FOR YOUR STUDY - RAKING LEAVES by Joe Vella, Sr., Trenton 67

Editor's Note: Joe gave the "Study" talk on my weekend, Trenton 71. I will never forget that talk and Joe. 

Raking Leaves

Now that my wife has taken up residence with the Lord, I live with my daughter Barbara and son in law. Allan. They have a large piece of property and I have become the self appointed groundskeeper. With twenty four giant oak trees on the premises raking leaves in the Fall is a gargantuan project. You might say I'm the 'fall guy'.

Raking has afforded me the opportunity to mourn, pray, and reminisce, while all the time raking leaves. I pander to a little amusement, “I'm finally 'big time now' I'm really raking it in.” Yes I pray, why not I have the occasion? While partnered with nature I am inclined to the natural, the supernatural and unexpected, But I ask a contemporary question like should I be wearing my “Life Alert”? I see the birds and for no solid reason old phrases come to mind. “Birds of a feather flock together”. I muse birds are smarter than humans; they fly south for the winter! Then, “He who hesitates fails”, yeah, but he gets another crack at it! Questions come to mind. why is it now that I'm very old I've begun to boast about it?

I'm asked if“the road in my life was bumpy”? My retort is, “I remember when the roads were cobblestones.” Another question is, “How far back can you remember”? Response: “I remember when Charles Lindberg flew across the Atlantic Ocean”. We sang: “Lucky Lindyup in the sky, lucky Lindy flying so high”.

Ah yes, back to the leaves; they hover, drift and float earthward. They resemble dangling feathers until they are jostled by the wind. As the velocity of the wind increased the brightly colored floaters are remodeled to angry swirling frenzied missiles. I meditate ….....the leaves transition from tender life eager buds of Spring time to radiant colored, but lifelessness in Autumn. I envisage the rabbits,squirrels and deer that share the terrain and conclude that Providence provided me this opportunity to reflect. I have really,finally become “old”. Raking leaves was granting me the time to adjust to this unfamiliar status. What disturbs me the the realization that I have become irrelevant.

These innocent looking leaves are not as simplistic as they may appear. To execute its role the leaf must contain chlorophyll, pigments and carbon dioxide to create oxygen. Have water and provide carbohydrate to the the tree.What a contradiction that these unpretentious appearing leaves should possess such complexity. Now having their energy spent all I discern is discarded falling leaves. But, a melody begins running through my mind......”The leaves of brown came tumbling down, remember in September, that September in the rain.” Which triggered, “It ain't gonna rain no more no more, It ain't gonna rain no more. How in the heck am I gonna wash my neck? When it ain’t gonna rain no more.” Then “Barney google, with the goo goo googly eyes” Old fashioned gems, they just don't write songs like those anymore!

The cessation of human life generally doesn’t end like that of a spent leaf. Our life's end is accompanied with visitations, flowers, religious ceremony and topped off with a delicious repast. Reasoning nudged my mind into restfulness.

The end time for man and vegetation is not identical, the leafs conclusion is at the end of the year, when they begin to fall. Newleaves will return, but man shakes hands with eternity. Quizzical isn't it that sober, uncomfortable thoughts like the finalresting-places of the aged, and their spirit is brought to mind while raking leaves?

At summers end the clouds thicken yet the sun determinedly penetrates. The grisly raised his furry head and sniffed the air sensing theapproach of winter and hibernation. I too incline my head and mind. My senses sniff arrival of sunless, leafless harsh inevitable winter. The leaves are so light that they sidle on their decent. The comparison of an inhospitable winter is incongruous with the friendliness which prevails during the raking of leaves.

I perceive nothing audible, unless leaves floating are audible. The swishing of wings from birds winging by produce something slightly audible. However, no man, as pragmatic as he pro-ports to be,........ relies on organisms........ he puts his trust upon his revered non audible silent prayers. The leaves are hardly heard, but they are heard to the same extent men are heard , when they gently alight to their final resting place.

Raise up your gaze and witness leaves falling in meek surrender to destiny. A pageantry of color, red, yellow and brown, an unusual combination! The recognition of life waning intrudes on my thoughts. The trees are relinquishing their memories. The spring when it comes will replenish the leaves, but not restore those rich and abundant recollections of what was taken for granted. It is in such a state of mind of reproduction and of accomplishment that the dead leaves fall. The profoundness and substance of such genesis are beyond my limitations. Yet I am aware that each leaf is distinct and so are we. And all this from raking leaves?

It is curious, that at this distinct time of the year while raking leaves Providence has allowed me to to inquisitively contemplate the relationship between nature and humankind.

Some conclusions remained unsubstantiated, but the subject of destiny was explored.

These self observations are appropriate at autumn time, most pensive mortals perceive them. The air is noticeably different and yet the same; the morning hints of a gradual turnover heralding subtle messages of a waning irretrievable span of time.

