Saturday, September 5, 2020

CURSILLO REGION II FALL VIRTUAL ENCOUNTER

 

REGISTRATION OPEN

Cursillo Region II
Fall Virtual Encounter- English
Saturday, Oct 10, 2020
9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
        Spanish/English Ultreya  2:00 p.m.

 

LET’S MEET AS A REGION IN FRIENDSHIP

In these days of social distancing, we invite you to join your fellow Cursillistas from the various dioceses in Region II on a virtual ZOOM presentation to further our understanding of Cursillo and see each other’s beautiful faces and smiles.


This Encounter will include a Spiritual Meditation- Walking with Mary, a rollo on the Essence, Mentality and Purpose of Cursillo and an additional rollo on Love. There will be opportunity for discussion after each presentation. Please have your Pilgrim’s Guide ready for Morning Prayer.  We will break for Lunch and join our Spanish brothers and sisters for an Ultreya at 2PM using a new Zoom link. 

 

We would like to know who is planning on participating. Register on the HOME PAGE of our website:  mccregion2.com OR email Donna Valenti, Region II English Coordinator, with your name, phone, email address and diocese to d_romo251@hotmail.com . Registration closes 10/3. Zoom Links to follow.

 

 The Regional team usually host these meetings in person and charges a fee for participation of which a percentage is used to help support regional operating cost.  Since this fall encounter is virtual, there will be no registration fee.


DeColores!


If you are not already using ZOOM, we suggest you download the ZOOM app or sign-up on their website https://zoom.us/ before the call since it may take you some time to connect.  Zoom has tutorials on their website if you need assistance https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/categories/200101697

 

We will ask you each to MUTE your phone or microphone during the presentations to reduce noise.  Please make sure you know where the MUTE button is on your device. 

Thursday, September 3, 2020

THE ASSUMPTION by DEACON TONY MARTUCCI

The Second Vatican Council reminds us that Mary is a member of the Church who “occupies a place in the Church which is the highest after Christ and also closest to us.” (LG, #54) She is the first and the greatest of all the Disciples of Christ. 

Our Lady of the Assumption is the Patroness of the United States as well as the Patroness of the Diocese of Trenton. When Pat and I went on pilgrimages to the Holy Land and to Italy, Portugal, Spain and France, we saw many images of Mary’s Assumption. In Israel, we even visited a room reported to be the place of Our Lady’s “Dormition’ or sleep. Earliest Christians believed that Mary did not die, but went to sleep and was taken up to heaven, body and soul. 

Romans 6:23 tells us “The gift of God is eternal life. The wages of sin is death.” 

Genesis describes the creation of Adam and Eve in the state of grace. They were living in total relationship with their Creator, walking and talking with God. There was neither sickness, nor death until they succumbed to the temptation of Satan and ate the forbidden fruit. Immediately, they recognized their sin and God removed them from the Garden. Sickness and death were part of the penalty for their sins. God also promised to send a Redeemer to reconcile their descendants to Him. 

All of humanity is born with original sin, often falling into sin throughout our lives and we have suffered the effects of both sickness and death. Our faith teaches us that at our death we are judged for the way we lived our lives. Our souls will be taken to heaven, purgatory or hell, while our bodies will remain in the grave until they join our souls at the final judgment. 

However, “in anticipation that she was to bear the Son of God, Mary was preserved from the time of her conception from original sin….No sin would touch her, so that she would be a fitting and worthy vessel of the son of God.” (CCC, #491) Mary lived a life dedicated exclusively to Christ, her Son, and to his mission. We know from scripture that in life Mary suffered the pains of loss and hardships despite her life of holiness. 

In her Assumption, Mary experienced immediately what we will experience eventually, a bodily resurrection like Christ’s own. “The Immaculate Virgin…when the course of her earthly life was finished, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things, so that she be more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords and conqueror of death.” (CCC, #966)

For centuries, this belief had been a beloved tradition of the faithful, but it hadn’t been defined by the Church as a revealed dogma until 1950, when Pope Pius XII declared Mary’s Assumption to be an official teaching of the Church. That declaration was the fruit of years of work as the Holy Spirit guided Church leaders and theologians to a deeper and clearer understanding of Mary’s role in the scriptures.


THE ASSUMPTION by PAT MARTUCCI

 A dogma is an official document of the Catholic Church- In March 1948, during the Pontificate of Pope Pius XII; a new ecumenical council was called. This council would be an extremely opportune time for the proclamation of the Dogma of the Assumption of Mary. This followed the appearance of Our Lady in Fatima starting on May 13, 1917. Our Lady told the children to recite the rosary and do penance in reparation for the sins of the world.

