Tuesday, October 23, 2018


Saturday we had a wonderful SOL, with an inspirational spiritual talk about Surrender from Deacon Tony Martucci. Mary Weis gave the technique talk on Beautiful Hope. If you have Hope you have Faith. 

Please take the time to read the talks below, they are truly inspiring. Come to the next SOL on November 17, 2018 for your Spiritual fulfillment!



"Prayer of Surrender" by Deacon Tony Martucci

Mk 10:17-30: "As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up, knelt down before him, and asked him, "Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus answered him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; you shall not defraud; honor your father and your mother."

He replied and said to him, "Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth." Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him, "You are lacking in one thing. Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me."

At that statement his face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions. Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!"

The disciples were amazed at his words.

So Jesus again said to them in reply, "Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God."

They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves, "Then who can be saved?" Jesus looked at them and said, "For human beings it is impossible, but not for God. All things are possible for God." 

This gospel touches all of us. This young man is seeking the way to eternal life. He is a good man, keeping all the commandments but he wants MORE. Christ asks him to give up all that he owns tn to follow Jesus. He finds that too difficult.

We often look at this story and ask what it is that we must give up to follow Christ. Our possessions? Our treasures? 



Suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint.

And hope does not disappoint. That was from Paul to the Romans Chapter 5. I’m here to talk about hope. That’s really a tough subject. Why? Because it’s so hard, so hard to have hope! Firsthand I can tell you that these past few weeks I have had to call upon the Holy Spirit for strength and hope in dealing with the upcoming Cursillo weekend. 

I have also read and reread this book to sustain me and keep in line with God’s plan for me. It’s a wonderful book and it’s titled, of course, Beautiful Hope.  And it is beautiful and encouraging. Has anyone read it? It will definitely satisfy your Study of the tripod.

It’s an uplifting book comprised of personal stories of hope.

Kelly has enlisted the help of several people, some well known, and others who have never written anything before. All of them are American Catholics trying to live the gospel. Matthew has asked these people a few thought provoking questions as to their contributions to the book: 

What gives you hope?
What sustains your hope?
Where does your hope for the Catholic Church come from?
What are your hopes for the Catholic Church and humanity?
How do you bring hope to others?

Kelly only writes the prelude. Matthew Kelly says we need hope now more than ever before. Hope is the one thing people cannot live without. Matthew Kelly feels strong about the virtue of hope because he has based his mission of Dynamic Catholic on it. The mission of Dynamic Catholic is to re-energize the Catholic Church in America by developing world class resources that inspire people to rediscover the genius of Catholicism. That sounds like a lot of hope to me. 
The book is divided into four parts: Choosing Hope, Hope in the Church, Hope in Action, and Becoming Hope. In the first part, Choosing Hope, Sister Miriam Heidland, a sister of the Society of the Most Holy Trinity, who has written books and speaks publicly, states that for people of faith, the truest meaning of hope is not ultimately a feeling or longing toward a vague temporal goal, but rather a gift from God that orders us toward eternal goodness, truth, and beauty. For a long time she thought that hope was just wishing for something to happen or not occur. Aren’t many of our hopes like that? I hope that God will hear my prayer and I can live long enough to dance at my granddaughter’s wedding, or have good weather for my vacation or get that better job I applied for.

These are all good intentions but that’s not what hope really is. Hope is the surrender of ourselves to God’s will, accepting that realization through everything we do, knowing full well that through Him, the promise of eternal salvation will be ours. Sister Miriam talks about cracks in our foundation, cracks in our lives. Does anybody here have any cracks in their lives? Yes, we all have plenty: deceit, jealousy, shame, envy, whatever they may be, and we must face what they are. We face them in front of Jesus. It is only through Jesus Christ that we can fix these cracks. It is only through complete acceptance into God that our lives begin to build and take on structure. And we can only accept what He gives us through hope. It only occurs with hope. Hope for us is in living our lives with Christ. We must look into ourselves first before we can begin to know what hope is and bring hope to others.

What about hope in the church? Can we find hope there? We can, in so many ways: in our times at mass, sharing and making friends with our fellow parishioners, praying with our men’s or women’s groups, coming to the aid of others through Catholic Charities, a giving tree at Christmas and the unborn who have no one to speak for them. What about our exceptional priests who never ever tire of listening to our ills, problems and issues? It is only through the church and in our own methodology of Cursillo, where we survive spiritually. And it is in the church that we associate hope with generosity. I can tell you personally, it brings tears to my eyes seeing the donations pour in whenever we ask, no matter what. 

Hope comes from people such as yourselves doing extraordinary things through your charity, good will and love! None of this would happen without our church. Why shouldn’t we have hope through our church? We would certainly be lost without it. 