The evenings kindle thoughts of family, sweetheart, contentment, and the comfort of home. The musing acting like a stimulus quickening the mingling with human sensitivities and prepare me for a greater glory.

It is in this setting that at the arrival of autumn, that Divine doctrine has deposited itself. A sentinel poised at the gate of the season, the guardian; and at its close the day I rejoice. I am assured of this: the Prince of Darkness grieves when I am raking leaves.  


Offered by Loyola Press, Sunday Connection offers background and activities to better understand the upcoming Sunday's Scripture readings.

It can be found at

Thanks to Matt Oleynick for sharing this link. 

FOR YOUR STUDY: ALL SAINTS AND ALL SOULS by Deacon Tony Martucci, Deacon Spiritual Advisor

In Ireland, Father Kelly addressed his congregation one Sunday: “If you want to go to heaven, stand up. Slowly, one by one people began to stand. One man remained seated. Father Kelly said, “Reilly, do you mean to sit there and tell me you don’t want to go to heaven?” “Oh, no, Father. I thought you were leaving right away.”

“Everyone sit down,” continued Fr. Kelly. “Anyone who wants to go to hell stand up.” Very slowly, Reilly rose in the pew. “Reilly, now I know you’re daft,” said Father Kelly. “You mean to stand there and tell me you want to go to hell?” “Oh no, Father, but you looked so lonely standing by yerself.”

…. Everyone wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die to get there.

All life is precious: whether in the womb, in illness, or at old age. It doesn’t matter to God what our contribution to society may be. All of us are created in the image of God with an immortal soul. Our destiny is to know and love God and to live a life worthy of Him. Christ came to earth to show us the way to the Father, to teach us how to live and to die for our sins. By our baptism, you and I are born into the life of Christ and we are called to follow His example.

A popular expression today is YOLO, you only live once, but we know there is life after death. Eternal Life is a gift of God. After death, our souls continue and are rewarded or punished for the way we lived; one day our bodies will be resurrected to share in our souls’ reward. Faith in Christ is important, but we must also put that faith into action. Christ once said, “Not everyone who says ‘Lord, Lord’ will be saved, but only those who do the will of My Father.”

This month we celebrate All Saints’ and All Souls’ and we remember our loved ones who have died. We like to think of them as going to directly to heaven, yet we know that they were not perfect. Christ said, “Be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect.” The Catholic Church teaches that there is a state of being called Purgatory for those souls who have lived a good Christian life, but are not perfect. They can no longer pray for themselves, but they do offer prayers for their families and friends left behind. In turn, you and I pray for them, we light candles and have Masses said for them. Most churches remember them in all Masses this month.

There is a spiritual connection between them and us. Our love for one another continues even after death. This is what the Church means by the Communion of Saints.

The Catholic Encyclopedia says:

“The Communion of Saints is a Catholic doctrine that holds that the Body of Christ is ‘the spiritual union which joins together the faithful on earth, the souls in purgatory, and the saints in heave’ in the organic union [Mystical Body] with Christ as its head and in a constant exchange of supernatural offices [offering prayers and acts of sacrifice for one another]. “

The Saints Triumphant- are those souls who are in Heaven (canonized and not canonized, e.g. Saints Peter, Pope John Paul II, Mother Theresa, and Elizabeth). We ask the saints to intercede for us. We often pray to the saints to intercede for our needs- lost keys, our children’s safety, etc. The saints in turn pray to God on our behalf.

As I mentioned, The Saints Suffering- are the souls in purgatory. We pray for our loved ones who have died, asking for the forgiveness of their sins, and for their salvation. In turn, those souls pray for us, their loved ones left behind.

We are The Saints Militant- who try to live lives of grace and to bring about the Kingdom of Heaven. Within the Church on earth, there is a shared exchange of examples and prayers. Between the Church on earth on one hand and purgatory and heaven on the other, there are works of charity, prayers, intercessions and adorations.”

All of us living and dead cooperate with each other for the glory of God and to bring God’s kingdom here and now and to enjoy God’s presence in heaven.

In November, we celebrated the Feast of ALL SAINTS. Do you personally know any saints? Are YOU a Saint? Yes, you are. You are part of the Church Militant. When I was growing up, I learned about the Communion of Saints, and in the Apostles Creed we say, “I believe in the Communion of Saints.”

As you well know, our struggle to bring about the Kingdom of God is not against mere flesh and blood, but against Satan and his fallen angels who want to increase their numbers by leading as many people away from God as possible.

The Church is like a great ship, bombarded and attacked by enemy vessels surrounding it- the media, materialism, Godless-government, secularism, and immorality, to name just a few.

A great battle is raging. The ship is damaged, but continues on its course. Nothing could be truer as, by the Holy Spirit, the course of the Church has been steadfast in these troubling days. Pope Benedict XVI said, “Nothing will deter the truth. The Church…intends to continue to raise her voice in defense of mankind, even when policies of state and the majority of public opinion moves in the opposite direction. Truth, indeed, draws strength from itself and not from the amount of consent it arouses.” Vatican Mar. 20, 2006

As members of the Church Militant, you and I need to take our place in the battle to win souls for Christ and to change our world into His Kingdom.


