Please welcome and continue to pray
for the newest cursillistas from Trenton 126:

Dean Boturla
Philip Limeri
Juan Mantilla
Edwin Petruzzi
Brian Regan
Jeffrey Schutsky

Thursday, December 12, 2013

FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION: A THOUGHT FROM DAVID AND MARY ANN DOWD

Dear Friends,

In the aftermath of the death of Nelson Mandella so much of his life of service has been recounted to the world. Two quotes struck us in particular:

"Service is the rent you pay for space on Earth"

When asked how he endured his 27 years of imprisonment, he answered that "knowing that the movement for which I suffered would win in the end." This kept him going. Mandella fully expected to be put to death when he was arrested, yet he would not betray his cause.

How much are we willing to serve and sacrifice for our movement? To bring the cause of Christianity to our environment? Beloved Cursillistas, stay awake, we know not the day nor the hour.

Merry Christmas! David and Mary Ann Dowd xo xo

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A NOTE FROM FATHER JAY REGARDING AN IMPORTANT CONTRIBUTOR TO TRENTON CURSILLO HISTORY

I recently discovered that Mary Ellen Cortright, of Wagram, North Carolina, died from cancer last month, October 2013. Please remember Mary Ellen and her family in your prayers. Mary Ellen had suffered from various injuries and health issues going back to when she and her husband, Deacon Bill Cortright lived here in Matawan and later in Brick, NJ. The past year there in NC, Mary Ellen was in and out of the hospital, and St. Joseph's Rehab Center where Bill serves as chaplain, several times over the course of many months. She suffered from breast cancer, and during the time of chemo treatment afterwards, a severe infection developed in her foot and ankle, resulting in amputation. But, the cancer spread, and she died from cancer this past October.

BILL AND MARY ELLEN CORTRIGHT more than anyone else are the persons God used to bring Cursillo to the English speaking people in the Diocese of Trenton. Bill and Mary Ellen and their three children, Cheryl, Bill Jr. and Bob moved from the area and Diocese of Buffalo, NY, to Manalapan, St. Thomas More, parish. Using the marvelous tool of Group Reunion, Bill and Mary Ellen began the prayerful process that led eventually to Cursillo #1 and #2 at the former Divine Word Seminary in Bordentown. (Our first " home "...nostalgia reigns ! )

Bill was grouping with a wonderful and holy man, the late Don Roudebush of Matawan, in NYC where they both worked. Bill knew a nun, Sister Anne Campanella of St. Rose of Lima Parish in Freehold, who was taking guitar lessons from him, and who had also previously made a Cursillo weekend. Well, Sister Anne knew a priest, Father Henry Hemmerling, who at that time was associate pastor at St. Anthony's in Hightstown, and who was the confessor for the nuns at St. Rose of Lima. Sister Anne knew Henry had made a Cursillo, so she told him what was beginning to happen. Well, Father Henry had made his Cursillo a few years previously in in 19767 in Brooklyn, NY. And, Father Jay Bowden had lived the same weekend there at St. Paul's Cursillo Center on Humboldt St. in Brooklyn.

So, Bill & Mary Ellen, Don ( & maybe his wife Patty ??), Sr. Anne, Fathers Henry Hemmerling and Jay Bowden, together with Father Jim Lynch, who Bill knew from NYC or North Jersey, together with Paul Richard and Mary Doty were, to the best of Father Jay's recollection and belief, the Original Group Reunion members who went to Bishop George Ahr in Trenton to get his blessing -- and some seed funds -- to begin the English speaking Cursillo in the Diocese of Trenton. Trenton Cursillo #1 was held at the SVD Seminary in Bordentown May 15 -18, 1972 ( Pentecost Weekend ) and #2 was June 8 - 11, 1972. There were two more weekends in 1972, and Trenton #5 and #6 were in January and February 1973 - " The times, they are a-changin'" as the song says !

My point here is that MARY ELLEN CORTRIGHT, together with Bill (he was ordained deacon later, in 1977 ), were so very instrumental in the beginnings and the first several years of Trenton Cursillo ! She was a wonderful lady, apostle, and friend !

Regarding the beginning Group Reunion above - I don't think that Patty Roudebush, Don's lovely wife, was part of that Group Reunion, though she was part of the early days of Trenton Cursillo. Don & Paddy had lived their weekends in Kansas City prior to 1971; I remember -- pretty sure, unless it was just wishful thinking on my part -- Don telling me that the SACRAMENTS TALKS on their weekend were SEVEN hours total in length !!

Frank and Sally McGough, who I think perhaps had made Cursillo in Philadelphia (?) were in early leadership, as were Bill & Chris Grippo who either made #1 & 2 here, or perhaps had made their weekends in Newark Diocese -- I think that is the case, but I'm not sure. But they were not in the original group reunion, to the best of my knowledge and belief.

Bill's address is: 28900 Honeysuckle Court, Wagram, North Carolina 28396 Phone # ( 910) 369-3595 and his email address is: CortrightW@windstream.net

De Colores, Father Jay

Mary Ellen's Obituary can be found at this link.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

FOR YOUR ACTION

From the Parish family of St. Robert Bellarmine, 61 Georgia Road, Freehold, New Jersey, 07728

Third Annual "Christmas Carol Festival"

Pope Francis recently said “I see clearly that the thing the church needs most today is the ability to heal wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful; it needs nearness, proximity.”  Spending time with our church family gives us hope and lifts our spirits. One way we can come together to celebrate our common beliefs is to be a part of our third annual Christmas Carol Festival. Experience the joy of our holiday with an evening of singing favorite Christmas Carols and sharing precious memories.

Do you know someone who's been away from the Church? What a wonderful way to invite them to join you in a night of caroling and storytelling. Please feel free to personally invite them to this special evening, as we prepare for the great feast of Christ’s birth.

This year the Christmas Carol Festival will be held on Friday, December 6th. We will begin outdoors with the lighting of our new parish Christmas tree at 7:15 PM and will move indoors to the Parish Center for the remainder of the program, which should conclude at about 9:00 PM with fellowship and light refreshments.

Please R.S.V.P. at: comehome@strobert.com. 