Having hope within ourselves and gaining hope from the Church enables us to bring hope to others. I’d like to share one of the stories that stands out for me and touches my heart.

It’s from a priest who receives a call at 9:30 at night from a young man who wants to speak with him. The priest doesn’t know the person on the line at all, but agrees to meet with him the next day at the Catholic high school nearby. When they meet, the boy could only cry. The priest, Father Meyer, told him ‘You need to talk to somebody. I don’t know what you’re going through, but people can help you. I don’t know what church you belong to but I’m available.” The young man, Will, met with Father Meyer every day for two weeks after that, finally breaking down and talking about his anxiety and frustrations of life. Encouraged by Father Meyer, Will eventually joins the youth group at the parish and starts to attend mass. He gains hope in his life to carry him into the future. But it doesn’t end there. Five years later those moments are still felt.

We can become hope in action. We can change the world by our small actions but it has to start with ourselves. As Saint John Paul II said, “I plead with you – never, ever give up on hope, never doubt, never tire, and never become discouraged. Be not afraid.” 

So now I ask you, my brothers and sisters in Christ, how are we to be hope in action? How can we be the beacons of light God has made us to be? For God wants us to be joyful and hopeful.

Again, I quote from Saint John Paul II, “It is Jesus who stirs in you the desire to do something great with your lives, the will to follow an ideal…the courage to commit yourselves humbly and patiently to improving yourselves and society…” Sound like something you heard in Cursillo? 

De Colores

Monday, October 8, 2018


My felllow cursillistas, once again I am asking for donations to fund our upcoming Men’s Weekend December 6-9 2018 at San Alfonso Retreat House, Long Branch. Only through your contributions is this possible. We have increased the weekend fee to $225 but we must add an additional $60 for each and every person attending. San Alfonso charges us $285 per person for the weekend (and that’s at a discount!) We also don’t turn anyone away who cannot pay.

Considering that we only had two diocesan masses this year with collections, your donations are the prime support of Cursillo. Monies we collect at School of Leaders go to food and drink.

We incur both National and Regional dues as well as a stipend to Epiphany for the use of their venue. Please be as generous as you can, anything is appreciated.  Thank you again and may God bless you abundantly! You can send your donations to our Treasurer:

JoAnne Henderson 
48 Berkshire Rd
Whiting NJ 08759

Also, Our Diocesan Mass/Team Send Off  will be Friday, November 30 2018 at 8pm at Saint John’s Church, 619 Chestnut St, Lakehurst NJ, Off Route 70. 

DeColores, Mary

Tuesday, October 2, 2018


Mary Weis, Lay Director writes: "We are pleased to announce that Trenton will be having a Men’s Weekend in December from December 6-9 2018 at San Alfonso Retreat House, Long Branch, New Jersey.

We only have 5 candidates so we’re praying that God will provide us with more. Candidates are: 

James Monks  (Sponsor - David Riggio)
Luis Quinto  (Sponsor - Adelaide Sangiorgi)
James Walsh  (Sponsor - Dean Boturla)
Brian Morgan  (Sponsor - Marisel Kemper)
Anthony Cecala (Sponsor - George and Mary Weis)

Please pray for these candidates and for the team of Trenton 127.

Thursday, September 20, 2018


The September 20, 2018 edition of the Trenton Monitor includes an article titled "Cursillo members enjoy evening of prayer, renewal, fellowship."

The article, written by 
Rose O'Connor opens:

"The Cursillo community in the Diocese of Trenton gathered Sept. 7 in St. Raphael-Holy Angels Church, Hamilton, where they prayed and supported each other on their journeys of faith."

You can read the entire article at this link. Thank you to Rose and the Trenton Monitor for this article.

Thursday, September 13, 2018


Deacon Joe Moore of the Trenton Monitor staff
took 29 wonderful pictures
of Friday's Diocesan Mass
at St. Raphael/Holy Angels Church.
You can see the pictures at this link.


Monday, September 10, 2018


Oh, what a night! The Diocesan Mass on Friday, September 7, was such a joyous, heartwarming and emotional event. The community was blessed by having three, yes, three priests con-celebrate: Father Ed Blanchett, pastor Visitation, Brick, Father Jay Bowden and Father Jerome Guld from Saint Joseph's in Toms River. Many cursillistas came out and brought their friends, curious to know what Cursillo is about. 

Father Ed's humble and relevant talk on recent events had most of us teary-eyed. It also gave us hope and inspiration to continue in our faith and love of the Church. 

