Thursday, November 9, 2017


October is called the month of the Rosary. We even have a memorial for Our Lady of the Rosary on Oct. 7, to commemorate the Christian victory over Muslim forces at Lepanto in the Mediterranean, a victory attributed to Pope Pius V and his call for all of Europe to invoke our Lady on behalf of Christian forces. The Rosary also figured strongly in the apparition of Fatima, which celebrated its 100 anniversary on Oct 13 just a few days ago.

But what exactly is the Rosary? Latin for “crown of roses”, it is one of the best-known and least understood of devotions. Used by the Catholic Church (although there are also devotees in the Eastern Orthodox Churches and even some Anglican and Lutheran ecclesial communities), there are many who view praying the Rosary as contrary to Jesus’ injunction against the “repetitive babbling like the pagans” of Matthew chapter 6 verse 7. Also, some see it as placing Mary above Jesus (the “Mary worship” of which Catholic are often accused).

I think that it might be helpful it we take a look at those mysteries. If you look at the mysteries (which was 15, now 20, and I’ll talk more about that shortly), we find that they describe events in the life of Jesus and Mary. The events in the life of Jesus: his birth, childhood, public ministry, suffering and death, Resurrection, Ascension and sending of the Holy Spirit. Makes sense, doesn’t it? But they also depict events in the life of Mary: the Annunciation by the angel Gabriel, the Visitation, her and Joseph first presenting the infant and then finding the 12-year old Jesus in the Temple, her Assumption and Crowning as the Queen of Heaven. Why would they be included? It is to highlight that, just as none of those events take place independent of the workings of God, no devotion to our Blessed Mother should exclude recognition of those same workings of God, particularly through her Son.

That helps to give perspective to the value that the Rosary has for us as Christians: in reflecting upon these events in the life of Mary and her Son we draw ourselves closer to God. But what about the repetition charge? Might our Protestant brothers and sisters have a point? For the answer to that, let’s take a BRIEF look at its history.

St. Dominic de Guzman, the founder of the Order of Preachers (commonly called the Dominicans) is the saint to whom Our Lady appeared and gave the devotion of the Holy Rosary in 1214 to assist him in combating the Albigensian heresy. It was the belief that there were two equally powerful forces represented by God and the Evil One: light and dark, the soul and the body, the next life and this life, peace and war. Its followers also believed that Jesus only seemed to have a human body. It was a movement that threatened to tear the Church apart in the 13th Century. As Dominic was working without success to convert souls back to the one true faith, Our Lady gave him a powerful weapon, the Angelic Salutation [the Angel Gabriel’s greeting to the Virgin Mary at the Incarnation], and the pattern in which it should be prayed.

If Dominic would preach her rosary and its meditations on the life of Christ, many souls would be converted from their error and saved through her intercession. The Blessed Virgin said to him: “Wonder not that you have obtained so little fruit by your labors, you have spent them on barren soil, not yet watered with the dew of Divine grace. When God willed to renew the face of the earth, He began by sending down on it the fertilizing rain of the Angelic Salutation. Therefore preach my Psalter composed of 150 Angelic Salutations and 15 Our Fathers, and you will obtain an abundant harvest.”

As Dominic preached using this devotion, it began to enter deeply into the life of the people. With three Rosaries of 50 prayers, patterned after the 150 Psalms 
prayed by the monks during the Divine Office, the Liturgy of the Hours, the largely illiterate common-folk were able to participate in their way to give glory to God. Slowly, through the preaching of the Dominicans and gathering appeal of the Rosary, more people began to come back to true practice of the faith. The Rosary was officially adopted as a devotion of the universal Church In 1569 by Pope Pius V (who was a Dominican and is the reason that popes wear white cassocks) and remained largely unchanged from the 16th through the 21st Centuries.