Those of you who have been with us the last two years, know what a very special evening we shared. We would love to have you and your family join us again on December 6th!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

TRENTON 123 WOMEN'S WEEKEND

Below is the latest palanca list and weekend information:

Women’s Weekend  - Trenton 123
Theme:  Imitate Mary, Become Like Jesus and Live for the Triune God
November 21-24

Candidates/Sponsors:

Bayshore
Gail Sonatore / Janet Moscuzza

Forked River
Marilyn Stufano / Hilary/Gordon Reinold and Linda Capobianco

Lakewood/Brick
Soledad Fox / Mary Weis
Olivia Mata / Mary Weis
Ann-Marie Miragliotta / Jean Tierney

Pennington
Diane Negri / Kimberly Moore

Tinton Falls
Juliana Chemali / Pat Burke


Team:

Rectora: Marie Garrett (Beyond Cursillo/Total Security)
Assistant Rectora: Kathy Tucker (Piety)
Assistant Rectora in Training: Paddy Morris (Leaders)
Father Ed Blanchett: Spiritual Advisor
Sister Clara Schroeder: Spiritual Advisor

Auxiliaries: 
Peggy Fleming (Study)
Joanne Hendersen (Christianity in Action)
Jean Tierney (Action)

Liturgist: Pat Burke
Angel: Adelaide Sangiorgi  (Study of the Environments)
Prayer: Terri D’Andrea (Laity)
Palanca: Bonnie Carcionne (Ideals)

Weekend Information:

Opening - to welcome our candidates.  Thursday November 21 @ 7:30PM @ Stella Maris
Note: All Palanca must be brought to Stella Maris on Thursday night.

Saturday Holy Hours: Check with your ulteya for local plans

Closura -  to greet the new Babe Chicks!  Sunday November 24 @ 3PM @ Stella Maris
Note - a Closura is the closing of a weekend without a Mass.  Please attend Mass at your parish.

Monday, October 28, 2013

A NOTE FROM OUR LAY DIRECTOR by Ronnie Martella

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

Yesterday, at the Region 2 Encounter, I began my report on the Diocese of Trenton in this way- I told those present that we have a women's weekend scheduled for next month and that we are still praying for candidates but we will serve whoever the Lord sends to us!  And what servants our team members are.  Their yes to the Lord is whole hearted with no room for what they want-only room to serve. 

YES- we will have a women's weekend.  But there is room for more candidates! We heard a lot at the Region 2 Encounter about our "moveable square meter" that surrounds us and is our environment.  Juan Ruiz, Spanish language coordinator for National Cursillo, spoke to us about the Charism of the Movement and the moveable square meter and friendship were at the core of his talks.

I used the computer to find out how big a square meter is.  According to one place it is a square with sides of 39 inches, 39 inches.  That is not much bigger than a yardstick.  So for me the word moveable is the key.  When our son Arthur was 9 he played a little baseball with the local PAL league.  He learned more there about sportsmanship and enjoying the game than he did about how to play.  I went to pick him up after one practice and the coaches all came running toward me..."He's ok, he's ok" they kept saying.  Why wouldn't he be ok I was thinking -  then I saw him with a fat upper lip and two broken front teeth.  It seems that when the ball was popped up near Arthur, he looked up, and stuck out his glove.  But the ball wasn't headed for his glove, it was headed  for his mouth.  He never moved they told me and took one in the face.  

Last Friday the department I belong to at work had an off site that involved a picnic (yes it was cold and windy but we are hardy group!) and games.  One of them that I was in was the frisbee toss.  The team next to me and my partner were two guys I know, great guys, very competive.  During the warm-up (in every sense of the words) and practice one would toss it and the other would run to where it was going to be (not easy on a windy day).  But when that guy threw it back, the other guy would put out his arm and never really move.  The one who threw it was YELLING - "YOU HAVE TO MOVE!!!!"  Now I have to tell you, the guy who never really moved is a great soccer player!  He can run!  But this wasn't his game.  And maybe sometimes the "winds" of life blow things around, away from where we want them or think they should be- we adjust.  Remember the quote from Sir William Arthur Ward - 
"The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails."

Maybe this isn't the way you have thought about environments but like my co-worker (who started to move and they went on to do well) we can learn, we can try a new way and see where the Holy Spirit leads us!  

So you get it - we have to move.  The square meter that is our environment will go with us and when it/you come into contact with someone and say hello, smile, strike up a conversation or continue one with someone you already know, evangelization is happening.  We say "Make a friend, be a friend and bring that friend to CHRIST!"  Not necessarily to Cursillo.  But we must be open and aware for the time when Jesus says to us, "Now, this friend is ready to discover or to deepen their relationship with Me.  Please bring them along so I may gift them as I have gifted you."

More later on the Region 2 Encounter but for now, please get any applications you have to Lisa Klarmann at 18 Tomahawk Dr, Burlington, NJ 08016.   And pass this along to everyone you know in Cursillo especially those who do not have e-mail.

I know you are lifting up the teams and candidates with PALANCA - prayer and sacrifice wrapped up in love.  Let us lift them even higher!

De Colores,
Ronnie

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

SCHOOL of LEADERS SUMMARY by Rick Klarmann, Assistant Lay Director

You should have been there! Wow!

Two powerful talks by Sister Clara Schroeder and Mary Weiss.  I can honestly say that I came to School of Leaders exhausted but left refreshed. 

We started the evening off with prayer and meditation led by Pat Ivanko.  Then, after having small group reunion, we heard Sister Clara talk about Spiritual Direction. She had us with ‘spiritual direction being a journey where we walk with a director who encourages a closer walk with Christ’.  Many times over the past year or so, we have heard about our Fourth Day being a journey. Sister went on to note that a spiritual director helps the directee to recognize God in the everyday.  Routinely we are able to see His presence in the awesome, the sun peeking through the clouds, looking into the face of new born or a loved one, but we can get so busy that we miss Him in the everyday events of our lives.  

Sister Clara shared with us what spiritual direction had been in the past and how it had changed.  At one point spiritual direction was very directive.  The spiritual director would listen and then tell the directee what they needed to do, but that is no longer the normal practice for spiritual direction.  Today it is a journey where, the spiritual director listens to the directee and discerns question that will help the directee into a deeper relationship with God. Some of the world’s religions see spiritual direction in much the same way as Catholics do.  Spiritual directors helps others—individuals or groups to see God working in their lives even in the simplest of events. 

Sister Clara reminded us of the words of James asking, “What good is faith without works?”  Faith is evident in our prayer.  Our willingness to talk to God about everything—our hopes, our needs our fears, what needs to be changed in our lives. We seek answers to all of our questions in prayer and our answers can come through prayer. But once we have discerned what we need to do, we must then act on faith and be willing to follow Gods will for us.  