This was followed by the installation of our new Post Cursillo Section Head, Terri D'Andrea. Adelaide Sangiorgi had already extended her term on Secretariat as the Post Cursillo Head and Terri was gracious enough to say yes to replacing Adelaide. We want to thank Adelaide for her devotion, hard work and untiring efforts working with the Ultreya Heads and Secretariat. Adelaide will be missed. We also want to welcome Terri to the new position and extend our prayers and best wishes as she takes on this new role.  

To complete our dedication to Trenton Cursillo, the entire Secretariat team renewed their commitment to the community for another year.   

It didn't end there. Robert Lauricella gave a beautiful witness to why we are all here (at Cursillo), knowing we have all been touched by this personal experience as he has been and admits that he continues to be affected by Cursillo every day.

Putting us over the top was Marie Garrett who had found a touching, beautiful writing about our priests. The priests were asked to look at their hands and never forget that those hands were consecrated to Christ and able to transform ordinary bread and wine into His Body and Blood. The Church and its followers are depending upon our priests to carry out God's work on earth: "Do this in remembrance of Me". How else would we attain salvation without our priests who are so precious to us?   

It was so apparent that the congregation was on fire from the Holy Spirit, fellowship afterwards was a chorus of voices making friends, being friends and bringing friends to Christ. De Colores!

Monday, August 27, 2018


Hello Region 2 Cursillistas!

I pray that your summer has been going well – I know mine has gone too fast!  I was so glad to see so many familiar faces at the 28th National Encounter last week in Seattle!  It certainly was a spirit filled group of people all gathering together in the name of the Lord.

I am sending you this email to invite you to the Region 2 Fall Encounter scheduled for October 19-21, 2018 in Vineland, NJ.  All Cursillistas in Region 2 – in all Dioceses in their respective language groups – are invited.  So please spread the word!

What is a Region 2 Encounter?  This is a joyful event in which leaders from the Cursillo movements in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, and Washington, DC gather together for a weekend of food, fellowship, learning, sharing, prayer, Mass, rosary, and mutual support in friendship towards our common endeavor of bringing our friends to Christ in our own dioceses. Cef Aguillon, National English Coordinator, will be presenting rollos at this encounter! Won’t you please join us?

The website (http://www.cursilloregion2.org/) will be updated shortly with an agenda.  Please sign up today!

29th National Encounter in Scranton, PA 

We are pleased to announce that our Region will be hosting the 29th National Encounter in Scranton, PA.  We will need lots of volunteers from our Region!  We also have a date and location for our Spring Encounter.  SO PLEASE MARK YOUR CALENDARS SO YOU DON’T MISS OUT!

“Many hands make light work” and a successful National Encounter is the result of the service of many talented and committed people.  It is never too early to start looking for volunteers to assist us next summer.  Here are the list of the committees we are forming:

·       Registration
·       Hospitality
·       Transportation
·       Liturgy
·       Music
·       Photography/Videography
·       Equipment
·       D├ęcor
·       Ultreya
·       Fiesta
·       Book Store
·       Support

Please review the list above and shoot me an email back if you would be interested in being on any of the committees.  THANKS IN ADVANCE FOR YOUR HELP!

I look forward to seeing you at the Region 2 Fall Encounter in October!


Sue Wenzlick
Region 2 English Coordinator

Sunday, July 22, 2018


The Diocesan Mass for September 7th
will be held at St. Raphael's & Holy Angels Church
3500 South Broad Street, 
Hamilton NJ, 08610
at 8 PM

Hope to see everyone there. Please bring your respective candidates to the Mass.

Please let those know who do not have e-mail or computer access know. Car pool for those who may not have transportation.

You're their Friend, Be that Friend and bring your Friend to Christ!!

DeColores, Kathy Tucker

Wednesday, July 18, 2018


School Of Leader was a cacophony of bells and laughter for the Bible Jeopardy was in full swing!!  It was the event we have all been waiting for: "BIBLE Jeopardy" This happening left us with more questions than answers in the style of true jeopardy!

The Master of Ceremony "The Greatest Kathy Tucker" was tongued tied at times leaving premature bell ringing, only to disqualify some ring ins.  

Thanks to all the teams that participated:

+ The Holy (aka Holly) Bell Ringers
+ Mary's Girls and Boy
+ Old and New
+ Quasimodo Bell Ringers

Can the Deacon's team defeat the Priest's team?
Can the Laity boast of defeating both the Priest's and the Deacon's team?
Can cowbells serve as true substitutes for split second buzzers?

After the dust cleared and in a bitterly contested round-- No-- seemed to be the answer to all these questions and after painstakingly reviewing the video tape, the judges decided that the final jeopardy answer was, indeed, ambiguous and the Deacon's team would live to play another day!  Lord Willing. 