We KNOW the power of prayer. Our world is in a terrible state. We have not seen such immorality or chaos since the fall of Rome. Some tell us that we are living in the end times. Jesus once asked, “When the Son of Man comes again, will He find any faith on the earth?” Only you and I can answer that question.

Time after time, in each of the appearances of the Blessed Mother, she begs us to pray for peace, for forgiveness, for mercy. “The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe the Good News.” On Ash Wednesday, we will hear the words, “Turn away from sin, be faithful to the Gospel.”

We know that Jesus has already won the victory. We have to bring as many of our friends, family and neighbors with us as we possibly can. Let us promise that each of us will PRAY and FAST with the Communion of Saints to win our struggle against the forces of evil and to bring about the Kingdom of God.


Upcoming Retreat:

Everyone is invited to our next diocesan Mass which will be held Friday Dec 5 at San Alfonso Retreat house.  Following the Mass and fellowship our retreat will start that evening and finish on Sunday Dec 7th.  The cost of the retreat will be $150.  The retreat will include talks by Fr. Ed, Sister Simon and Deacon Tony, along with reflection and private time. More information about San Alfonso's can be found at

If you would like to attend, you can let your ultreya leader know or send an email to us at  

National Encounter in Philadelphia 2015:

The next National Encounter will be held July 23-25, 2015 at Villanova University, outside of Philadelphia.  Region 2 will be very involved in the planning and all the lay directors of the region are asking the cursillistas in their diocese to consider volunteering at the encounter, as a matter of fact Jacquelyn DeMesme-Gray, Region II Coordinator has been asked to be the committee chair. More information about the encounter and what committees will need volunteers is coming soon.  Jackie has asked for a list from the lay directors by December 1st so please pray about it and step out with faith and joy to be part of this encounter.  


At School of Leaders last Friday evening, Pat Ivanko shared a reflection on how God gifts us with others as we travel together. Several examples of the way in which God paired people up was given and two things stood out for me. One was the mention (I think if was in reference to Moses) of them “checking their maps” and the other was hearing about how sharing the journey benefits all of us.

After grouping and fellowship, Deacon Tony gave a talk on “what does God want from me?” and how the 3 Glances of Christ showed the ways in which the 3 people were given the chance to find out the answer that question. Some were able to do it, others could not. What do we need to discern the answer to Deacon Tony's question “what does God want from me?” We need to be open to Him when He glances at us.

Mike Ivanko used the Ideals talk to illustrate how we can see in the lives of others that aiming toward our ideal keeps us on the right track. He gave a beautiful, touching witness to bring home the point. With the help and companionship of each other in group, ultreya and any way we share-we are strengthened and can continue to move closer to our ideal.

Each of these, separate parts of School of Leaders, work together to help us-as individuals and as a community to “check our maps” and make sure we are following the path the Lord has for us-always trying to answer the question "what does God want from me".

Traveling together, sharing all that life involves, makes the journey easier and richer.

We hope you will join us at the next school. We will watch the move “God Isn’t Dead” and share our thoughts and reactions.

Here is some of the schedule for the next few months- there are some new and exciting ways in which we will gather, share, learn and grow together- hope to see you there! More details to follow about the gatherings in November and December.

Friday, October 17 @ 8PM: School of Leaders at the Epiphany Parish Hall

Saturday, November 8 Morning: Memorial for Deceased Cursillistas- Holy Family, Lakewood

Friday-Sunday December 5 - 7:  Retreat at San Alfonso’s for all Cursillistas - Talks by our Spiritual Advisers; fellowship, sharing and more! Details will follow. (Our Diocesan Mass will be held on Friday evening, December 5 at St. Alfanso's - you don’t have to be staying for the weekend- join us for Mass!)

We remember those who went before us, witnessed to us and taught us and then we move forward, responding to the Holy Spirit to continue to make friends and introduce those friends to our friend Jesus.

DeColores, Ronnie


Marie Garrett writes: "A live production of Faustina: Messenger of Divine Mercy" will be performed by actress Maria Vargo and directed by Leonardo Defilippis of St. Luke Productions at St. Magdalen dePazzi Parish Center in Flemington on Wednesday, September 10, 2014 at 7 PMThis drama is a riveting modern story that makes Divine Mercy remarkably relevant and urgent for our world today.  It runs 90 minutes and is suitable for ages 13 and up.  Admission is $10.  For tickets and additional info visit  

Below is the trailer. You can learn more at

Marie adds: "I have seen his productions and they are marvelous." Marie also suggests dinner at St. Mary's Byzantine Catholic Church in Hillsborough. They resume the Slavic Dinner on Wednesday, Sept. 11, from 4-7 p.m. The dinner will be held in the St. Mary Parish Center, 1900 Brooks Boulevard, Hillsborough. The cost is $12 for adults (ages 9 and up) and $5 for Children (8 and under) and includes all you can eat pirohi, stuffed cabbage, Kielbasa and sauerkraut, mashed potatoes, salad, dessert and beverage. For more information contact: St. Mary’s at 908-725-0615. 