Spiritual directors walk with us on our journey toward a closer relationship with God, pointing out God’s presence when we are unable to see His working in our life.  And as a companion on that journey they can be that loving reminder of where we are and how far we have come, and can encourage us on. Sister Clara also reminded us, that when we seek a spiritual director to look for one who also seeks spiritual direction.  

Mary Weis then provided the talk on Leadership as a Vocation.  Initially, Mary spoke about characteristics often seen in a leader, e.g. assertive, bold, and confident.  Immediately, I thought about Presidents like Lincoln, and military leaders in our history.  Mary also mentioned other leaders like Steve Jobs.  But then she added other traits of a leader, such as, compassion, humility, charity and others.  Immediately, Mother Theresa came to mind.  Two very different sets of traits belonging to very different types of leaders; Mother Theresa was bold but her boldness came from her inner strength and not the power she wielded.

Mary shared that she had been both kinds of leaders.  She had authority over people and when she asked for something to be done, it was done.  But after making her Cursillo, her leadership style changed—assertiveness mixed with compassion and charity, boldness and confident mixed with humility.  She still wanted things done properly but she also wanted to know more about the people who were doing what she asked.  

Mary reminded us of St Francis who could have been a very powerful and prominent leader in the town of Assisi but chose another path.  Had he followed the path that was available to him, his name might have made one sentence in a paragraph in the history books.  However by leaving all that wealth and power behind he founded a religious order and is one of the most well-known Saints.

These few notes do not do the talks and follow up discussion justice.  We ended the evening with a meditational song and prayer led again by Pat Ivanko.  Between the two talks, Pat was installed as the new Liturgist for Trenton Cursillo replacing Robert Lauricella.  Please join me in welcoming Pat as out new Liturgist and thanking Robert for making the School of Leaders, and Masses joyous occasions.    

Before the evening ended Ronnie gave the news that several of the candidates for the upcoming women’s weekend have said that they could not attend.  She reminded the community that if we are going to have a weekend in November we need additional candidates and would be reaching out to the Ultreyas for any names they may have.  Although this was sobering news, it didn’t change the spirit of the evening.  Yes we have our work cut out for us, but God is with us.  He definitely was in the room with us at School of Leaders.  I can only say that you should have been there!  

God bless, Decolores 

Monday, October 21, 2013

FOR YOUR STUDY

John Toman has written a thoughtful article about voting. It can be found at http://allentownknights.org/

Monday, September 30, 2013

FOR YOUR PIETY

Marty Weisman writes: "The Parish family of St. Robert Bellarmine would like to invite the Cursillo community, to Pray and experience the "Rosary of Healing" for peace and healing in our own lives and throughout the world."

"The month of October is dedicated to the Holy Rosary. The Liturgy Committee and the Legion of Mary of the Parish Family of St. Robert Bellarmine, 61 Georgia Road, Freehold, New Jersey, 07728, invites you to come and Pray the Rosary of Healing for peace and healing in our own lives and around the world, at 7:00 pm in the Church.

Friday, October 4th - The Joyful Mysteries 
Friday, October 11th – The Luminous Mysteries 
Friday, October 18th – The Sorrowful Mysteries 
Friday, October 25th – The Glorious Mysteries 

The recitation of the Healing Rosary combines meditations, music and images and is truly inspirational. It is the perfect way to end a hectic week and begin a weekend. 

Pamphlets will be available in the gathering area of the Church with a guide to Praying the Rosary. Please feel free to take one or more to share with your family and friends. 

Recitation of the Rosary makes us rich in virtue and enables us to live a more serene, peace filled life. We look forward to Praying the Rosary together with our parish family."  

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

FROM SCHOOL OF LEADERS by Ronnie Martella, Lay Director

Spiritual food for the journey, that is what we need and what School of Leaders provides for us.   Rick opened School by asking us to reflect on this potential situation…someone asks this question “Why would I want to live a Cursillo weekend?”…what would we say?  While grouping we had a chance to share our answer with the others in our group, to clarify in our own mind how we would respond to the question, to get different perspectives and ideas on how we might engage someone in that discussion.  Food for thought, food for the journey.

Sister Simon spoke on prayer- a subject we are all familiar with and yet there is never a time we can’t grow in our prayer life, learn to see it in a different way.  Sister offered the words of   Julian of Norwich,  “The greatest honor we can give Almighty God is to live gladly because of the knowledge of his love.”   Sister then went on to stress some elements of prayer- take yourself where you are, be yourself in prayer and remember sometimes we need to use our will to give ourselves to God.  We need to STOP and give ourselves to God, to be content with the imperfect self.

Next was a talk about friendship from Janet Moscuzza.  She spoke the words we have heard many times, but never tire of hearing, never stop needing to hear…Jesus calls us and He sends us out to make disciples.  Janet noted that some will be friends and some will be acquaintances but all will be those that God has put in our path, our square meter that surrounds us, our environment and we are meant to reflect His love, caring, understanding and friendship.  After listening to Janet, I recommend to you the Book of Sirach, chapter 6 verses 5-17 for more thoughts on friendship.   Friendship is an art, an art we can learn and strengthen, as we move in our environment, being authentic witnesses to God’s presence in our lives.  It is often that witness that will draw others to us.  These people, with whom we find a commonality, are the people God puts in our lives to share our journey with Him and to Him.

The sharing after each talk is a wonderful way to reflect on what we have heard, get even more insights and deepen our relationship with God and our sisters and brothers in Christ.  We may have heard the same words before but each time we hear, share, listen-we are in a different place than the time before and we never know when God will give us what we need, what He has for us to do.  We never know if that conversation, talk, discussion will spark us, move us forward, lighten our load, open us up.  In the words of Dr. Seuss  “Oh The Places You’ll Go!”.   Let’s go together, let’s go with God.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION

“The greatest honor we can give Almighty God is to live gladly because of the knowledge of his love.” 

“...the goodness of God is the highest object of prayer and it reaches down to our lowest need.” 

― Julian of Norwich

FOR YOUR ACTION

Our brother and former Trenton Cursillo Lay Director, Len Capobianco writes asking for prayers and help for a new ministry.