Please consult your program schedules for where and when this rematch is scheduled; until that time.

Congratulations to the Winners! The Final Bible Jeopardy Winner was Mary's Girls and Boy: Janet Moscuzza, Mary Ann Dowd, Father Ed, Nereida Kringdon.

DeColores! Kathy

p.s. Please prepare by studying your bible intently with hands on cowbells
p.p.s. David our judge has resigned from his job due to the fact that the community is no longer speaking to him so we are looking for a new judge.  Applications are now being accepted.

Come and enjoy "Movie Day" at SOL on August 11, 2018 
right after the 9 AM Mass.

Sunday, June 24, 2018


This weekend we celebrate the solemnity of Saint John the Baptist. There are only three birthdays celebrated by the church in the liturgical calendar: John the Baptist, (June the 24th) (Mary Sept. 8th) and (Jesus Dec. 25th). These integral to the plan of salvation were each born without original sin. It is for that reason that we celebrate there births as liturgical solemnities. Saint John the Baptist is so important to the life of the church that, as with this weekend, it supersedes the Sunday of ordinary time.

In my humble opinion (he is 2nd) only to Mary the Mother of God. The most powerful prophet of the New Testament, john follows the footsteps of Elijah, & Elisha. Elisha asked & received a double portion of the holy–spirit. 

John was filled with the Holy Spirit for God knew him before he was born. It was god who named him John & God who delivered him to precede Jesus. God has given our families the gift of the Baptism by water and fire. Dad’s lead there children to the Baptism of fire through living out there own baptismal promises. To be priest, prophet, and king in family life. 

In fact we have become well over two billion Catholics and the millions more of Christians baptized in faith.

God has delivered us John the Baptist to make ready the world’s children to find redemption at the feet of Jesus.

We the people of God are the Josephs and Mary’s that lead our families on the road of eternal life. 

I find it necessary to talk about life, the life given to us from conception to natural death. A journey of being human (human being that is) a life of marriage, (Catholic marriage) between man and woman to be fruitful and multiply.

The sixty-eight million Catholics in the United States and the other Christian churches that still believe in the sanctity of marriage must stay the course and fight for married life. There are many who think it is okay for two men or two women to be married before god on holy-ground but it is not!

We all have stories about our own sin the sin that has a hold on us that sin that we do daily battle with. That sin that Jesus says go and sin no more, no matter if that be addiction to drugs or alcohol or homosexuality the Lord wants us to give it up one day at a time. And so we do battle between the goodness of god and the evil of Satan.

It is through our baptism that we achieve this; it is God's grace that we should overcome sin to be eternally happy in heaven forever. It is through Jesus Christ that he forgives us again and again until we get it right. The sacraments of his church are to be used for God’s plan of salvation. John the Baptist leads us to the savior that we become less that that god become more. To be perfect as the heavenly father is perfect. The church is perfect when it leads us in truth. We become perfect through the sacraments and only in the sacraments is perfection achieved in the father. 

The father has given us these seven to attain heaven and he has given us these tools to evangelize our families and our neighbors in his kingdom. If you want to be happy for the rest of your life sing his praise to the glory of god and surrender daily to love. And who is love? It is the Lord and Peter that was lightly clad put on his garment and swam to shore. It is the Lord. Let us cloth our nakedness in love. 

If we want to be happy for the rest of our lives!

Follow truth!   

Peace be with you
Deacon John Clymore

Wednesday, June 20, 2018


As many of you may already know, we have reserved San Alfonso Retreat House December 6-9 2018 for our next weekend. With the submission of a few applications, the decision to have a men's or a women's weekend or a weekend at all, is currently under consideration.

It is only through our prayers and palanca that any Cursillo is possible. As Cursillista Catholics we know that we must work hard for anything that is beneficial to our souls and the welfare of others.

I am asking the Trenton Cursillo community to say one decade of the rosary every day. Just one decade. Every day. We must ask the Holy Spirit to bring the candidates to us, and that we have the courage to bring these candidates to Christ. Ask God through the Blessed Mother to give desire and strength to you as a potential sponsor, and to the potential candidate, to want to make a weekend.

I know that everyone is already praying for Cursillo. I believe that everyone who hears this message knows the grace and love that comes from a Cursillo weekend and this is why we are still, after many years, still praying for that holy time to be experienced by others.

However, we must do more. We must show that the Cursillo method of piety, study and action is alive in our hearts and that it is the way for us to live our Fourth Day, not just for us but for others to live this way as well. God will hear us and answer us accordingly, through His ministry of Cursillo.

I thank you sincerely and assuredly I will keep you apprised of the outcome.