To spread the message of Fatima throughout the world, Fr. Alonzo took a statue of Our Lady of Fatima from the Capelinha in Fatima on tour to Madrid and throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa. In Catholic Spain, the “Miracle of the Doves” occurred. Wherever Our Lady’s statue appeared, it was surrounded by white doves hovering over it as an honor guard. Many miracles also occurred.

In Heaven, Mary is the Mediatrix and dispenser of graces. She has appeared in many places and at many times to ask us to repent and to pray the Rosary daily.

Many of our saints and leaders have had devotion to Our Lady and to her rosary. Pope Pius V asked the Catholic world to pray the rosary to intercede for us during the invasion of Europe by the Muslims in 1571. On October 7, the invading Muslim navy, which vastly outnumbered the Christian forces, was destroyed by a terrible storm. The few ships which survived returned home and the invasion ended. October 7 is celebrated as the Feast of the Most Holy Rosary.

Saint Louis De Montfort was a champion of the rosary and one of the great Marian saints. He wrote many books about Our Blessed Mother, including The Secret of Mary, The Secret of the Rosary, and True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin. He recommended recitation of the rosary to priests as a means of converting many souls.

St. Alphonsus Liguori had a love of the Virgin Mary from his youth, which he inherited from his mother. He gave up his law practice and laid down his sword at the feet of a statue of Mary. He no longer wanted to be a servant of the mundane, but a servant and knight of the Queen of Heaven.

Venerable Fulton J. Sheen was consecrated to the Blessed Mother at his birth. He had a deep love for Mary and dedicated his life to spreading her devotion and the Rosary. He wrote The World’s First Love: Mary, the Mother of God.

St. Teresa of Calcutta was called the Missionary of the Rosary. As a young girl, she made an annual pilgrimage with her mother to the Shrine of Our Lady of Cernagore. It made a deep impression on her heart and helped her to respond to her religious vocation.

St. John Paul II had a deep love of the Mother of God and was a champion of the rosary. He promoted the Sodality of the Rosary and the Legion of Mary. He visited many Marian Shrines. After he survived an attempted assassination, he brought the bullet, which was recovered, and placed it in the crown of the Statue of Our Lady of Fatima, saying she was the one who protected him. He also added the Luminous Mysteries

St. Maximillian Kolbe was a Polish Rosary priest who founded the movement called the Militia Immaculata and intended the rosary to be part of the daily spiritual practice of its members. He emphasized the importance of the Miraculous Medal and the Rosary. He founded a magazine called the Knight of the Immaculata. He is called The Martyr of Charity 

Do you know other Titles by which Our Lady is known?

Saturday, August 22, 2020

OUR LADY IN AUGUST by MARY ANN DOWD

Prayer: Benevolent Lord, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,  your pilgrim people gathered here this night ask for courage, the courage to live out in our daily lives the faith we profess with our lips.  Amen

Last October I was asked to give a talk on Our Blessed Mother, In May we were blessed with two wonderful rollos on Our Lady by Fr. Ed and Ronnie Martella, both of which quoted the sacred scriptures and the many ways in which Mary is our model, our teacher, our spiritual guide and most of all and forever, our mother.

It would seem that Cursillistas like to talk and to listen to talks about Mary.  Saturday Morning Sabatina is dedicated to Our Lady on every Cursillo weekend.  Non-Catholics just seem to wonder what all the fuss over Mary is about?  Let’s meditate on that question for a moment.

This particular meditation is not an easy one. It involves the Supernatural reality of God and the spiritual realm beyond our reach but not beyond our knowledge.  These are themes which our culture seems so preoccupied with; that of zombies, vampires and  other creatures who have no basis  in reality.  But please be assured, this meditation involves very real supernatural creatures and takes place before the dawn of time.  I would ask you to take a deep breath, slowly let it out and close your eyes and please keep them closed throughout and do not open them until I ask you to.   

Let’s take this journey now, all of us together, above the clouds, to the place where God dwells.  Envision fire and smoke; you hear the clashing of steel blades as swords are drawn and advanced and you hold your hands over your ears to try and block the roar of a great battle raging in the heavens.  The scene is difficult to fathom.

You blink several times to try to clear your eyes of the smoke and discern the scene that lies before you.  At the center of this scene a tiny baby is lying in a manger on a bed of straw and creatures of unimaginable beauty are kneeling and worshiping this human child.  There is a brilliance radiating from this infant that is impossible to explain or resist. 

Picture yourself being drawn closer to this make-shift crib.  You slowly make your way nearer to the child.  You have seen many newborn babies in your lifetime 10 tiny little fingers and 10 tiny toes.  Surely this child must be like one of them, yet, you know in your heart that he is not the same.  This child is special.  This child will one day deliver you from death. 