He writes: 

“Oh that you would bless me indeed
and, enlarge my territory
that Your hand would be with me,
and, that you would keep me from evil…”
1 Chronicles 4:10 (The Prayer of Jabez)

About three years ago I received a gift which was a book, “The Prayer of Jabez-Breaking through to the Blessed Life”. The second line of the Prayer of Jabez, “and, enlarge my territory” has become part of my daily prayer life. That line refers to ministry as territory. In March of this year I decided to retire as I had suffered another heart attack and thought it was time to sit back and relax. I’ve been praying to our Lord to expand my ministry beyond my current involvement in Kenosis (Prison Ministry). As I ask in my prayer “Lord you know my limitations”. 

On July 24, I set out for Yardville State prison as it was the fourth Wednesday of the month and that is when Kenosis meets with the inmates who have made a Kenosis. That evening is like Ultreya for the Kenosis participants. As has been custom for the past several years I met with one of my Kenosis brothers (from the outside) at Mastoris restaurant for dinner before going into the prison for our 7pm reunion with the inmates. As I sat down at a table I noticed Rev. Ray DuBois having dinner. I went over to Rev. Ray to extend a Christian greeting, and we started to reminisce about the early days of Kairos’ beginning in the late seventies. Rev. Ray was instrumental in getting Kairos started in this state as he was a full time Chaplain in the NJ State Prison system. After exchanging pleasantries Rev. Ray told me that he was currently ministering to veterans suffering from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Rev. Ray is also a certified counselor who worked for Carrier Clinic for many years. Rev. Ray noted that it would be a wonderful thing if we could put together a “weekend” for the veterans that he is ministering to that are suffering from PTSD. I told Rev. Ray that I would think about that possibility and call him. After our meeting at Mastoris I went to Yardville and after waiting for the normal security check I was denied access as my name was not on the visitors list. That was the first time since 1981 that I was denied access. It was a simple administrative error, but I had traveled nearly forty miles for nothing. Or did I? My thought on the ride home was, Lord are you answering my prayer after three years, (“and enlarge my territory”). Last week after several weeks of prayer I called Rev. Ray and we set up a meeting which we had today. After sharing our thoughts we both determined that such a weekend would be possible, and it could fulfill a serious need in the veteran community. Was my purpose that evening to only meet Rev. Ray DuBois? 

During today’s meeting Rev. Ray said that the weekend would be very similar to a Gennesaret, as the TEAM would have to consist of several counselors who specialize in treating PTSD, along with other veterans who have experienced either, a Cursillo, Tres Dias, or Kairos/Kenosis, and several clergy. The candidates could be veterans that have served in the Viet Nam, Dessert Storm, Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts that are suffering from PTSD many of which have difficulty with “forgiveness” issues. As Christians, we know that all is possible through the Love of Christ. And so that would be the message/theme of the weekend, FORGIVENESS.

In order to get the weekend started we would need to find a location for a two or three day retreat (two or three days to be determined). A military base that could house the retreat might be the best environment. We would need minimal funding for supplies. Rev. Ray will recruit the PTSD counselors. I am requesting any Cursillo or Tres Dias community with past or present military service who would like to volunteer as part of the team contact me. Clergy does not have to have past military experience, although it would be helpful. Anyone who knows any contacts that may help in any of the requirements or would like to extend their help may contact me.

In closing, I thank you for any consideration you may extend to these needs.

Your Brother in Christ, Len Capobianco  

Len can be reached at (732) 608-7277 (home), (732) 600-1286 (cell) or Lencapo@AOL.com

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

FOR YOUR ACTION

Marie Garrett writes: "The Pope convokes a day of prayer and penance for peace in Syria." You can read about it HERE.


Patty Baylog alerts us that the Pope is asking for a day of prayer and fasting for peace throughout the world. Details are HERE

Monday, September 2, 2013

DIOCESAN MASS THIS FRIDAY NIGHT

A reminder that on this Friday, September 6, 2013 we have Diocesan Mass at St Anthony of Padua, Hightstown NJ @ 8pm. Directions can be found HERE. Please bring a friend!

A MESSAGE FROM LAY DIRECTOR, RONNIE MARTELLA

Make a friend, be a friend, bring that friend to Christ.  We have all heard that many times.  Have you ever noticed that the last line is bring that friend to Christ...to Christ, not to a Cursillo weekend.  But what about candidates for any weekend like the two we have scheduled for November and next February.

If we are a relationship with someone, we share about our life with them and they share theirs with us, if we are supportive and witness to our journey with the Lord, then when the time is right the natural outcome of that relationship might very well be that they are ready to live a Cursillo weekend.

So let us continue to establish relationships with others that will allow for us to share our life in Christ with others.  Invite that person to Ultreya, perhaps a friendship group reunion, Cursillo activity or Diocesan Mass.  And be aware and open for the time to be right for that person to live a Cursillo weekend.

If you have a relationship with someone who is ready, please get that filled out and signed application to your Ultreya leader so they can pass the application on to the Pre-Cursillo section and the information to the Cursillo section. 

As always -  we continue our palanca for the candidates and teams of the upcoming weekends.  Hoang Tran, who is the National Cursillo Service Administrator, said at the National Encounter "Palanca is prayer and sacrifice wrapped in love".  What better description is there of Cursillistas?  How do we continue to serve God; to reach out to others with the best news of the best reality...the Good News of God in our world;  to sacrifice our time, talent, energy?   Because, again from Hoang Tran, our common denominator is...LOVE as sisters and brothers in the Lord.

DeColores,
Ronnie

Monday, August 26, 2013

CALENDAR UPDATE

Please note the September 22 "Igniting the New Evangelization in Your Parish" with Ralph Martin has been cancelled.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

FOR YOUR STUDY

An announcement from The Diocese of Trenton's Ministry of Catechesis and Evangelization

Announcing an exciting event you won’t want to miss. Spend time immersed in Catholicism – attend the East Coast Catholic Family Conference on Saturday September 21st. 

  • Saturday offers a great slate of Catholic speakers culminating in the celebration of the Mass by Bishop David O'Connell.
2013 EAST COAST CATHOLIC FAMILY CONFERENCE – Saturday, September 21st
from 8:30 am - 6:00 pm 
@ Sun National Bank Center, 81 Hamilton Ave, Trenton, NJ 08611

“Follow Me: A Call to Authentic Discipleship” featuring:

  • Johnnette Benkovic
  • Ralph Martin
  • Dr. Ray Guarendi
Includes:
  • Mass
  • Confession
  • Inspiring Speakers
  • Vendors
  • Local Musicians: Martha’s House, Saint Mary’s Singers, Trenton Diocesan Choir and More!!
Get your tickets now at Sun National Bank Center: advance purchase $25; at the door $35; Special advanced Sale Prices for families and groups.