Read this wonderful talk presented by Jackie DeMesme-Gray, Region 2 Head, at the National Cursillo Encounter held at Chapman University in Orange, CA - August 1, 2014. The talk can be found at this link.

Other uplifting talks from the 2014 Encounter, can be found at


The newest National Cursillo newsletter, which has highlights from the 2014 National Encounter can be found at


Divine Presence and You, 
Grace, Silence, Solitude, Thanksgiving and Forgiveness, 
Change and Everlasting Life

A men's silent retreat at The Loyola Retreat HouseMorristown, NJ, 
September 5 to 7, 2014

For further details, please call:
Richard Andrejack (732.892.4721)
or Lou Commisso (732.840.5357)
or Robert Morris (732.295.1103)
or Michael Tuohy (732.920.7339)


A reminder - there is no School of Leaders in June. The dates for the next two SOL are Saturday morning July 26 and Friday night August 22.  On July 26 we will start with Mass at  9 AM and then move over to the parish hall for the morning. The August 22 evening will be the same time as a School of Leaders.   More information will be coming in the next few weeks about both of these dates. 


The May, 2014 National Cursillo Newsletter has a wonderful article about the Methodology of Cursillo written by Michael Ciccocioppo. The newsletter can be found at

You can watch a video version of Michael's talk at

You can find a full archive of newsletters at 


Hoang Tran, National Cursillo Service Administrator, reminds us that the National Encounter is coming July 31st - August 3rd, 2014  at Chapman University, Orange, California. 

You can get full details about it at

If you register before June 1 you will save $50. ($335 until June 1, $385 after June 1.)


Jo Anne Henderson invites all to join the upcoming Evangelization Music Mission Come at St. William the Abbot on June 8th. Join us for an evening of music, testimony and sharing the stories behind the songs. The purpose of these concerts is to evangelize with music to inspire others to go out into the world and bring others to Christ.

Matthew Poole, Ministry of Catechesis and Evangelization for the Diocese of Trenton invites us to read the New Evangelization Newsletter, Issue 2 for May 2014. It can be found at:


Read a wonderful article from The Monitor regarding Father David Swantek and 13 of his Princeton University students walking the Camino de Santiago during Spring Break 2014.

Each of them did palanca Father Swantek said. "Each carried a pyx with names and intentions of classmates, alumni, relatives, (and) people of our Diocese in them.  They served as a physical, tangible reminder of how, when on pilgrimage, we carry others with us and offer up our suffering and prayers on their behalf.”

The article, Princeton University students devote recess to prayer on the TRENTON MONITOR at this LINK.


Our next School of Leaders is Friday, May 16 @ 8PM at Epiphany Parish Hall, Brick, NJ.

The next Diocesan Mass will be at St. Mary's in New Monmouth on June 6 at 8PM .  So mark you calenders, gather some fellow cursillistas and join us for the celebration of the Eucharist and fellowship with the Cursillo community.

Our National Secretariat invites Region 2 to participate at the Catholic Ecclesial Movements and New Communities First National Convention of Catholic Movements in the US on Saturday, August 9, 9:00 am-6:00 pm, at Our Lady of Good Counsel High School in Olney, Maryland. Cardinal Wuerl will celebrate Mass.

The Next Region 2 Encounter will be held October 24 to 26 at Pope John Paul Retreat Center, Vineland, NJ. Further details can be found at


Last Saturday about 45 Cursillistas gathered together to hear the stories of 3 figures from the New Testament, stories we have heard many times  We listened to the Gospel stories of Bartimaeus, the Rich Young Man and the Call of Matthew, then listened again as Father Robert Barron took us deeper into the story, deeper into the meaning and deeper into our own examination of our call to conversion.  Fr. Barron started by talking about metenoia which he defined as going beyond the mind/attitude you have.  Instead of living in the small soul, it is time to live in the great soul, to be linked to Jesus Christ, others and to all creation. 

In his Palm Sunday homily, Pope Francis asked three questions; "Has my life fallen asleep?", "Am I like Pontius Pilate, who, when he sees the situation is difficult, washes my hands?" and "Where is my heart?"  Reflecting on each of those questions opens us to a deeper examination of our call and how we are living our life.  
Three stories, three questions, three days as we come to the end of Lent - the Triduum.  
All call us to a closer relationship with God.  
All call us to reflect on where we have been, where we are and where we are going.  

So many things about the day gave witness to the work of the Lord and the Holy Spirit, not the least of which was the effort, time, talent, heart and soul that Deacon Tony and Rick put into the preparation and execution of the day.  The readings of the Gospel, the music, the grouping all contributed to a very enriching time together.  It was evident that they were led by the Spirit and open to whatever the Lord had in mind and wanted each person there to receive.
We give thanks for our brothers in Christ.