Before you can reach the infant, the procession halts; your eyes are transfixed on one of the most singularly beautiful and imposing of all the heavenly hosts. This creature does not kneel in adoration but instead rises to his full stature and refuses to bow in adoration.  He is also persuading others to refuse as well.  He draws his sword against his fellow creatures  and asserts his superiority in a loud voice: I will not bow.   I will not serve!  With this declaration,

The roar of battle suddenly cesses, the smoke clears, the die is cast….

Another Voice now fills the void, a Voice at once both irresistible and fierce.  This Voice seems to penetrate to the depths of your very soul.  It actually appears to come from within you and outside of you at the same time.  With one declaration this utterance banishes the rebels in a flash and as they fall from heaven you hear these words spoken loudly, clearly and unmistakably:

 “I will put enmity between you and the woman, between your seed and hers, she will strike at your head while you strike at her heel.”

....and so the battle lines are drawn henceforth for all human ages.

How telling this simple sentence:  Such perfection and economy in God’s words; even in that one single word “strike”

Pay close attention to who it was who struck the first lethal blow to end this fiery battle, “she will strike at your head;  “She”,  this young child barely a  woman raised the Sword of the Spirit and quietly, almost inaudibly, yet containing all the power of heaven, overturned the darkness of pride with these few words: “behold the handmaid of the Lord”;   (the servant of God)  Mary “bowed”, Mary would “serve”.    It was Mary’s humility which dealt a lethal blow against the enemy’s prideful words (I will not serve). 

God’s humble handmaid was not finished yet but continued in battle.

Once again she raises the sword and advances on the power of darkness: ”be it done unto me according to your word; with complete faith and trust in God she slashed the power of evil and the light of heaven shone once more upon the earth. 

You bow your head as finally,  the death knell for God’s enemy and ours is sounded with these final precious Words:  “and The Word was made Flesh and dwelled among us”

And so it was and so it is that the battle for Eternal happiness was won by a young virgin in an obscure village, surely a victim in her time of sexism and oppression, to whom God entrusted HIS only begotten Son.  The seed of Mary who would finally strike at the head of the evil one and deliver us from death to life everlasting.  He came in relative anonymity.

As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be;  He reveals Himself to those who seek Him, to those who dare to believe and trust and humble themselves just like Mary did.

You can open your eyes

Doesn’t  it make sense that she to whom God entrusted His Son as “mother”,  would be given to us as our mother as well?  She is the one who cooperated with God in winning back our heritage as God’s children. 

And so it is that Our Blessed Mother, down through history, has shown herself as “mother” to us; interceding for us, holding back the Arm of God’s just punishment for all the generations who have abandoned HIM time and again.

At Lourdes, Fatima, Knock, Medjugorje , and countless apparitions down through history, Mary, Our Mother stoops from her lofty home in heaven each and every time she hears the prayers of her children; for never was it known that anyone who fled to her protection, implored her help or sought her intercession was left unaided.

Health of the sick, refuge of sinners, Star of the Sea, Mystical Rose, Mother of Mercy,  Mary, undoer of  knots, and my personal favorite: Our Lady of Perpetual help.  She has surely been of perpetual help to us her children since the moment Jesus gave her to us from the Cross.

On and on her fame, her love and our devotion to her grows.  Down through the ages she remains ever faithful, always leading us to her Divine Son.   Does  It  strike us as strange that each apparition bears the same message from heaven: turn your hearts back to God, Do not offend my son any longer for He is already greatly offended.  Time and time again like a loving mother taking pity on her errant children.

As we gather now in a time of pandemic do these words mean anything to our world?  Surely they must; coming from the lips of the Queen of Heaven, who as a young girl suited up with the armor of the Lord and rode into battle wielding a blazing sword which struck down the enemy of our souls and secured for us eternal happiness,  if we will but follow her example and choose her SON!  

If we will but adore and serve.  As Aaron Neville pointed out, everybody serves somebody.  Let us dear Cursillistas echo the words of Sacred Scripture: “Now is the appointed time”; Let us choose this day Who we will serve.  Let us say with the prophet:  “As for me and my house we will serve the Lord.

The title of this rollo is Our Lady in August because this month on the 15th we celebrated the high feast of the Assumption of Our Lady into heaven.  She hopes to greet each of us there one day,  her children safely home at last.

Yes, over the last several months and indeed the last many years as Cursillistas we have heard many rollos on Our Blessed Mother and yet there is still much more to be said about Mary and so now we open the floor for the echo of this rollo-- your echo.  The echo of each one of us who stand as a witness to  the story of our mother, Mary, and what she has meant to us-- to you in your lifetime.  Let’s begin right now to sing of Mary, pure and sinless…..Our life, our sweetness and our hope.