To purchase tickets: www.SunNationalBankCenter.com

For more information call: Domestic Church Media, 609.882.9357 or www.DomesticChurchMedia.com


Thursday, August 15, 2013

FOR YOUR STUDY

On the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, read the article  "Mary is with us in our struggles, Pope Francis teaches."  Click here to read the article.

For a chance to hear the talks from the National Encounter 2013, along with other information, go to the National Cursillo website at www.cursillo.org and click on CURSILLO® RESOURCE CENTER. 


Monday, August 5, 2013

BACK TO SCHOOL SOON! (SCHOOL OF LEADERS, THAT IS!)

As we start back to School of Leaders and have our next Diocesan Mass, we'd love to see community come together to pray, sing and share. 

Our teams have been selected and formation has begun for the next set of weekends.  If you have friends you believe are ready to live a Cursillo weekend ...make sure to get the completed and signed applications to Pre Cursillo section as soon as possible.  As always, the number of candidates will be the factor that determines whether the weekends go on.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

SCENES FROM THE NATIONAL ENCOUNTER by Ronnie Martella, Lay Director

Thursday night, picked up two Cursillistas from San Diego, Ramon and Marie, in Jersey where they were visiting family and took them over the bridges to Long Island.

The opening - our sisters and brothers in Christ from Brooklyn!  Two brothers charging-yes charging- down the side aisles and up the middle with colorful flags, then the entire group dancing down the aisles, on to the stage-enthusiasm, joy, music, life!

  • The talks each using the Charism of the Movement to emphasize or go deeper into it. 
  • Called to be salt and light, we must not only let Jesus into our hearts but we must let Him out of us to evangelize.  Awareness...what is your altar?  your desk, your ironing board-wherever you serve God-there is your altar.  
  • The charism - a gift from God to a person which must be discovered and accepted over and over, it is not for the one who receives it but is for the good of the community.  A gift, talent, grace, calling, vocation.
  • Cursillo - a movement, that through a method tries to achieve a reality that makes God's love real-the best news of the best reality.  Keeping things simple makes room for the Holy Spirit. 
  • John 1:46 - Come and See, we invite friends to make the journey with us.  
  • HULA HOOP! - our movable square meter-our environment (ask me about it!), When that comes into contact with others, they should see Christ in us-whether we know it or not. Everyone who has not lived a weekend is in Pre-Cursillo!  Ever think of it that way?!!! 
  • We are called to make a friend, be a friend and lead that friend to Christ-and maybe to Cursillo and maybe not.  Cursillo is meant not to satisfy a hunger for God, but to create a hunger for God, not to answer everything but to provoke questions, to urge candidates to go deeper.
  • School of Leaders helps us prepare to answer the mandate.  Do we turn into reality what God has asked?  School of Leaders-Why? What does it do? Create a hunger for God, nourish us to help others walk that extra mile to or for Christ.  Authentic school has personal liberty-each person chooses to hear the message and respond.  What can be expected from those at School of Leaders?  a reflection of the community, a capacity to be surprised and to hear new again the seemingly ordinary, to see through the lens of imagination, (Pay attention, Be astounded, Tell about it!). School is like diamonds, we are all at different levels of roughness and luster, we polish each other and we allow God's light to shine through-to reflect a life of grace.  We all called not to be volunteers but surrendered Christians. 
  • We are called not to do Christian things but to be Christian.  Mind-Heart-Will......Think-Feel-Act......Piety-Study-Action.
  • Many different people, changed to have one common denominator-LOVE OF CHRIST-LOVE OF COMMUNITY.  Palanca-prayer and sacrifice wrapped in love.   
  • Throughout the weekend-sharing with brothers and sisters from all around the country.  Prayer, song, worship, laughter.  Lots of ideas. 
Returned Ramon and Marie to Jersey.  We brought back a new brother and sister in Christ, two more links in that wonderful chain of people who make up this movement, who lift us and serve with us.  They returned to San Diego on Monday but we know we will keep in touch. 

We'd love to share what we experienced at the encounter, please feel free to contact Rick, Al or I.  And in the coming weeks you'll hear more at School of Leaders and when we gather.  In the meantime, all this and more can be found in the book "The Charism of the Movement".  Let me know if you'd like a copy.  There are other books on the National website as well that help us to understand the movement so well-why not take a look.  The monthly newsletter from National is also there with wonderful insights, why not take advantage of these wonderful resources. The link to the National Website is http://www.cursillo.org/.

I learned when I went to the Encounter in San Antonio that when Cursillistas greet each other with DeColores! they are actually answering a question-in Spanish Como esta?  How are you?  The answer, an enthusiastic DeColores!  full of God's grace, full of His colors.

For some wonderful pictures from the encounter, go to the National Cursillo website, on the home page look for National Encounter and click on slideshow...enjoy!

DeColores!

Monday, July 22, 2013

PIETY AND STUDY FOR MEN

Prayer is the greatest spiritual gift and blessing we possess. It is our loving response to God.

Make a loving response to God and participate on a Men's Retreat.

Loyola Retreat House, Morristown, New Jersey on September 6 to 8, 2013.

For information, please call Richard Andrejack at 732.892.4721

Thursday, July 18, 2013

"THE IMPORTANCE OF YOUR PRAYERS" by Deacon Tony Martucci

On Tuesday, July 8, I arrived at the hospital for a scheduled resection of my colon and possible hernia repair. The doctor thought he could do it laporascopically. At 7:30 AM, I was wheeled into the OR. The surgeons realized there were too much scar tissue and had to open me up. The surgery lasted four hours. The colon was connected and the hernia repaired. In the recovery room, I was alert and feeling very well. The surgeon was amazed. There were no rooms in ICU so I was taken to a private room that evening. Wednesday morning, the surgeon came to see me and was very happy to see how well I was recuperating. He had thought of sending me home that weekend.

Wednesday afternoon, I began to crash. My heart rate skyrocketed, my blood pressure dropped to about 64/50 and my kidneys began to fail. Specialists were called in and I was transferred to ICU. When my family came to see me on Thursday, they were shocked to see me laboring to breathe. Pat told the people at church, and put me on the prayer chains. The cardiologist, pulmonologist, and nephrologists all applied their arts and skills, while my friends and family prayed for my recovery.