De Colores! Mary

Saturday, June 16, 2018


Mary Weis, at today's School of Leaders, recommended an article in Columbia Magazine (The Magazine of the Knights of Columbus) on " THE RUGGED PILGRIMAGE ROUTE TO COMPOSTELA LEADS KNIGHTS ON A PATH OF FAITH AND CHARITY." Mary felt there were parallels to the Cursillo experience. The article can be found at this link. Let us know what you think about the article - send a note to trentoncursillo@gmail.com with your thoughts. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2018


School of Leader this past Saturday was dedicated to "Mother's Day" and of course, our Blessed Mother.  We were privileged to have a Doctrinal talk by our own Father Ed Blanchett which encompassed Both Catholic Doctrinal teaching and human love and longing in a way which could only be woven by a speaker with a deep devotion to the Blessed Mother and a supernatural understanding of her humanity and that of her Divine Son.

Father Ed made us realize how very much God loves us by giving us HIS very own mother.  It was also evident how fortunate we are to have such a spiritual priest guiding us along our camino. Thank you Father Ed From a grateful community.

You can read Father Ed's talk in the posting just under this one.

We also had a bit of theater, Some of the ladies dressed up as mothers from the bible. They did a wonderful job speaking in the first person without telling us who they were. Who am I??

Thank you ladies for stepping up and out of your comfort zone. Mary Vitale, Terri DeAndrea, Diane Kerrigan, Mary Weis stepping in for Janice Petruzzi who was not able to participate due to an illness. Prayers for her quick recovery. 

Next SOL will be in honor of Father's Day. Hope to see everyone there.

God Bless

Monday, May 21, 2018


Mary, known as the Blessed Virgin Mary, Saint Mary, Mary Mother of God and the Virgin Mary, is the greatest of all saints. The Virgin Mother “was, after her Son, exalted by divine grace above all angels and men.” St. Paul wrote that “God sent His Son, born of a woman,” to bring about the union of the human and the divine in Christ. As Christ possesses two natures, human and divine, Mary was the Mother of God in his human nature. This special role of Mary in salvation history is shown in the Gospel as she is seen constantly at her son’s side during his ministry on earth. Because of this role, shown by her “Yes” to Christ into her womb; her offering of him to God at the Temple; her urging him to perform his first miracle; and her standing at the foot of the Cross at Calvary, Mary was joined fully in the sacrifice by Christ of himself. Pope Benedict XV wrote in 1918: “To such an extent did Mary suffer and almost die with her suffering and dying Son; to such extent did she surrender her maternal rights over her Son for man’s salvation, and immolated him - insofar as she could in order to appease the justice of God, that we might rightly say she redeemed the human race together with Christ.” Mary possesses a unique relationship with all three Persons of the Trinity. She was chosen by God the Father to be the Mother of his Son; God the Holy Spirit chose her to be his spouse for the Incarnation of the Son; and God the Son chose her to be his mother, the way that God took flesh, into the world to redeem humanity. While she is not our Mother in the physical sense, she is a spiritual mother, for she conceives, gives birth, and nurtures the spiritual lives of grace for each person. As Mediatrix of All Graces, she is always present at the side of each person, giving nourishment and hope, from the moment of spiritual birth at Baptism to the moment of death. 

Mary is “mother” in three important senses: she is the Mother of Jesus; she is the Mother of the Church; and Mary is our mother. 

(I) Mary is the MOTHER OF JESUS 

Protestants, our separated brothers and sisters in Christ, are often horrified when we refer to Mary as the Mother, not only of Jesus, but of God. But their reaction is based on a misunderstanding of not only what this particular title of Mary means, but also who Jesus is, and what their own founders, the Protestant Reformers, had to say regarding this doctrine. Before touching on this, let’s hear what Scripture has to say in Luke chapter 1: 

"The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. Let it be done to me according to your word.” 

Then the angel departed from her. Now, I skipped over Mary’s question and the angel’s reponse, but the important thing here is that Mary said “Yes” – her famous Fiat – to becoming a mother. Biologically speaking, a woman is a man’s mother either if she carried him in her womb or if she was the woman contributing half of his genetic material. Mary was the mother of Jesus in both of these senses; because she not only carried Jesus in her womb but also supplied all of the genetic material for his human body, since it was through her—not Joseph—that Jesus “was descended from David according to the flesh” (Rom. 1:3). Since Mary is Jesus’ mother, it must also be that she is the Mother of God: because, if Mary is the mother of Jesus, and if Jesus is God, then Mary is the Mother of God. 