DeColores!

 

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

LIVING THE CURSILLO METHOD DURING THE PANDEMIC by BILL GRIPPO, FORMER LAY DIRECTOR

DeColores,

This morning I had the wonderful weekly opportunity to share with Al Martella and a regular group of men who have been on a conference call weekly since the Pandemic began.  It is truly enriching.

Today Al asked each of us to share how we are coping with the pandemic personally!  The responses were heartfelt, emotional, personal and prayerful.

I was the last speaker, the clean up “batter” so to speak.

I based my thoughts on the Tripod (Piety, Study and Action)

My first step in coping with this is to continue and strengthen my own prayer life… I attend 2 weekday Masses and one on Sunday and made myself useful by assisting the Church team in organizing the return to Church effort.  I start my day with morning prayer, and do a good amount of spiritual reading.  I try to go out of the house and sit in a park, by the complex pool or outside of Dunkin Donuts (cannot give up that first Cup!!)  I am reading the biography of John Paul 2!  It is 1000 pages and I read it as spiritual reading and Study.  His life is amazing, inspirational and gives me strength and guidance!  That first step of Piety is an absolute in handling this pandemic for me personally.

The next step for me is the discipline and a study of my own physical and mental health.  I have made a significant effort to improve my health at my Baby Boomer age.  I made the commitment to lose some excess pounds and lost 10 to date. I have visited my physician for a check up and she was really happy with the results of the visit. I have committed along with my daily reading and spiritual growth to do some form of exercise “daily”, walking a measured distance or swimming and some light weight lifting.  The benefit of exercise is extremely helpful for your mental and emotional state during this very stressful time in our lives.  I find that if I watch too much TV, especially during the day it encourages depression to occur over this pandemic.  Shut or limit the TV!!  Use the sun that God gave us to energize yourself, the Vitamin D is significant in building up the immune system in your body and it is “free”!!


The final point I made in my witness is Action!  I take action with my family, checking in with them and preparing meals for the more local siblings!  I find being present, social distancing with a backyard picnic or just sitting around a fire pit are simple ways to promote family life.  I also find that preparing and delivering a bowl of Italian meatballs lifts everyone’s spirits very high.

I have also remained very active in my community without meeting with people in large groups.  I attend zoom meetings, raise money for the food bank, continue to develop plans for a YMCA in my community and I keep my finger in the life of our school system.  Reaching out to others in whatever way you can will take your thoughts off yourself and put your energy with others!

 

So let’s close, thanking God daily for all of our gifts and family.  Let’s continue our daily prayer and study, while taking care of our health to the best of our ability!

 

DeColores and as Bishop Sheen would close: GOD LOVE YOU!!!!


Saturday, July 18, 2020

WATCH JULY SCHOOL OF LEADERS


You can watch the July 17th
School of Leaders
on YouTube at this link.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

REFLECTION ON THE THIRTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME by DEACON TONY MARTUCCI


Some of you may recall that from December 2012 to December 2014, I underwent a series of medical issues that threatened to take me. I was homebound for much of that time with nursing care from my wife and visiting nurses. I spent weeks in the hospital. Many of you prayed for me and helped lift my burden. During those difficult times, I turned to God and had some of my closest moments to Christ. I knew I was not alone. My greatest concern was for my wife who had to take care of me and who worried about me. She needed our prayers as well.


For most of that time I was unable to attend Mass. As a daily communicant I missed being there and receiving the Eucharist. I watched on TV but it isn’t the same. For the past three months we all experienced the loss of Mass and communion. Somehow, it was worse for me this time than when I was sick. I know Christ is still present in our lives, but I longed so much to return to Mass and communion.


Our entire society has also changed during this pandemic. Uncertainty surrounds us. There are protests, violence, anxiety and fear. Some people are still out of work; some are still confined to their homes for fear of contracting the virus.


We would all agree we are living in very trying times. Uncertainty is all around us. We wear masks, and avoid crowds. We have changed many of our habits. Even here in Church, we are distanced from each other, and are warned to avoid congregating after Mass. It is as though we are living in a different world and we wonder if things will ever get back to what we called NORMAL.  


Only one thing remains constant. Jesus is with us, guiding and protecting us. In the Gospel today He offers to help us carry our burdens and troubles. “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me.” When I think of a yoke, I remember the yoke borne by oxen and mules, heavy wooden objects placed on their shoulders. I shrink from taking something like that upon myself. But it is Christ’s yoke, and He promises to help bear OUR burdens. His yoke is easy, and He helps us carry our burdens. What a great deal He offers us!
As I was undergoing my surgeries and recoveries, I knew that Christ was helping me to bear them. Your prayers and the love and the care of my wife made Christ real and alive during that crisis.