Friday afternoon my pastor, Fr. Richard, came to visit me, prayed with me and anointed me with the Sacrament of the Sick. As he left, another priest friend of mine, Fr. Jay, passed him in the hall. Fr. Jay prayed with me, and then Msgr. Ken prayed with me. I was still unable to breathe on my own, or even with oxygen. I needed a bi-pap to help me breathe.

Saturday I began to improve and was able to breathe with the help of oxygen. On Sunday morning, Fr. Paul stopped in to see me and to offer his blessing. The nephrologists ran into my room almost doing cartwheels. With a huge smile on my face telling me that he saved my life. My kidneys were functioning again. That afternoon I was able to breathe on my own and to sit up. I was sent to the step-down unit where I had begun on Tuesday night.

When the surgeon came in to see me on Monday, July 15, he was very surprised at the recovery that he called remarkable. I was sitting up, breathing on my own and ready to go home. I asked if I might go home on Wednesday or Thursday and he said it was possible. When the surgeon came to visit on Tuesday morning, he had a huge smile on his face. “All your functions are normal. Would you like to go home today?” I left the hospital on Tuesday night at 6 PM, thanks to the skill of the physicians, the prayers of my friends and the grace of God.

Thank you for your prayers. God bless you.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

JUNE SCHOOL OF LEADERS by RICK KLARMANN, ASSISTANT LAY DIRECTOR

We started the evening off with song and we shared in small groups; in addition to Piety, Study and Action, everyone was asked to think about and discuss, “How do I want my life to be different in the next year?  How do I want my Cursillo community to be different in the next year?  We will continue to ask these questions in the months to come.  To make our Cursillo all that it can be, we need your thoughts and ideas, we need to know how we can work together to make Trenton Cursillo all that it can be and should be.  During the day of recollection at St. Denis, the topic of prayer and meditation was suggested and will be presented in September.  Other talks include:

·         Sponsorship
·         Spiritual Direction and the Role of the Spiritual Advisor
·         Studying the Environment around me
·         Developing the Mind of Christ
·         Leadership
Since our Cursillo weekend we have all been on a journey, a personal El Camino de Santiago de Compostela.  If we were to actually walk the El Camino, we would be very care to take only what we need to get from one stop to the next.  Backpacks are small and don’t hold much stuff; definitely not 30 days’ worth of supplies or clothing.  So if you were planning to walk the El Camino, you wouldn’t bring things you might need but would only carry things that you would need.  So to, our Fourth Day journey goes from one Mass to the next, one School of Leaders to the next, one Ultreya to the next, one group reunion to the next.  And like all of the pilgrims who walk the El Camino, we rely on the Grace of God but also one another for strength and encouragement. 
* * *
After grouping, Deacon Tony presented the Doctrinal Talk from Matthews Gospel, when Jesus asked His disciples, “Who do you say that I am?”  He started off by answering the question, “Who is Jesus?”  That Jesus was the Son of God; He was a man without ceasing to be God; and that we are the cause and the reason for Jesus’ death and resurrection.  Also, Tony pointed out that God revealed Himself throughout history in small doses—Abraham, Isaac, Jacob—but in Jesus, God is revealed completely.
Then Tony took us down memory lane by asking a question from the Baltimore Catechism, “Why did God make me (us)?”  To which everyone replied, “To know Him, love Him and serve Him in this life and be happy with Him in the next.”
Tony gave us excellent examples of knowing someone.  He pointed out that what he knew about Pat was very different than what he discovered as he came to know her personally.  In another example he asked the question, “Do you know Frank Sinatra?”  I believe everyone nodded that we did.  Then Tony pointed out that we knew about Frank Sinatra, but his mother and father KNEW him.  They went out on dates together, they shared a friendship, they KNEW Frank Sinatra.  Relationship was the difference for Tony’s parents in knowing Frank Sinatra. 
Tony tied relationship with the reason God made us together.  Our knowledge of Jesus turns to love as our relationship with Him grows.  Then as our love grows, our desire to serve Him grows.  Tony shared that growing up he knew a lot about Jesus, but after making his Cursillo be began to really KNOW Jesus as Savior, friend, and Lord.  
The Techniques talk was provided by Mary Ann Dowd.  She answered the question, “Who am I?”  She pointed out that of the two this was the more difficult question.  Mary Ann pointed out that some of her initial responses were wife, mother, friend, and more, but as she thought more about the question, she looked at the question reflecting on the question from the Baltimore Catechism, “Who made me?”  Why?  Mary Ann noted that family taught her the way to live. 
Mary Ann noted that on her Cursillo weekend, the Ideals talk had a huge impact on her life. Questions asked during the talk, “Where do you spend your money?  Where do you spend your time?” She asked a direct question, “If Christians do not act, who will?”
She ended with two important descriptions herself in answer to the question, “Who am I?”  She stated, “I am a rough draft” and “I am a child of the King.” Those are excellent descriptions of each of us walking the journey of life. 
Sincere thanks to Deacon Tony and Mary Ann

* * *
Friday began the Fortnight for Freedom. 
The U.S. bishops have called for a Fortnight for Freedom, a two-week period of prayer and action, to address many current challenges to religious liberty, including the August 1, 2013 deadline for religious organizations to comply with the HHS mandate, Supreme Court rulings that could attempt to redefine marriage in June, and religious liberty concerns in areas such as immigration and humanitarian services.

Formation Day for all in Catechetical Ministry
Fall Leadership Day on August 22, 2013 from 0900-1430, at Saint William the Abbot Parish, Howell, NJ

Thursday, June 20, 2013

FOR YOUR STUDY AND ACTION

For Your Study: WFJS Radio and the Domestic Church Media Foundation is offering the 2013 East Coast Catholic Family Conference.  The theme is Follow Me: A Call to Authentic Discipleship. The date is Saturday, September 21. Speakers include Ralph Martin and others. The Conference will conclude with Mass. Full details can be found here.

For Your Action: The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act  (HR1797) actually passed the House Wednesday by a vote of 228 – 196 .The bill prohibits abortions after 20 weeks, unless the mother’s life is in danger,  because medical science knows that an unborn baby can experience pain at least as early as 20 weeks. The bill  now  goes to the Senate where the fight will be a lot tougher. Only a strong public outcry will force even a vote on the bill. Please write your Senator to express support for the bill? Click here to get an address for New Jersey's Senators. Click here to read a summary of the act.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

THE ST. MARTHA'S GOLF OUTING IS SET! ALL ARE WELCOME!