As St. Cyril of Alexandria, the 5th Century patriarch of that city, wrote in a letter to Nestorius the priest – yes, he was a priest: clergy failings are hardly limited to modern times – who proposed the Christological error that bears his name, a heresy which denied that Jesus was one person both God and man and which also denied that Mary was the mother of God: “I have been amazed that some are utterly in doubt as to whether or not the holy Virgin is able to be called the Mother of God. For if our Lord Jesus Christ is God, how should the holy Virgin who bore him not be the Mother of God? As St. John has written, the Word made flesh, can mean nothing else but that he partook of flesh and blood like to us; he made our body his own, and came forth man from a woman, not casting off his existence as God, or his generation of God the Father, but even in taking to himself flesh remaining what he was. This was the sentiment of the holy Fathers from the beginning; therefore they ventured to call the holy Virgin ‘the Mother of God,’ not as if the nature of the Word or his divinity had its beginning from the holy Virgin, but because of her was born that holy body with a rational soul, to which the Word, being personally united, is said to be born according to the flesh.” Mary, who is the mother of Jesus, is also the Mother of God. This has been understood and believed for centuries, long before it was solemnly declared by Pope Pius XII back in 1950. 


This title has a special meaning for us this particular weekend as it will be formally celebrated as a memorial of for the first time by the universal Church on Monday. In the Gospel according to John, chapter 19 we first hear of it: “Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.” Mary was given to John by Jesus on the Cross. By extension, Jesus gave Mary to be the mother of the Church. 

The title “Mother of the Church” was used by PopeBenedict XIV in 1748 and then by Pope Leo XIII in 1885. Pope (soon to be Saint) Paul VI formally conferred the title Mother of the Church on Mary during his speech at the closing of the third session of the Second Vatican Council on November 21, 1964: “For the glory of the Virgin and our consolation, we proclaim Mary the Most Holy Mother of the Church, that is, the Mother of the whole People of God, both the faithful and the pastors.” The title was used often by Pope St. John Paul II. In his encyclical Redemptoris Mater, the “Mother of Our Redemption”, the Holy Father reaffirmed Pope Paul’s statement that Mary is the “mother of the entire Christian people”. In the Catechism of the Catholic Church, a document which sprang from the Second Vatican Council and guided by Pope John Paul, says: “Mary’s role in the Church is inseparable from her union with Christ and flows directly from it.” (964) “After speaking of the Church, her origin, mission, and destiny, we can find no better way to conclude than by looking to Mary. In her we contemplate what the Church already is in her mystery on her own “pilgrimage of faith,” and what she will be in the homeland at the end of her journey. There, “in the glory of the Most Holy and Undivided Trinity, in the communion of all the saints, the Church is awaited by the one she venerates as Mother of her Lord and as her own mother. In the meantime the Mother of Jesus, in the glory which she possesses in body and soul in heaven, is the image and beginning of the Church as it is to be perfected in the world to come. Likewise she shines forth on earth until the day of the Lord shall come, a sign of certain hope and comfort to the pilgrim People of God.” (972)

When Pope Francis decreed that the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church be included into the Church calendar on the Monday after Pentecost on February 11th of this year, Cardinal Sarah, Prefect of the Divine Congregation for Divine Worship, wrote: “Mary is the mother of the members of Christ, because with charity she cooperated in the rebirth of the faithful into the Church … the birth of the Head is also the birth of the body, thus indicating that Mary is at once Mother of Christ, the Son of God, and mother of the members of his Mystical Body, which is the Church.”

In the Upper Room, Mary prayed with the Apostles in anticipation of the coming of the Holy Spirit, as her Son had promised. Pentecost was the birth of the Church – the Mystical Body of Christ. As mother of Christ, the Head of the Church, she also is the Mother of the Church. As Pentecost approaches each year, I find myself thinking about Mary as well as the Apostles. That’s not to say that their Pentecost experience was anything less than astounding – of course it was! But I also find myself thinking about the Blessed Mother and what her reaction might have been when, and especially after, the Holy Spirit had descended. Mary had been waiting in the Upper Room with the Apostles, her Son’s closest friends. As any good natural mother, she would have loved them because Jesus loved them. She would have wanted the best for them and likely had high hopes for them because of their closeness to him. She would have loved them despite their failure to stand by her son when things turned terrible and he was arrested, tortured and crucified. They, on their part, would have loved and honored her because she was the mother of their best friend. Yes, the Spirit’s descent was magnificent. But what about what happened afterward? Her Son’s friends – the ones who had turned on him – are suddenly and deeply converted. They lost their fears, put themselves aside, and bravely stepped out into the streets to proclaim the Good News. That’s what Mary’s Son had worked all his life for, what he surrendered himself for, what he died for. Once cowards, they were now bold, courageous men carrying out her Son’s dream! When I picture this scene, I can see Mary as the proud Mama, glowing with joy over the transformation in the Apostles, cheering them on as they went forth. Mary, present at the birth of the Church, is very truly her mother.