Today, as I look around at the mess that the world is in, I remember what I went through in my illness and I recall what helped me get through it. I continue to trust in Christ and you can, too. God is in control and we, Catholic Christians can turn to Him in prayer and trust.


Last week, Vice–president Pence said, “Even when things don’t seem like they’re going the way we expected, they’re going the way [God] expected.” He continued, “If we will but hold fast to Him, we’ll see our way through these challenging times, we will restore our nation’s health, we will renew our freedom, and we will inspire people across this land with our witness of the love and compassion and strength that comes in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      
“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”


Wednesday, June 17, 2020

THE 30th NATIONAL ENCOUNTER IS GOING VIRTUAL!

National Cursillo announces "We are excited to invite you to join us for a 2020 Virtual National Encounter on July 24 and 25! We are committed to having the Cursillo Charism at the heart of our encounter. This was true for our regular in-person encounter and will hold true for our Virtual National Encounter as well! Let’s Make History Together! Live-stream Masses, Virtual Fellowship, and Breakout Sessions. Log in from your cell phone, PC, Tablet etc.

YOU CAN DOWNLOAD THE AGENDA FOR THE ENCOUNTER AT THIS LINK.

The registration fee is $50 per person if the Encounter Registration Form is received by July 5, 2020. Registration fee increases to $70.00 per person on July 6, 2020. We are unable to guarantee attendance after July 18, 2020

MORE DETAILS AND REGISTRATION FORMS CAN BE FOUND AT THIS LINK.

Please continue to pray for the success of the First Virtual National Encounter. 

BTW, The National Encounter is asking for palanca. It can be sent to cursillo.ncc.palanca@gmail.com

Saturday, May 16, 2020

THOUGHTS ON SCHOOL OF LEADERS - MAY 15, 2020 by RONNIE MARTELLA

What a joy it was to see all those who were able to join us on the Zoom call last evening for School of Leaders.    

Each time we gather, no matter the medium, we are given a chance to learn and grow from each other.   We open ourselves to what God has for us, wants to tell us and give us though our time with each other and the talks.   Each talk touches on similar but different aspects of the theme for the time.  And the Holy Spirit does what the Spirit does and brings the talks together.

But in addition to that is the chance for those in community to respond to the talks, ask questions, seek clarification, and deepen the discussion with their own experiences and resources that have discovered, and last night was no different. 

Last night, the idea of praying our most well known prayers; The Our Father, The Hail Mary and others, using different words was presented.  What a wonderful way to break open a prayer, to really reflect on what the prayer means.  We also were told about The Chosen, the story of Jesus, told through the lives of those closest to Him.   At this link you can see something of a preview of the show.   

https://studios.vidangel.com/the-chosen

Thanks to Barbara Kittle, from the Diocese of Newark, for opening me up to these wonderful resources.

At the most recent Pennington ultreya, held by conference call, several of us shared different resources we’ve discovered or that have been recommended to us. As the question on the card for Piety asks:  what spiritual aids have been of help to you? And we shared on how these resources have been spiritual aids to us.  We were reminded that we are blessed to have so many options and chances to access that we can sometimes feel overwhelmed, but we need to discern which of the resources are meant for us, through which ones does God speak to us?   Good advice to follow.

Kathy, Robert and Bob- great job, thanks again for the chance to connect, share and be with each other.

Peace,   Ronnie Martella


MARY by RONNIE MARTELLA

Prayer:        

All praise and glory are Yours, almighty Father:

You have given us Your Son Jesus to save us from sin.

We praise You for choosing Mary to be His Mother,  for teaching her to believe Your message, for helping her accept Your holy will.

Strengthen us by Your Holy Spirit to be like Mary:

To ponder Your word in our hearts,

To obey Your will,      To love Your Son,     To sing Your praises every day.

Father, we praise You through Jesus Christ, Your Son in the love of Your Spirit, for ever and ever.

Amen 

When Robert asked me to do a talk on Mary, two songs came immediately to mind:  I kept them in the back of my mind while I looked at the Catechism and other sources to prepare the talk- but the two songs stayed with me, coming to the front of my mind and on to my lips at different times.   I wondered why but I continued reading and preparing the paper….

The first source I went to was the Catechism.  For me the Catechism is something that at first glance is kind of cut and dry but when I read and really take in what is there I discover so much more.    

And the catechism tells us:

To be sure, there are as many paths of prayer as there are persons who pray, but it is the same Spirit acting in all and with all.   It is in the communion of the Holy Spirit that Christian prayer is prayer in the Church.