Wishing you a prayer filled Holy Week and Joyful, joy filled Easter Sunday and season.

DeColores and Ultreya!


The Diocese of Trenton is offering one-day Theology Talks open to the General Public. An offering of $10 is asked, bring your own lunch. Topics include:
  • April 26th - Nourishing a “Love of Prayer” in Ministry with Presenter, Dianne Marie Traflet, J.D., S.T.D. 
  • May 3rd - “God’s Tool Box:Encountering the Lord Jesus” with Presenter, Rev . Msgr. Gerard McCarren, S.T.D.
Full details can be found at this link


What does it mean to make a saint? Why are these two popes being canonized—and why together? Join us as we explore the history of saint-making and the story of a pair of papal saints for our times. The Adult Faith Formation Committee of Saint Robert Bellarmine invites you to join with Dr. Christopher M. Bellitto, Associate Professor of History at Kean University, as he outlines the process of canonization and the implications of such an event for the Church today. A Pair of Papal Saints will be held on Wednesday, May 7th, at 7:00 p.m. in the Parish Hall of the Parish Family of St. Robert Bellarmine, 61 Georgia Road, Freehold, New Jersey 07728. All are welcomed.


From St. Robert Bellarmine in Freehold

On Sunday, April 27th, Pope Francis will canonize Pope John XXIII and Pope John  Paul II as Saints in the Catholic Church. This ritual will be broadcast Sunday morning on EWTN. On Saturday, April 26th at the 4:30 Mass, Bishop David O’Connell will celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving for the life and ministry of Pope Saint John XXIII here at Saint Robert Bellarmine. The faithful are invited to participate with Bishop as we celebrate the Mass in thanksgiving to God for “Good Pope John.”   A similar Mass will be celebrated at Saint Hedwig in thanksgiving for Pope Saint John Paul II at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, 4/27/14 at Saint Hedwig Church in Trenton. The faithful are also invited to participate with our Bishop in this special celebration."


St Elizabeth Ann Seton and a small band of sisters moved to Emmitsburg MD in 1809. A friendship was born between Mother Seton, as she was known then, and Father John DuBois. Her small group accepted Fr. DuBois’ hospitality and lived for six weeks in his mountain cabin while their first home in the Valley, the Stone House, was readied. Elizabeth and her sisters founded Saint Joseph’s Academy and Free School, which eventually evolved into St. Joseph College.

When I moved to Whiting and St Elizabeth Ann Seton parish in December, I felt like I’d come full  circle. You see, I was a student at St. Joseph College in the late 60’s. I’ve walked the ground St Elizabeth Ann Seton trod with her sisters and her children, and I’ve climbed the mountain where she stayed in Fr. DuBois’ cabin.

When I arrived freshman year, I was a Protestant. I wasn't require to take the Scripture classes or to attend mass, but I did. There were the usual college campus distractions, but I was hearing a clear call to investigate this Catholicism that was all around me. I studied the Baltimore catechism with the college chaplain for several months, all the while attending mass nearly every day.

Like St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, I came to see the Blessed Virgin as my own mother. Like her, too, I fell in love with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. It was almost painful for me to remain on my knees while others went forward to receive Holy Communion. Finally, six months after arriving at St. Joe’s, I became a Catholic; the next day I was privileged to receive the Blessed Sacrament for the first time.

My Protestant family did not ostracize me like St. Elizabeth Ann Seton’s did, but they were none too happy. Nor were they pleased when I married a good man from the Catholic men’s college down the road, but they eventually got over it. Many years later, I sponsored my own mother as she made her profession of faith and entered the Catholic Church. I thank God for Mother Seton’s little school that grew into the fine college that brought me and my mother into the Church.


Thanks to Sister Clara for this beautiful, thought provoking video on gratitude.  (Full narration begins at :43) 


SCHEDULE UPDATE:  We received word from Epiphany that due to work being done in the church, they have had to rearrange meeting locations for the various ministries and groups.  Because of this we will not be able to meet for School of Leaders on Friday March 21.  
With Lenten observances and parish activities during this time, it has been decided that School of Leaders for March will be cancelled.  

MARK YOUR CALENDARS:   We hope you can join us on April 12 for a special day to listen, discuss, reflect and share on three stories from the series by Fr. Robert Barron, "Conversion-Following the Call of Christ".  We will start our day at Epiphany's 9 o'clock Mass, and then gather at the parish hall (little white church on the corner).  Following light refreshments we'll watch the first of three segments and have group discussions. We'll do the same with two other segments.  More details will be coming.  
There will not be a School of Leaders in April 

BLESSINGS FROM FRIDAY'S MASS: The power of prayer, the strength of community, the joy of fellowship, the praise and thanks we offer to our loving, generous God, the deepening of the bonds we share.  All these were so evident at Mass last Friday evening at Holy Family.  Many thanks to the parish family there and the Lakewood/Brick Ultreya for their hospitality.  There were Cursillistas from many parts of the diocese, some near and some far and there were people who came from St. Denis at Fr. Ed's invitation, along with others.  Tony Martucci witnessed to the complete and unfailing presence of God in his life, throughout all the pain and medical issues of the past 14 months.  Tony always witnesses to the trust and faith he has in God and never more than through this illness.  

