasons: Modern Prayers in Celtic Tradition. It touches me because it reminds me wherever we are, God is always present if we take the time to look.  

O Spring in the desert
O shelter from the heat
O light in the darkness
O guide for the feet
O joy in our sadness
O support for the weak
O Lord with us always
Your Presence we seek

Thursday, February 2, 2012

LET US PRAY TO OUR PATRON SAINT, ST. PAUL THE APOSTLE

As St. Paul wrote, the Spirit wants to enlighten our hearts so that we can know the length, depth, height, and breadth of God’s presence and his love (Ephesians 3:16-19).* Let us pray to our patron saint, St. Paul the Apostle. 

O glorious St. Paul, after persecuting the Church you became, by God's grace, Her most zealous Apostle. To carry the knowledge of Jesus, our Divine Savior, to the uttermost parts of the earth.
You joyfully endured prison, scourgings, stonings, and a shipwreck, as well as all manner of persecutions, culminating in the shedding of the last drop of your blood for Our Lord, Jesus Christ.
Obtain for us the grace to labor strenuously to bring the Faith to others and to accept any trials and tribulations that may come our way. Help us to be inspired by your Epistles and to partake of your indomitable love for Jesus, so that after we have finished our course we may join you in praising Him in heaven for all eternity.
Amen.
* Quote from the Word Among Us Website