MARY, OUR MOTHER AND OUR FREEDOM by FATHER EDWARD BLANCHETT

Opening Prayer: 

O Mary, You shine continuously on our journey as a sign of hope. We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick, who, at the foot of the cross, were united with Jesus’ suffering, and persevered in your faith. 

Help us, Mother of Divine Love, to conform ourselves to the will of the Father and as at Cana in Galilee, to do what Jesus tells us. For he took upon himself our suffering, and burdened himself with our sorrows to bring us, through the cross, to the joy of the Resurrection. 

We fly to your protection, O Holy Mother of God; Do not despise our petitions in our necessities, but deliver us always from every danger, O Glorious and Blessed Virgin, through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 

May has historically been known as “the month of Mary”. We pay special devotions to her: we begin the month with a crowning of her image, there is special emphasis on the Marian devotion of the Rosary, there are litanies offered on her behalf, many times we end the month with – a personal favorite of mine – the feast of the Visitation. The question to ask is: Why? Why is May the month of Mary? 

According to many sources, one reason was because in ancient Greece (remember that the Church went to Greece in its earliest apostolic missions) May was the month dedicated to the Greek god Artemis (or Diana in Roman mythology), the goddess of fertility. Rededicating the month to the Mother of God was a way the early Christians looked to "baptize" pagan culture. But there can be so much more to it, and particularly to us during this time of the coronavirus pandemic, a time that is seen as a restriction to many of our freedoms in this “sheltered in place” environment; even as we slowly begin to open our churches (during the Memorial of the Apparition of Our Lady at Fatima, which was a very interesting coincidence), you won’t be able to even  step into a church building without following a lot of rules that could be seen as obstacles to your freedom. The reason I called this an “interesting coincidence” is because there is a close relationship to the view of freedom and our devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

So, to answer my first question “Why is Mary the Month of Mary”, I’m going to start with another question: What is Freedom? – there’s society’s definition, of which I looked up in the dictionary so that there’s no mistake: 

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

SCHOOL OF LEADERS COMING TO YOUR HOME! A NOTE FROM KATHY TUCKER, LAY DIRECTOR

Hello my Beloved Brothers and Sisters,

I hope everyone is healthy and safe.

We have a wonderful opportunity to have our SOL on Zoom! (Thank you Bob Morris.) We will have SOL on May 15, 2020 Friday night 7-9PM. You will be receiving an email on how to sign on your computer, iPad or cell phone.

We are hoping that we will be able to have our Quarterly Mass if we are freed from our humble abodes.

Thank you for your faith and prayers. We need to stay prayerful at this time. Continue to reach out to your fellow cursillestas!

Anyone need any shopping or medication please reach out to your families, friends and neighbors.

Any questions or issues please contact me directly.

Prayers and peace of mind to all!

Your Humble Servant, Kathy
908-415-6006

Sunday, March 29, 2020

KEEPERS by MARY ANN DOWD

Once upon a time not very long ago.  In fact, at the start of this story; there lived a loving and very wise KING.  This King created a Utopian city which he called the greatest city in all the land. The King put a group of rulers in charge of this city to rule it wisely and lovingly just as he had imagined.  The King told these rulers his magnificent dream for his kingdom. The King called these rulers Keepers and He entrusted them with the power to make his dream a reality in the greatest city in all the land.   He wanted a place where all people could live in peace and safety. He wanted his kingdom to be a place where his people could live and work and play and be happy.. The King knew his perfect plan would ensure that above all else, his people would be happy, content and at peace with each other..


The people who lived in the city had all anyone could wish for to live a happy life. .  Happiness was the most precious gift the King wanted his people to have and so he made the city beautiful with parks and streams and plenty of places for children and adults to play and have picnics and go fishing and boating.  The trees were of every color and size and some bloomed all year long.


In the winter the city was covered in a blanket of snow and the children and grown ups could skate on the ponds and ride their sleds down the hills and make snowballs and snowmen and women.  Many people worked with their hands. They built the buildings where people worked and lived. They built parks and playgrounds and museums and theaters. Some people used their minds to imagine the best way to make their city prosperous and healthy and even more beautiful for all the people.  Some stayed home to raise the children to be responsible, loving and caring adults who would honor the King and his vision and carry on the good work he had started. The citizens of the greatest city in all the land were grateful and they hoped they could always live this way thanks to their good King.


The King smiled when he saw how well his dream was coming together.  He left the city for sometime but promised to return and charged the Keepers to continue all the good work he had started.