And then we received an additional blessing- the joy of having John Cifrodella with us!  A miracle of God's healing power, John is feeling better every day and working hard to restore many aspects of his wellness,  With John was his aide, Issac, who helps with the daily tasks as John continues to heal.  Let us pray for Issac and all who give such care to others and please continue to pray for John and his family.


February - School of Leaders  

With Ash Wednesday on March 5, Father Ed gave a wonderful talk on Lent.  He reminded us that we are never alone, that wherever we are or whatever we are experiencing, Jesus has been there and is there with us.  Fasting, prayer and giving alms are all ways to unite us closer to God and are ways to help us detach from the things that imprison us.  Father spoke of three possible ways to go; 1st, the way of John the beloved who sat close to Jesus, stood with Mary and points to God.  This is a deeply personal and spiritual way.  2nd, the way of Judas who saw Jesus as a means to an end and when he tried to force action and it didn't happen, he despaired.   And 3rd, the way of Peter.  One of the closest followers of Jesus but so very human.  He walked on water until the fear turned his head away, he denied Jesus but was first among the apostles and shows how God can use us even with our weaknesses.

I spoke about the Pastoral Plan which was updated in 2012.  Each part points to two things Rick has asked us to focus on from 1 Corinthians, that we are called to be holy and united in the same purpose.  When I was preparing the talk I wrote united ON purpose instead of united IN purpose, but aren't we both!  Every day we consciously decide to live a certain way, to follow Jesus in all we do-on purpose and in purpose we unite with others to witness in our environments to our belief.  The other main point I'd like us all to take away is that while all of us who have lived a Cursillo are in our 4th day - Post Cursillo, we are also all in Pre-Cursillo - always and in all ways in Pre-Cursillo.   For what else is our 4th day if it is not witnessing to each person with whom we come in contact about God in our life.  We do that in our moveable square meter, and that is Pre-Cursillo.  All is Pre-Cursillo or why are we here?  All is sharing the best news of the best reality...that God loves us, as He loved Peter, no matter our weakness.   Let us live our 4th day fully and be aware of the people God is placing in our life, build relationships and friendships with these people and when God's time is right-invite them to live a Cursillo weekend.

I wish all a fruitful Lent.
De Colores and Ultreya!


P.S.: Please remember - Diocesan Mass, Friday March 7 at Holy Family in Lakewood.  Mass begins at 8 p.m.  Please join us and bring some friends.


Deacon Tony Martucci recommends, the website of  Father Robert Barron for free daily Lent reflections. Click on the link below to hear Father Barron.


The Ministry of Catechesis and Evangelization is sponsoring a discussion forum on the New Evangelization in 4 parishes in the diocese, one is each county.  Each two hour session will have a short introductory lecture on the theology of the new evangelization followed by an open discussion forum.  Matthew Poole, Coordinator of Adult Faith Formation and New Evangelization will lead the sessions which are for all catechetical leaders, clergy and laity involved or interested in evangelization.

Each session will be held from 10 am to 12 noon.

Saturday Feb 22,    @ St. Vincent de Paul Church Hall, Hamilton
Saturday March 1   @ St. Denis School Cafeteria,  Manasquan
Saturday March 8   @ St. Joan of Arc Church Hall, Marlton
Saturday March 15 @ St. William the Abbott Church Hall, Howell

For further information you can call Rosemarie Constable at 609-403-7183

I met with Matt at the Pastoral Center last week and spoke with him about Cursillo.  He looked at the website, asked about School of Leaders and several other things and I invited him to School and to the next Mass.  At the end of the conversation I told him we would be praying for him and for the success of the sessions so please keep Matt and this ministry in your prayers.  

If you can attend any of the forums, please find a moment to introduce yourself to Matt as a Cursillista.  

And let us continue to do palanca, prayer and sacrifice wrapped in love, for the teams and candidates God is choosing for our next weekends.  Let us also pray to be open to all those in our movable square meter, maybe people who we may not usually consider as those with whom the Lord is calling us to form a relationship.


“The task ahead of us is never as great as the power behind us.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson (Thank you to our beloved Sister Clara for this thought.)


In just a few months I will celebrate the 25th year of my Cursillo weekend in October of 1973, at Divine Word Seminary. Years have passed by and I am so thankful for that weekend when my life was turned around 180 degrees and when “I Made a ‘U’ Turn to Heaven”. Praise be to God!!!