In praying the Rosary, it is meant to be repetitive, but NOT for its own sake. When we quietly and deliberately pray the well-known prayers of the Our Father and the Haily Marys, we are called to put aside our concerns. In prayer, we are challenged to calm the passions, to focus the will, and free the intellect to reflect on the Mystery and its place in the economy of salvation. We replace the anxieties that we experience with a reflection on the Mystery that we pray. Following the pattern of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, we place ourselves in the scene, observe the actors, share in their experience and what they are trying to teach us. Obviously, and especially in today’s world, there are extraordinary challenges to this kind of exercise and the ability to remain focused. I find that when I’m distracted during prayer of the Rosary, it helps to take a moment and become more mindful of my surroundings and my day, including activities that, although accomplishing my agenda, may not be accomplishing what God wants me to do. Then, finding them, I ask for His help on how to overcome and properly order those things. If worse comes to worse and I find myself falling asleep while praying the Rosary, I’m reminded of the words of that great English philosopher, Sir Michael Phillip Jagger: “you can’t always get what you want but, if you try sometimes, you get what you need!” An inability to stay conscious and focused on the prayer may be an indication that I need to put aside 
the concerns for the day and take some rest instead – don’t worry, they’ll still be there tomorrow!

For centuries the Rosary was three sets of Mysteries: the Joyful, the Sorrowful and the Glorious. In 2002, Pope St. John Paul II added the Luminous Mysteries (the Mysteries of Light). Although doing so put an end to the connection between the Rosary and the Church’s prayer in the Liturgy of the Hours, it added a new dimension to the devotion: a connection to the Sacraments of the Church. All seven Sacraments of the Church are included in the Luminous Mysteries, drawn from the life of Christ in his public ministry:

1st Mystery – Jesus’ Baptism in the Jordan: Baptism, the means by which the Lord of life, although sinless himself, made available as the gateway to free us from sin and open to us the other ways to receive grace.

2nd Mystery – The Miracle at the Wedding in Cana: Marriage and its elevation to a sacrament by the miraculous 
action of our Lord.

3rd Mystery – Jesus Announces the Coming of the Kingdom: the sacraments of healing, Confession and Anointing of the Sick, in bringing God’s mercy together through the Good News in the coming of that Kingdom.

4th Mystery – the Transfiguration: Confirmation and Holy Orders. As Jesus invited his closest friends to witness his glory in preparation for his suffering, so he invites us through the sacraments that transfigure us, giving to us in the completion of our intiation into the Catholic faith the permanent seal of the Holy Spirit, imparts His gifts in Confirmation and the call to become as much like Christ as they can to those individuals called to the sacrament of Holy Orders.

5th Mystery – Jesus institutes the Eucharist: in the establishment of the Blessed Sacrament we are reminded how this was done for all of time. Jesus Christ is the light of the world. He is the light of the Church and so the Blessed Sacrament is a mystery of light because it is a mystery of Christ.

As Cursillistas, the Rosary is an important part of our work in evangelization. To quote from the Manual of Cursillo in the section “Doctrinal Foundations of Cursillo”:

The Guide of the Director in the Manual of Leaders shows the director of the Cursillo reminding and offering to the candidates to pray the Rosary on the first night. It is recommended that it be repeated at the examination of conscience every night, as well as at morning prayers. In addition, regarding the place of the Virgin Mary within the Cursillo, we must point out that there is no Talk exclusively dedicated to her, although we must admit that all the Cursillo is impregnated with filial devotion to Mary, together with allusions to Mary in many instances and to practices of Marian piety. The fact that a talk is not exclusively dedicated to her is not an impediment to positioning her to a rightful place within theology and the History of Salvation, as well as in the heart of the “cursillista”.

During the Cursillo weekend, the Rosary is prayed, insisting on the role of Mary as Mother of the divine Grace. In the the Pilgrims’ Guide, the Holy Rosary and the Sabbatical Prayers are included, as well as the Angelus and the Memorare (the great prayer of Saint Bernard). In the Talk on Life in Grace Mary is presented as the mediatrix of all graces and her spiritual maternity will be emphasised. It is very significant that the first page of the Pilgrim’s Guide quotes Mary in its definition of what going on pilgrimage is about. It states: To be a pilgrim is to walk through Christ towards the Father, on the impulses of the Holy Spirit, with the help of Mary and all the saints, journeying with fellow pilgrims.

We must therefore conclude that Mary occupies a very important place for the participants in Cursillo and for all us in our Fourth Day. Our Movement, literally 
born and placed in her lap through her Son, continues to be supported and celebrated by devotions and profound love are lavished on Mary, of which the Rosary is first. Through the Rosary, we are called to be mindful, not only of her, but also to her Son, to which all devotions should ultimately lead.