(III) Mary is OUR Mother

What this means to each of us here, “where the rubber meets the road”, comes from a very touching, very human, interaction between Jesus and his mother from John chapter 2: There was a wedding in Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding. When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servers, “Do whatever he tells you.” Now there were six stone water jars there for Jewish ceremonial washings, each holding twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus told them, “Fill the jars with water.” So they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, “Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter.” So they took it. And when the headwaiter tasted the water that had become wine, without knowing where it came from (although the servers who had drawn the water knew), the headwaiter called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves good wine first, and then when people have drunk freely, an inferior one; but you have kept the good wine until now.” Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs in Cana in Galilee and so revealed his glory, and his disciples began to believe in him. I honestly love this Gospel passage: Mary sees a problem with the wine. She goes to Jesus who, very human son that he is says, “Yeah, so what?” but then accomplishes through his divinity what mother wants anyway! How many of us have seen our children as Jesus reacted first, and wish they would act as he did afterwards?!

“Mary is our Mother in the order of grace.” With these words from the Vatican II Constitution on the Church in the Modern World we get a brilliant insight of the Motherhood of Our Lady, and a marvelous help to understand the motherhood of all Mothers. To better understand it, we need to hear the two sentences that come before it: “The Blessed Virgin, predestined from eternity along with the Incarnation of the Divine Word, as the Mother of God, on this earth was the gracious Mother of the Divine Redeemer; His associate more than others, in a singular way, and the humble maid-servant of the Lord. In conceiving Christ, in bringing Him forth, in nourishing Him, in presenting Him to the Father in the Temple, in suffering with her Son as He died on the cross, she cooperated in the work of the Savior, in a unique way, by obedience, faith, hope and burning love, to restore supernatural life to souls. As a result, she is our Mother in the order of grace. As a result, she is our Mother in the order of grace.” An ordinary Mother does two things to gain that glorious title: she shares in bringing a new life into being, she takes care of that life so long as she is needed, as long as she is willing and able.

To put it as simply as possible, Mary’s cooperation in the Redemption is how she shares in bringing new spiritual life into being, just as any mother cooperates in bringing human life into being. But, even though Mary’s cooperation was unique, she shows how we can participate in it as well. The second letter of St. Peter (1:4) says that in it we are made “sharers in the divine nature.” This isn’t just a one-time event. As we can see in the numerous apparitions that have occurred over the centuries, Mary continues to care for our supernatural life.

Let’s try to explore that mystery a bit. St. Paul says that in heaven we will see God “face to face”. Now of course, God doesn’t have a face; souls don’t have physical eyes. But the reality is far beyond what the words can easily tell us. In this life, when I look at another person, I don’t actually take the person into my mind--I take in an image. Since the person is finite and limited, a finite image can let me know about them.

But God is infinite. No image could possibly convey what He’s like. So it must be that the Divinity wants to join itself to the created human soul immediately, without even an image in between, so that the soul can know Him even as His Son knows Him, as He knows His Son. Within that divinity there flow infinite streams of knowledge and of love. The first chapter of John’s Gospel says that in the beginning the Father spoke the Word. That Word isn’t just a ripple in the air, like our words are. No, it’s far more, it’s a person: the second Person of the Holy Trinity. Between Father and Son there is love--again, not the infintely lesser type of love we understand, but another Divine Person, the Holy Spirit, proceeding by way of infinite love. 

Only a being who is at least partly divine could possibly understand these infinite streams of knowledge and of love. But that’s exactly what it means to be “sharers in the divine nature”, which we are, by the life of grace. Mary, by offering her limited flesh for God’s purposes of expressing His divine and infinite love, helped to gain that sharing for us, at a cost so great that, as we said, only God can comprehend it. So Mary really is our Mother in the order of grace. 

But a mother does more than bring life into the world: she also takes care of that new life, so long as she is willing, able, and needed. For most of us, there comes a time when Mother isn’t so much needed, as we become adults and more independent. But in the spiritual life, we remain children – we have to, for “unless we become as little children we shall not inherit the kingdom.” Jesus tell us. Or, to put it more clearly, we always stand in the need of grace as long as we have not yet entered the mansions of our Father. That grace, every grace, comes to us through Mary for, as Vatican II taught, she is the Mediatrix of all graces.