As a young boy between the ages of 10 to 11, I used to ride past Divine Word on Saturdays during the school year and weekdays in the summer. Of course, it was not Divine Word Seminary at the time and little did I know that one day I would come to know Jesus as my Lord & Savior there on Park Street. My two uncles, my mother’s brothers, had a grocery store and meat market in Fieldsboro, NJ, just a couple of miles south of Bordentown, and I worked there summers and Saturdays during school time. Even then God had a plan for my life!

As an “old timer” in Cursillo, many of you have heard my testimony but I would like to share some of it with the newcomers.

When I was sponsored for Cursillo by my “kid brother, Joe”, God prepared my heart in such a way that I was ready to take in whatever was to be offered me on the 3 days. My brother had asked me to be patient and allow the weekend to unravel and not be discouraged.

I remember being greeted by my brother Matt Stap at the entrance and he bid me “Welcome to The Cursillo Hilton”. I thought that was so nice of Matt, a really fine brother in the Lord. I felt most welcome by the team members and all went quite well as the rollos started on Friday morning. The first celebration of the Eucharist was so warm and meaningful to me and it aroused a beautiful feeling of God’s presence among us. As the day went on I began to feel a bit of discomfort brought on because of the guitar playing. I was from the old school and thought guitars were out of place in Church. And so, for Friday and most of Saturday I felt a change coming over me which concerned me because I was starting to enjoy all that was taking place, even the guitars! Then there were the hugs, which at first I thought were out of place, but then really enjoyed them and the warmth I felt in my heart because they were genuine, a feeling I had never experienced before. I thought to myself, how am I going to explain all of this when I get home?

Finally, by Saturday night I was not concerned at all about what was happening to me, all the changes, and, as the saying goes, “I let it all hang out!”. I was convinced that what was taking place was most beneficial to my soul and well-being. Saturday night was so much fun with the skits. Everybody was roaring including yours truly!

On Sunday morning in the Chapel, Father Bob Schultz, one of the Spiritual Directors, played the most beautiful song recorded by the Monks of Weston Priory, “Hosea”, and something inside of me burst and my heart was broken through the great love of My Lord Jesus, The One Who died in my place on the cross at Calvary. Beyond that, another song continued the tremendous flow of tears, the song about “And Then Comes the Morning”. The tears were tears of joy and I was washed clean by the precious blood of The Spotless Lamb of God, Jesus!

Right then and there, I knew I was that brand new creation which St. Paul writes about in 2 Cor. 5:17. “Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation”. When I returned to my workplace on Monday many people recognized the change that had taken place and I was able to witness them as to how Jesus had become my Lord and Savior and that I would never be the same as I was before. I was able to work faster and with more joy.

Some 16 months later, a couple of months after my 60th birthday, I was retired by the company where I had worked for 24 years. I was blessed with many great fringe benefits but I had no idea where I was going from there. However, I knew that God had a special plan for the rest of my life and it was revealed to me just 5 days later when I met a prison chaplain at Leaders’ School, who asked for volunteers for prison ministry. I got right out of my seat and signed up! It was truly the power of The Holy Spirit that moved me and I knew it was a decision from The Lord! That was 23 years ago last March 5th. Prison ministry has been a most joyful part of my Christian life.

In the summer of 1977 I was interviewed by a man on Christian radio who hosted a broadcast called “The Searchlight”. After a few more guest appearances he asked me to fill in for him during his vacation. Finally he was ordained a minister with his own Church to Pastor and he offered me the broadcast, which I have been blessed to host for over 20 years. I have been blessed to have met so very many people involved with the prison system in various states. Men and women in prison who listen in write to me and encourage us with their prayers and letters.

For many years now we have been doing a “radio rollo” on Saturday mornings, greeting the people on Cursillo weekends, Tres Dies weekends, and Kairos weekends in prison. It has been such a joy for us and the many people who have come on the broadcast as guests and guest hosts when I have been on vacation. The Lord has sent so many wonderful people into my life and I have been encouraged and enriched far beyond my understanding. I give Him all the praise and surely all the glory!!! DeColores!

Bob Leone, Trenton #9

This article was reprinted from the June/July 1998 Good News Bulletin. We miss you, Bob!


Sisters and brothers in Christ,

If anyone were to ask for an example of the Cursillo community in the diocese of Trenton, I'd love to be able to show them a video of Friday night's School of Leaders.  Better still to have been able to have them there.  The Holy Spirit is always with us but there are some times when we are open and bubbling over with Christian joy that the Spirit is literally visible.  That was Friday night. So it seemed contradictory to announce to community that the Men's weekend-scheduled for Feb 27 to March 2- has been postponed.  There were only a few definite yes responses. But I believe that God's plan for us is unfolding and when we look and listen, we'll see what He wants us to learn and ultimately do.  