In this way, we keep ourselves aware of the great love of Mother and Son for each other and for the world. We can reflect upon and echo in our lives the words of Servant of God, Archbishop Fulton Sheen, who said, "The Rosary is the book where souls see and there enact the greatest drama of love the world has ever known."

St. Domenic patron of the Rosary and St. Paul, patron of Cursillo, pray for us. ¡De Colores!

Thursday, November 2, 2017


Trenton 126 is in dire need of your help. Because of the small number of team members, we especially need community to be our prayer partners. If you can come to St. Alfofonso's Chapel and pray for the team, we would very much appreciate it.

The Chapel is on the second floor. It is OK for there to be more than one person in the Chapel to pray for the team and candidates. Please use the back stairwell to access Chapel.  Directions will be posted. 

If you can help, please contact Maria Palumbo 908-601-6234 or Kathy Tucker 908-415-6006 or email us at 

Know Yourself - Thursday 8:30PM
The Prodigal Son - Thursday 9:30PM
Three Glances of Christ - Friday 7AM
Ideal - Friday 9:30 AM
Grace - Friday 10:30AM
Laity - Friday 1:15 PM
Faith/Divine Aid/Palanca - Friday 2:15PM
Piety - Friday 4:15 PM
The Person of Christ - Saturday 7AM
Eucharist Talk - Saturday 7:30AM
Study - Saturday 9:15 AM
Sacraments - Saturday 10:15AM
Action - Saturday 2 PM
Obstacles to Grace - Saturday 3PM
Leaders - Saturday 6:30 PM
Study of the Enviornment - Sunday 9:10 AM
Life in Grace - Sunday 10:40AM
Christianity in Action - Sunday 1 PM
Cursillista Beyond The Cursillo And Total Security - Sunday 2 PM

We also need help with:

Set-up Thursday 4-5
Check in: 7PM Thursday  
Take down Sunday 2-3

We also need Snacks and Bottled Water


Monday, October 30, 2017


Sunday’s readings resonate the theme of loving God and our neighbor. To accomplish both we must open our hearts. As cursillistas we are called to bring God’s love to others through the Cursillo Method and that, often, is not easy. It takes time and understanding, patience and cooperation, work and money.

I am appealing to my fellow cursillistas to show your love to the team and candidates of the upcoming weekend for men that is scheduled for December 7-10 at San Alfonso Retreat House, Long Branch. We have been blessed with candidates (currently 8-10) but our team is small, only 4-5 men, not including our Father Ed Blanchett and Deacon John Clymore. The team will be tasked to do double duty with talks, facilitating, and accomplishing all that the weekend entails.

With only a few men to accommodate the candidates it is impossible for any of the team to pray in the chapel for the speakers as they give their talks. We need cursillistas (both men and women) to come forward and pray for the speakers as they give their talks, all three days, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. 

You can enter through the back stairs and pray in the chapel as long as you want. Kathy Tucker will be coordinating times and schedules so that, with your help, all the talks will be covered. Kathy can be reached at 908-415-6006.

We have defrayed the cost of the weekend to those attending by covering part of the expense through your donations. For the last several weekends we have been asking each participant to pay $200 while the cost is actually $285. This difference, coupled with those with financial difficulties, has dwindled our account. We are asking every cursillista to give $30 (or whatever you can afford) to fund this weekend. I am also asking every Ultreya Leader to take up a collection at your next meeting. Please send all money to our Treasurer: JoAnne Henderson, 48 Bershire Road, Whiting NJ 08759.

Only through your love of God and neighbor can this be accomplished. I am certain that as cursillistas we will rise to the task. God bless you for all that you do and thank you so much. De Colores.

Sunday, October 29, 2017


It was in the year 1988 that dear friends of me and my husband began talking to us about living a Cursillo weekend.  Needless to say, I was not impressed; but, my husband was hooked.  We began hearing words that I never heard before: Cursillo, Ultreya, Rector, Lay Director.  I was thinking is this some kind of a religious cult!?

As husband and wife we did many things together, went on retreats, workshops, Marriage Encounter, Pre-Cana with these same friends for many years.  Being shy and timid, I found it hard to mingle with a group of strangers without my husband by my side.  Well, to make a long story short, being an obedient wife, I finally consented to go on the all women's weekend: Trenton #66, in Bordentown in 1988.  Guess what?  Who was the one who got involved and stayed involved for over 29 years?