On Monday August 19 at Woodlake Country Club in Lakewood, NJ, we will tee off on our third annual day of golf, prizes, fun and a chance to win a new car. A dinner will follow at St. Martha's Parish Magee Hall.

If you're not a golfer, you can still help us raise money for the parish by attending the dinner, sponsoring a hole or donating a gift basket to be auctioned off at the dinner.

Single golfers price is $125 and $480 for a foursome registered together. The day includes a round of golf, lunch, halfway house beverage cart with soda and beer, and the dinner afterwards.

Prices are reduced this year for hole sponsorships! Just $150 for corporate/business, $125 for personal sponsorships, and $100 for In Memoriam sponsorships.

Registration for the day of golf is 11:30 a.m. with driving range access. Shotgun start at 1 p.m. Dinner is at 6:30 pm.

Dinner only tickets are just $20.

Tickets available and registration forms available at St. Martha's, 3800 Herbertsville Rd., Point Pleasant, NJ.

All proceeds go directly to the parish to further all the good works of St. Martha Parish.

This event is sponsored by the Knights of Columbus Council 7926. Need more information? Call Kevin Shea at 732-899-4891.

Monday, June 3, 2013

SCHOOL OF LEADERS RECAP by RICK KLARMANN, ASSISTANT LAY DIRECTOR

May School of Leaders

We started the evening off with song and we shared in small groups; What talents or gifts do I possess and how are they manifested?. 

Sister Clara presented a Doctrinal Talk about the Holy Spirit. She opened with some of the attributes of the Holy Spirit, that He is our Counselor, Teacher, Advocate, Comforter, and more.  Sister also shared insights into the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit as well as the fruits of the gifts.  She spoke about the gifts of Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety and Fear of the Lord.  She explained about that through wisdom we come to value the things we believe through faith, and Understanding allows us to grasp, as least to a limited degree the truth about what we believe.  The gift of Counsel allows us to judge how best to act and Fortitude, which is more than courage, gives us the strength to follow through with the actions suggested by counsel. In the gift of Knowledge the Holy Spirit helps us to judge things according to the truth that is revealed to us by God and helps discern the purpose of our lives.  In Piety we become willing to worship and serve the Lord, but this service is performed not out of a sense of duty but out of love for the Lord.  Finally, the gift of Fear of the Lord is not being afraid of God, but awe.  Fear of the Lord confirms the virtue of hope as we are filled with the Grace to love and serve Him.

Sister Clara went on to explain that from the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit there are Twelve Fruits of the Holy Spirit. It was interesting that from Seven Gifts the Holy Spirit produces Twelve Fruits.  The Fruits of the Holy Spirit are which are Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faith,, Long suffering, Mildness, Modesty, Self-control and Chastity.  It was interesting that Sister Clara's description of the Gifts and Fruits of the Holy Spirit, matched very well with last months discussion about the DNA of the Cursillista. 

Throughout the evening, the theme about gifts and talents was repeated.  Which led directly to the open dialogue Ronnie had with the community touching on first being a friend then sponsoring.  Ronnie asked the community to think about sponsoring candidates as an Ultreya in order share some of the responsibilities.  Ronnie then asked the community to think about team selection for the upcoming weekends. Finally she asked the community about sharing their talents as heads of sections. or consider being responsible for sending and receiving Palanca from other communities from around the world.  She asked that the community think about sharing their gifts and how we as a community will share with others.

The evening ended with a brief meditation and prayer.

God bless, Rick   

Sunday, June 2, 2013

A NOTE FROM LAY DIRECTOR, RONNIE MARTELLA

All,

I hope you plan to be part of the community that will gather to celebrate the Eucharist at St. Joseph's in Beverly this Friday June 7th at 8PM for our next Diocesan Mass.  The directions can be found at:

http://www.jesusthegoodshepherd.org/directions.htm.

Car pooling with fellow Cursillistas is a great way to make the trip a joy and quick! So gather the Ultreya, call people you haven't seen for a while and come together...we will all be the better for it!

Peace, Ronnie

Saturday, June 1, 2013

FOR YOUR STUDY

A wonderful article from the June issue of "Word Among Us" is called "Don't Forget the Lord" and includes four simple steps to better evangelize. Number one on the list - no surprise to Cursillistas - is "Be a Friend." Read this thoughtful article at: 

http://wau.org/archives/article/dont_forget_the_lord/

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

THE TRIPOD - FOR YOUR PIETY, STUDY AND ACTION

For Your Piety:

Janet Moscuzza writes: "There is a Corpus Christie Procession this Sunday, June 2 at Mary, Mother of God Church after the Noon Mass.  Cursillo is assigned Altar 1 in front of Mater Dei High School.  MaryAnn and David Dowd will carry our banner and the Cursillo Cross is on this Altar. All are welcome to join us." Directions can be found at http://www.stmarychurchnj.org/directions.html

For Your Study:

Bonnie Carcione wants to share this link to "Discover Psalms" - a four-week online guided meditation that will introduce you to the Psalms as “the school of prayer.” It can be found at http://thecatholicyearoffaith.com/welcome-to-psalms-the-school-of-prayer.

For Your Action:

Dick Andrejack shares this message about Kenosis Prison Ministry

Kenosis is a Greek word, it’s meaning is – “to empty”

We believe in our Christian faith God emptied Himself to become man through our Blessed Mother, who emptied herself to do the Father’s will and bear his son, Jesus Christ, who in loving obedience emptied himself for our salvation, gaining for us the opportunity of eternal life. Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit ever present, who empties into us their Trinitarian grace so that we may live in and continue to build up “the kingdom of God.”

This is the truth – the faith we profess as Christians.

Holy scripture records God’s people in captivity, slavery, prisons, jail and sin – our unfreedoms in all instances God is present with forgiveness and freedom to those that follow the teachings of Jesus – Love God and your neighbor as yourself. Jesus was loving and obedient as He taught and lived – not his commands, but the Father’s commands.

In Holy Scripture, Jesus teaches in Mark 25: 31 – 46 in The Judgment of the Nations, line 36:

“Naked and you clothe me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.”

In what we pray is a humble response to his teaching and prediction, our spiritual action and ministry is to be compassionately present to those we visit in prison and to – listen, and to love and to be conscious of the Christ that is present in each of the incarcerated inmates.