At last November's School of Leaders we remembered the Cursillistas who have died and many shared a certain special connection with one or more of those people.  That, along with the women's team sendoff, was a very touching indicator of how strong the bonds between us go, how deep the love.  In December we heard witness from the three Amigos from the weekend. Each woman shared in her own way what formation, the weekend and the movement meant to them.  And this past Friday Rick asked us each to introduce ourselves and say, if we remembered, our table name from our original weekend.  Again there was sharing about weekend themes, table names, people- some who have died and some with us, some who were in that room Friday night- the people who touched us, taught us, moved us, inspired us, challenged us, opened us up-sometimes in child like ways, to God and the love and life God wants us to have. Over and over, beautiful, tender witnesses to the bond we share.  And to what brings us together, unites us and keeps us going -  our belief in and love of our God -  always at the core of our life and our relationships.

Sister Simon shared a talk entitled "Do whatever He tells you".  She shared how those words from Mary form a prayer, a framework from which we can go about life.  We can grow into God's will as Mary did and learn that we are part of the family and we, like Mary, are called to recognize our part and place in that family.  We join together as that family to do whatever He tells us.

Rick then spoke about being challenged to get out of his comfort zone, to move beyond the level of involvement he has with others and shared his son John's involvement in the Newman Club at college.  The young people there speak of being disciples in the most natural way -  what a joy to hear about young people alive and involved in their faith! We can learn from them.

Rick spoke about Paul's letter to the church at Corinth in which he reminded them they are called to be holy and united in the same purpose.  Rick told us all we are necessary. Necessary to him and to the movement but most importantly, necessary to God.  He offered a tool to focus us on one of our 4th day's most important activities, the study of our environment.  He suggested we write down the names of the person/people with whom we would like to establish and/or deepen a relationship.  Having the names written down can make the idea of personal contact and growing discipleship clearer and more real for us.   Someone suggested posting them on the refrigerator so they'd be seen often!

The weekend had to be postponed and it is disappointing.  But we can take that and use it to recommit ourselves.  We can be refreshed and reminded about who we are, what we are called to, what we have said in our pastoral plan we believe we can and are called to do.   There is a link, in the upper right hand corner, of the website to the pastoral plan if you'd like to download and read it.  I'll also be addressing some of the elements of the plan in the future, especially as they connect with what Sister Simon and Rick shared.

On Friday night, as we closed with prayer, Rick committed us at School of Leaders to prayer as a community for upcoming weekends, teams and candidates.  Let us join our personal prayer and palanca to that of the community gathered together for God's guidance and inspiration.  Jesus and us-an unbeatable combination!

DeColores and ULTREYA!

P.S. If you would like to see an uplifting short video on the Newman Center at Montclair State University that Rick spoke about, click here.


The Magi looked to the stars and found the Star that told them a new King was born. After a long, dangerous and arduous journey, they found Christ with Mary and Joseph in the house in Nazareth. They found Him because they were looking for Him.

Have you ever put on a jacket or coat, or picked up a purse that you haven’t used in long time and found a few dollars in it that you forgot that you had? Like the woman who found her lost coin, you’re ready to celebrate. When that happened to me, I thought that somehow God has given me a blessing. How amazing that we can often see God’s hand in the good things that happen to us, but when we fall on hard times we may think that God is far away! Yet even in our darkest times, God loves us and turns everything to good for those who love Him.

This year, Pat & I have been on a roller coaster since my first surgery in December 2012. Many people commented that we don’t deserve to suffer like this, as though we are too good to have something like this happen to us. My Lord Jesus was sinless and loved everyone, yet they spat on Him, beat Him, nailed Him to a cross and pierced Him with a spear for my sins. I am a sinner and yet in my illness I am carrying only a splinter of His cross. I have been healthy for most of my life. I consider my current illness a minor annoyance compared to what so many others have endured.

During my recovery, I am blessed to see the hand of God in all of it. Through the cards and letters, Masses and prayers, phone calls and visits, I have come to know the love of God; to receive His merciful consolation; to be blessed with the support and love of so many people. I see His love through you.

I am doubly blessed to have Pat as my wife. She has nursed me through this illness 24/7. I have awakened her at 2:30 AM and she responded selflessly and lovingly. I have witnessed not only her love for me as a wife, but her dedication and her training as a nurse. I am encouraged to continue to heal so that, as St. Paul says, “I can console others as I have been consoled.”


Blessed Christmas Season and Happy New Year!

What a gift to have this season following the excitement of Christmas day to reflect of the incredible reality of the Incarnation. 

As we read in Matthew 1:22-23 "Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: "BEHOLD, THE VIRGIN SHALL BE WITH CHILD AND SHALL BEAR A SON, AND THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME IMMANUEL," which translated means, "GOD WITH US."   

Take time - during this wonderful season and beyond - to keep that reality close to you, let it enter into and impact every part of your being, every decision you make and every act you take. God is with us, and as Catholics and Cursillistas we witness every minute of every day to that reality in our lives.  Let us continue to radiate that joy, love and reality to all with whom we come in contact - our moveable square meter.  

DeColores & Ultreya, Ronnie


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