After a few years some of the Keepers began to grow weary with simply obeying the instructions the King had given them.They began to think that they had a better plan, or, at least more ideas to make the city more of what they might envision.  After all, they reasoned, don’t we have ideas just as good as the Kings’? We can make people happy too, can’t we? What if we give them everything they ask for? So slowly the wise vision of the King began to give way to the Keepers vision for the city.  The Keepers began to turn on each other because each one wanted the love and respect of the people to show that they were the greatest in the greatest city in all the land.


So one by one they began to promise the people anything and everything they said would make them happy.  With each new promise came more power and respect for the Keeper until it became clear that no request was too outlandish or preposterous.  Some of the people’s requests forgot about being kind or loving or even moral. Soon all the dreams of the King were forgotten. The people, instead of becoming happier, became increasingly  unhappy. The beauty of the city faded into disrepair as each one argued over the best way to keep it beautiful. The joy and happiness that the people felt when they were all working and playing together became a bitter struggle to have things their own way.  The people began to realize they could go to the Keepers to get what they wanted and the Keepers knew by promising them what they wanted they could have the honor and power that was always only meant for the King.


Very soon the most beautiful city in all the land became the ugliest.  The town was covered in vines and dirt and garbage because everyone was arguing about who should clean it up so no one ever did. Even the air in the once great city became fouled and hard to breath.  The joy and happiness the people enjoyed when they were living in the plan of the King was nowhere to be seen. All the important and urgent matters of running the city were in the hands of those who were entrusted to Keep the peace.  Now, there was no peace, no joy, and sadly, no happiness.


One day the keepers received word that the King was coming back soon and was looking forward to seeing his beautiful city and all the happy people again.  The Keepers realized what they had done. We have completely abandoned the job the King left us here to do. We have gone our own way and our pride, selfishness and greed has led us to lead all the people astray..  What are we to do?  


The Keepers summoned all the people to the town square, now overgrown with weeds, the gazebo in the center of the park crumbling from disrepair.  They beseeched the people saying: “We have failed the King and we have failed all of you citizens of this great city. Please help us to restore our town to the way it was before.”  Many of the people remembered when everyone worked and played together thinking of others and lending a helping hand, when the city was beautiful and clean and the people were happy.  Now it would take a lot of hard work with everyone pulling together to make it look and feel the way it did before. The people agreed to help the Keepers but only if they could appoint new keepers from among themselves who had proven themselves to be kind and loving like the King.  The people found citizens who remembered the King and his dreams and had tried to live that way. These people, faithful to the King were appointed as new Keepers and put in charge of the greatest city in all the land. The Keepers reluctantly agreed and all of the Keepers and people began the work hoping that they would have enough time before the King returned.


This is where our story ends.  The citizens of the town came to their senses at last but was it too late?  They remembered joy and hope and happiness. They were never sure of exactly when the King would return but they were determined to do their best until He did.


.The End

Thursday, March 12, 2020

CURSILLO UPDATE FROM KATHY TUCKER, LAY DIRECTOR

My Beloved Brothers and Sisters,

I with the support of the Secretariat will be cancelling all Cursillo Events for the month of March, for the health and safety of our Cursillistas. This includes School of Leaders/Secretariat meetings.

I have cancelled Tinton Falls Ultreya for this week. My suggestion is to suspend current Ultreya meetings for this month.

Self containment for the COVID19 virus is recommended. Anyone with an immuno-compromised system should not gather in numbers. The numbers of people affected by the virus is growing at a more rapid pace than earlier predictions.

Father Ed states, ask the intercession of St. Damien of Molokai for us in this time of active uncertainty.

This is not to put fear in anyone's heart but to be prudent for health concerns.

Please disseminate this information to your Ultreyas members that do not receive e-mails.

As of March 11, 2020 the World Health Organization (WHO) has called the outbreak (COVID-19) a pandemic. The last time this happened was  2009 the WHO had declared the H1N1 Flu a pandemic.

Anyone with any concerns please call me directly or e-mail me.

God Bless Us All,
Your Humble Servant,
Kathy Tucker

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

AN UPDATE FROM THE OF TRENTON

Father Ed has made us aware of this update from the Diocese of  Trenton.