In the past I have been privileged to serve on teams for four Cursillos in Christianity with these titles:  "Birds of the Air", "Change of Hearts", "Earthen Vessels" and "Be Not Afraid".  I have also sponsored four of my friends to make a Cursillo.

We are a community of women and men throughout the Diocese of Trenton and all over the world with Cursillos being held on five continents.  We meet for Masses, School of Leaders, Ultreya and social events.  So many friendships have developed since the motto of the Cursillista is "make a friend, be a friend, and bring that friend to Christ".  Whenever we meet Piety, Study, and Action are things we share to strengthen each other on our walk with and for Our Lord.

What follows is my Action and Piety which have taken place over the years:

For a number of years I attended Ultreya in the home of dear friends.  Ultreya is a faith sharing group which continues to meet after the Cursillo weekend.  It is scheduled at a particular time and place and is on-going.  There came a time where these friends could no longer continue our meetings in their home and we were without a place to hold our permanent meetings.

About the same time, we moved to a larger house in Tinton Falls and I was asking God: why am I here in this big house, new area, new Church, new neighbors, what do you want me to do?  Well, the light bulb went on.  Open up your home to Ultreya meetings and this is how Tinton Falls Ultreya got it's name.  Be careful with prayer-God can be funny at times.  we not only opened our home to Ultreya, My husband had a bible session every other Saturday morning as well.  My husband belonged to a prayer group and the men alternated having the meeting at different homes.

Every year in January on the same day as the March for Life, we would have a prayer service for Life for anyone who was unable to attend the March in Washington D.C.  Time marches on in our spiritual life just as in our physical one and so after my husband went home to The Lord, it was necessary for me to move to a smaller home and I was concerned that we may not be able to accommodate the Ultreya.  But once again, God answered my concerns and we have been able to continue just as before in my new home.

Age is creeping up on all of us and over the years some people can no longer attend the Ultreya and some have gone home to The Lord.  I stand before you and I see a new generation who will be taking over the movement in the future.  To all of you I offer my blessings and the hope that God will continue to shower HIS Graces and blessings upon each of you. 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017


To all cursillistas who may read this:

I was struck by the tripod I witnessed at the Columbus Day Parade this afternoon.  While so many are trying to tear down our statues and destroy any good which they represent not just of Columbus but so many other heroes who while they may not have been perfect men, are honored for various honorable things they did or traits they possessed.

I was amazed at how on this Columbus day I witnessed our tripod of piety study and action at this year's parade:

PIETY - The parade started with a prayer service at St. Patrick's Cathedral (something I never realized)

STUDY - Thousands of copies of the Constitution of the United States were handed out at the parade.  STUDY what it really says and does NOT say

ACTION - all of the various charitable works of amazing people both Italians and non-Italians alike who give back to this country out of love and gratitude for what they and their ancestors have received.  Maybe God meant the tripod for everyone - not just cursillistas or maybe, with the help of God, everyone can become a Cursillista!

PS: Big shout out for that amazing St. Pio float!!!

Monday, September 18, 2017


An article about our recent Cursillo installation "Prayer Key Lesson as Trenton Cursillo Movement Installs New Officers" can be found at the Trenton Monitor website at this link.

A Photo Gallery of 20 pictures from the Mass can be found at this link.