On the first and third Tuesday of each month we gather at Trenton State maximum security prison in Trenton, New Jersey. We meet from 7pm to 9pm. We gather in small groups (five per group.) We pray, witness, and share on the Word of God active and living within our lives through piety/holiness, study/scripture and apostolic action. Between 30 to 40 prisoners attend. The volunteers of the Kenosis Ministry consist of men from throughout the state and the Trenton Diocese. These men are of various Christian faiths.

At least once each year, we conduct a Kenosis four day retreat for the inmates. This is done to evangelize and build up the Body of Christ, the Holy Church.

Any women or man interested in discussing this ministry and seeking additional information may call:

Ray Benedict at 732-840-1343
Don McKeon at 732-785-9038
R. Andrejack at 732-892-4721
Rev. Martin McGeough, Diocese of Trenton at 609-406-7400, Extension 7198

Please know that all can be part of this ministry through prayer. Please pray for all women and men in prison.

Monday, May 13, 2013

CURSILLO UPDATE

St. Mary Parish is hosting a Procession in commemoration of Corpus Christie, Sunday, June 2 after the Noon Mass at Mary Mother of God Church.  All of the parish ministries will be participating and we would like to invite all Cursillistas to join us in this Procession. The ministries of the parish will be decorating 4 different Altars located around our parking lot. The Cursillo group will be walking with the Rosary Altar Society and Right to Life if you are looking for us and we will be carrying our banner.  Hoping you can join us that day.  For information call Janet Moscuzza (732) 671-7248.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

FOR YOUR STUDY

On Monday, May 20, 2013 at 7:30PM, St. Robert's will be offering the presentation "Pentecost and Our New Pope" a Town Hall meeting with Dr. Christopher Bellitto, Associate Professor of History at Kean University and Papal historian, Msgr. Sam A. Sirianni, Director of the Office of Worship for the Diocese of Trenton and Ana Valentine, former Religious Education Teacher for Christian Brothers Academy. Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact Martin Weisman at mmweisman@msn.com or 732-462-7038.

Adult Faith Formation Ministry of the Parish
Family of St. Robert Bellarmine, 
61 Georgia Road, Freehold, New Jersey, 07728
Rev. Monsignor Sam A. Sirianni, Pastor.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

WHAT'S NEW


For a great study of the DNA of a Cursillista, go to the Study tab. You might see yourself in a whole new way!

Also on the website, under the Piety tab  are some thoughts and a prayer service from Hilare Reinold about praying for and with those dealing with loss. Something we all need, especially lately.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

THOUGHTS ON THE DAY OF REFLECTION by Ronnie Martella, Lay Director

Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

Last Saturday Sister Simon and Father Ed gave us a day of reflection on the Liturgical seasons and more. Father reminded us that while we have faith in the eternal, we live in time and our lives are marked by certain events and observations. He walked us through the church year and highlighted how each of those seasons opens for us a window on a deeper relationship with God. Opening ourselves up can be a fearful thing, but reflect on this quote from Henri Mouwen that shows us what is possible if we can get past the fear:

“Dear God,
I am so afraid to open my clenched fists!
Who will I be when I have nothing left to hold on to?
Who will I be when I stand before you with empty hands?
Please help me to gradually open my hands
and to discover that I am not what I own,
but what you want to give me.”
― Henri J.M. Nouwen, The Only Necessary Thing: Living a Prayerful Life

Sister Simon walked us through Ordinary time and then gave us some not so ordinary words, or to be more precise letters to help us with our walk…Dr. Seuss’ “On Beyond Zebra”. What will we see, what will we learn, what can we feel if we go beyond, beyond ourselves and our fears into the world God has for us.

We won’t know until we try and one way we can go beyond is to join with others to listen, learn, and grow at School of Leaders.

This Friday, April 19, is School of Leaders. We start at 8PM at the Parish Hall, also known as the little church on the corner at Epiphany.

So let’s join together in prayer, in fellowship and in our love of God. Aren't you curious to know what God wants to give to you??

Ultreya and DeColores, 
Ronnie

Saturday, April 13, 2013

FROM THE TRENTON CURSILLO ARCHIVE #1

Editor's Note: This is the first in a series of postings from the Cursillo Archives. We believe these articles are as timely today as they were when they were first published.

AWARENESS by Arny DuPont


This year Doris and I took our vacation on the beach in South Carolina.  Our son and daughter along with their children accompanied us.  Two of our granddaughters are 3+ years old and the other granddaughter is 5+ years old.

Throughout the week I would arise early and check the horizon for visibility. It was my intention to sit with my oldest granddaughter to watch the sunrise. Every day the sky was either foggy or it was raining and so I would return to bed.

Finally, on the last day of vacation, the sky was clear.  I silently crept to my granddaughter’s bed and whispered to her that I was going to watch the sunrise and asked if she wished to join me.  She sleepily said yes so I wrapped her in her blanket and went outside and sat with her as the sun prepared to begin its ascent.  I pointed out the flickers of light that gave evidence to the coming event.  My granddaughter momentarily raised her head, took a quick look, and then returned to her drowsy state.

I spent the time in prayer as I awaited the morning’s sunrise.  As I prayed, I became aware of how there was nothing I could do to merit this event. The rising of the sun happened every day and I could not make it happen nor could I do anything to prevent its occurrence.  I also realized that life would not continue without the sun and therefore its rising was very important to my life.

There is so much in my life that is similar to this, not the least of which is God’s love for me.  There is nothing I can do to merit it and there is nothing I can do to prevent His love for me.  And yet my life is so dependent on His love that it would cease to be without it.

As I prayed about this I thought that there were two things that I could do. First I could be aware of its occurrence and then I could express my gratitude and be thankful.  But as I meditated on this, I came to see that even the awareness of these events in my life is a gift.  I can not make myself aware no matter how hard I might try.  Awareness itself is a gift and all I can do is to receive this gift also.

And so I finally realized that all I can do is to express my thankfulness and to be grateful. This is the most important and only action that I can take and is the essence of my relationship with Him.  Yet there is so much of my life that is not aware of the gifts that He has given.

But now that He has given me this gift of awareness I can be thankful.  And so, I thank you Father for the gifts you have given me; the gift of life, the gift of awareness, the gift of Your presence in my life, the gift of Your love, the gift of enabling me to love You in return, and the gift of the sunrise that I celebrate with my granddaughter.

(This article originally appeared in 1999.)