INSTRUCTIONS RE: CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) AND LITURGICAL PRACTICES

In light of the escalating concern about the spread of the coronavirus (COVID_19) Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., has issued the following instructions on liturgical practices to be observed in ALL parishes, institutions and organizations within the Diocese of Trenton, effective immediately until otherwise notified:

1. People who have flu-like symptoms or who are otherwise feeling sick should not go to Mass or other Church gatherings;

2. Priests, deacons and extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion should practice good hygiene, washing hands with soap and water or anti-bacterial hand sanitizer, before and after distributing Holy Communion;

3. People are encouraged not to receive communion on the tongue; worthy, reverent reception by hand is preferred until otherwise notified;

4. The practice of distributing the Precious Blood from the Chalice is suspended;

5. The practice of exchanging the sign of peace by any physical contact (handshake, embrace, kissing) is suspended.
We continue to encourage the faithful to stay informed through our diocesan communications online at :

https://dioceseoftrenton.org/coronavirus

as well as through the Centers for Disease Control and prevention at: 
www.cdc.gov/COVID19

Father Ed offers additional background information which can be found at Visitation Parish website at https://visitationrcchurch.org/coronavirus-update

Friday, February 28, 2020

FIRST SUNDAY IN LENT by DEACON TONY MARTUCCI

Ash Wednesday You are dust and unto dust you shall return.  Someone is under my bed, either coming or going!


After His baptism, Jesus went into the desert for forty days to pray and fast in order to prepare for His ministry. So many times during His lifetime, Jesus went off by Himself to pray, to spend time with His Father. We can learn a great deal from this. 


Lent is our time to come apart from our normal activity to pray and sacrifice in order to grow closer to God in preparation for the celebration of the Triduum and Easter Sunday. Many of us decide to fast from a particular food, such as candy, or desserts. Some of us will try to pray more often, say an extra rosary every day, or attend Mass during the week. One year my Dad gave up cigarettes for lent- it was very hard on him, but even harder on us, his family, as his temper grew short. One friend of mine gave up his morning WaWa coffee, and drank hot chocolate instead. He gained ten pounds.


Lenten sacrifices should be a meaningful gesture of self-denial for the love of God. It is even better when it helps us grow in self-control and in deeper appreciation of the gifts and graces we have in our lives. 


Here are a few suggestions that you might consider as alternatives to our usual Lenten fasts.


Most of us have some attachment to our gadgets and digital media. Lent is the perfect time to fast from them. Spend less time on TV, computer or smart phone. One Radio host has given up tweeting for Lent. If that seems like too hard, try giving it up for the weekend, or an hour each day.


Fast from negative talk or criticism. One year a group of us tried this. It was difficult at first, but since there were several of us, we were able to help each other and made it through Easter. Our work environment became so pleasant and we continued it long after Easter.


Fast from non-essential shopping.  Dont go looking for those special sales, or the latest gadgets. If you must go into a store, bring a list of essentials with you and buy only those thing. Go a step further, and give the money you might save to the poor.


We all love our snacks, as you can clearly see. Often they are harder to give up than a meal. We eat when we are stressed, or tired, or just relaxing. Remember the reason you are doing this and say a prayer for those who may not have eaten at all that day. I have stopped buying snacks that I like so they are not lying around, calling me at night. The money I save goes into the poor box.


I love listening to music and talk radio. Often, the second thing I do after I get up in the morning is to turn on the radio. It is also almost impossible for me to drive without some music in the car. Facing the quiet can be uncomfortable, but we can discover God speaking to us in the silence.


Approach meal planning with a Lenten attitude. Eat simpler meals during Lent. Cut out sweets, or bread, or gravy, or alcohol.  Refrain from foods that seem decadent or celebratory- foods that you associate with holiday meals.

Each of these activities, done in the proper spirit for the love of God, can help us to train our bodies and our spirits to be more attuned to God in our lives every day. This year try something different.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

DIOCESAN MASS - MARCH 6, 2020



The Diocesan Mass will be:
Friday March 6, 2020 at 8PM
Visitation
730 Lynwood Ave
Brick NJ 08723
Following the First Friday Eucharistic Adoration Holy Hour.
Hope to see you there!

Monday, January 27, 2020

CELEBRATE GOD'S LOVE AT A VALENTINE'S DAY DANCE

Robert Lauricella invites all to come celebrate God's Love at the Saint Mary Parish Valentine's Dance. It includes a delicious Buffet Dinner, DJ, a supervised kids program, lots of Dancing, and so much more!!! Admission only $25 for adults, $5 for Children. Call your family and friends to reserve a table. All Welcome - Couples, Singles, Grandparents, Families and Friends. For more information call: (732) 671-0071 ext 239.


Tuesday, January 14, 2020

"CATHOLIC MAN FOR CHRIST" RALLY COMING SOON

Don Geiger writes: "Breaking News!!! NY Yankees Mark Teixeira coming to Saint Mary's to speak at the Catholic Men for Jesus Christ Rally on February 29, 2020. This Men's Rally could sell out quickly. 

Register today at www.CATHOLICMENFORJESUSCHRIST.org

Pass the word and invite our brothers to come. Thanks!"