My dear Cursillistas, I said that an earthly Mother should give care as long as she is willing and able. Sadly, some earthly mothers stop being willing. But not so our Heavenly Mother. The children she brought into life by such tremendous pain she will never forget. She is always willing. Also, an earthly mother may come to a point at which she is unable to help, howsoever she way want to do so. But not so our Mother in Heaven. Since I started my talk with a quote from Pope Benedict XV, it’s only fitting that I end it with another: he said that Mary held a “suppliant omnipotence”. This means that, while not being omnipotent herself, all that God can do by His omnipotent power, she, with and through her Son, can obtain by asking Him for it. And that she does.

Holy Mary, Mother of Jesus, Mother of the Church, our Mother, pray for us now and at the hour of our death. De Colores! 

Sunday, April 22, 2018


How can I be with you, Jesus, now that your pain and suffering are over?  I was able to be with you in the Garden and on your way to Calvary and then stand with your Mother at the foot of your cross.  But how can I be with you in your tomb?  
As I contemplate this, I hear Jesus say to me,  “Clara, (use your name) You can be with me in my tomb.  Just walk in and allow me to do the rest!”

With trust, I timidly enter the tomb and I huddle in a dark corner. I am not afraid!  

I can see Jesus lying on the slab.  His linens are removed!  In spite of his torn body, he seems to be restful and I don’t understand that.  

Amazed, I see his earthly father, St. Joseph hovering over Jesus.   He is gently wiping his bloodstained face.  And I also see Michael, the archangel, along with Angel Gabriel!  They, along with Joseph, are bathing his wounds with such tenderness.  
Then I see Jesus slowly opening his eyes.  His eyes meet Joseph’s tear-filled eyes.  I hear a weak whisper from Jesus. “Dad.”  Joseph has your head in his arms.  

“Jesus, my dear boy,” spoken so softly. “I am so proud of you.  You have fulfilled your Mother’s destiny and mine of raising you, caring for you, and protecting you for this moment. So long ago, I held your tiny body in my arms.  I, again, hold you in my arms with deep, deep gratitude to you for what you suffered.” 

 All of us in heaven were beyond grief at what we witnessed on earth.  Your Father sobbed almost uncontrollably.  His grief was mixed with rage at the injustice that was heaped upon you.  At one point he wanted to end it all and snatch you up.  But all of Heaven’s residents, from North, East, South and West, were kneeling with  their heads bent down.  In unison, all chanted “No, No, No.”  Father God’s sad eyes looked at all of us and all of us looked up to Father God.  He knew and we knew that all the horribleness you endured was the only way, the only way to conquer evil.”  

There was a reverend silence now from the four people in the tomb with Jesus - Joseph, Michael, Gabriel and me.  I am still huddled in the dark corner of the tomb.
All I am able to do is to stay huddled in the corner and gaze upon Jesus. I can’t move.  I’m so overwhelmed with what I am witnessing. Then I hear Jesus speak softly.
“Dad, when I was hanging on the cross, at one point I really felt that my Father in heaven had deserted me.  Is He pleased with me?”  “Jesus,” Joseph responds so softly,  

“How can Father God not be pleased with your total sacrifice of love?”  “He’s not here with me now,” Jesus responds. At these words from Jesus, Michael and Gabriel bow in adoration while Joseph says; “Your Father in heaven is right now preparing the grandest, and most eloquent royal banquet for you upon your return!”
“Jesus, my boy, I have a message for you from Father God”  “Your Father wants you to remain here on earth for another forty days. You need to be with your friends now even though most of them had deserted you. They were and are still so frightened at what happened to you. They are afraid of their lives. And you sorrowing Mother needs to see you. Your mission on earth will not be completed until you reassure them that you are risen, and console them, instruct them, and empower them to continue what you began.   

For the first time, I notice a smile on Joseph’s face. “Will you do that, my precious, precious boy?  We all know how eager you are to come home.”  Then I saw that irresistible magnetic smile on Jesus as he responds, “Of course,  Dad.” 

 As the three of them slowly depart, Joseph once again turns to Jesus, and with a twinkle in his eye, says, “Say hello to your mother for me.”

I am still huddled in the dark corner mesmerized by what I witnessed and heard. Then I heard Jesus say, “Clara, don’t remain in the dark.  Leave now. Go out into the Sunlight.  Tell all you meet what you have witnessed and heard here in my tomb.  My birth and crucifixion would have been meaningless without my Resurrection.  Be my voice, my hands and my feet.  Let all who see you, see me.  

Now I am no longer huddled in the dark corner of the tomb.  I am racing through the vineyards to be with Jesus’s friends.  Jesus empowered me too to continue His work on earth.  And Jesus empowered ALL OF YOU to continue what he began!  Tell ALL who believe in Jesus to be His voice, be His hands, be His feet! 

De  Colores!