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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/