Monday, September 11, 2017


Wow! I’m really surprised! Looking around I realize no one has left yet. I guess that’s the reason why we don’t serve the cake until the end. Well, get ready, you’re in for it!
Let’s pray together: O Lord our God, you have called all those who bear the mane of your Son to serve one another and the world around us by the works of faith and love. Renew our zeal for the tasks you have given us, that we may serve the coming of your kingdom, through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
Here I am! And I have big shoes to fill, big shoes. Rick Klarmann has done such a tremendous job serving as lay director these past two years, it’s just incredible. We had several weekends and have expanded our horizons. We were published in The Monitor and we have been on the radio! We have funded two weekends and looking to do a third. What accomplishments! Applaud.
When I first got to work with Rick I found him to be a teacher, coach, guide, supporter, true friend. I also knew him as holy, gentle, kind, understanding and loving. We worked so well together, I would tell Rick we were like bread and butter, peanut butter and jelly. And it didn’t matter who was the peanut butter, we just melded. I could not have picked a better lay director and a better person to work with. Being Rick, he would tell it like it is but in his own gentle, kind way. I still remember asking him what I would do at School of Leaders if a speaker didn’t show up and he said simply, “You go to plan B.” I asked him what was plan B. He said, “You are plan B.” That’s when I realized I needed to have a backup in my back pocket just in case. And sure enough, it happened. And we got through it, together. Thank you, Rick, for that.
I am also so grateful to Rick for all the prayers and the 59 day novena said over the last few weeks for me and secretariat. What a beautiful, prayerful, loving gift! What could be more cherished? What could be better than prayer? Thank you, Rick, for that, too.
Rick, you are an incredible individual but an even better Catholic, an awesome cursillista. I can only hope to continue the ministry and to be as devoted, caring, hopeful and energetic as you have been. All of us here are grateful and thank you for your service. Applaud.
But time moves on and here I am. What a journey it has been for me! Twenty years s it has been since I made my weekend, yes, it was 1997. Did I think then for one second I would be up here today? No, not at all.
Since that time, I have experienced many changes, many joys, sorrows, too. I have made friends and lost them. I have expanded my family while leaving others behind. I have felt truly blessed and I have felt discouraged, hopeful and frustrated, love and sadness.
All of these emotions are experienced by everyone sometime in their lives so I can’t really say I had an extraordinary past twenty years. But my reactions, my responses, my attitudes, to these moments I had in my life were different; they were unusual, they were extraordinary, all because of Cursillo. Cursillo, you say, made the difference? Why would a three day weekend and a few meetings with fellow Cursillo friends make that much of a difference? But it did!
Because of Cursillo, I was closer to Christ than ever before, knowing what my life on earth is meant to do. I had purpose, and I had understanding. I knew what God had called for me to do: to act like Him as best as I could and to spread the work of Him who sent to me so that we all may profit from His love.
It was different because I not only knew what God wanted from me; I was willing to give it. I was surrounded by people that didn’t abandon you at the first sign of adversity, that didn’t say let’s get together but never do, that say if you need anything ask, but are not available. I was now part of a group that made a difference, got involved, helped each other, worked together, prayed for each other and truly loved one another unconditionally.
Because of Cursillo, I was able to handle drastic changes in my life: sickness, work, loss of family, all with an attitude that it is Christ’s will and He will get you through it. I felt safe, secure and loved. This was evident in the responses I received from my cursillistas. In Cursillo, you are never alone. Cursillistas are like angels that come to help you, attend to you and comfort you in your time of need. And they never give up, they never stop caring.
Because of Cursillo I felt a greater joy than ever when I was blessed: retirement, new house, health and grandchildren. I felt so privileged, so joyous that God would give me so much in so many ways. The joys stayed in my heart and they were shared with fellow cursillistas who were not jealous or envious but so happy to see good things happen. The joys became infectious and lasted long after the events became the norm.
Because of Cursillo I experience life differently. I am aware of my surroundings. I am amazed at God’s work in everything I see. I share along with my fellow cursillistas their trials and hopes and successes and I rejoice in their lives, knowing that God has his hand in everything. I have a new appreciation for the surprise of each new day and how can it bring me closer to God. I reflect often on my fellow cursillistas and how they are coping with their tasks and I pray to God for them.
In this, another milestone in my life, I can only ask as Pope Francis did, to pray for me. May I be your worthy servant in this task that I am truly blessed, honored and privileged to accept.
This short article from author Jeannie Ewing sums up how I feel as the Cursillo Lay Director:
In the spring, a female robin began building her nest on our neighbor’s porch, within view from our kitchen. My husband, two daughters, and I followed this little bird’s journey into motherhood as she patiently and diligently sat on her nest for weeks without much respite. Finally, her eggs hatched, and the full-time feeding frenzy began.
My oldest daughter, Felicity, squealed in delight as the fluffy baby robins stretched their necks and opened their beaks for food. Mama and Daddy robin were rotating the feeding schedule, and we were privy to the details that God provided for us.
Within two weeks, the four young robins, spotted and red-breasted, seemed eager to fly. They practiced flapping their wings, and the girls and I were certain on a few occasions that we’d witness their departure from the nest. Suddenly, the birds were gone, and we’d missed the entire pivotal moment.
Later that day, I saw a quote that reminded me of the family of robins. “What if I fall?” Oh, dearest, but what if you fly?” The robin family reminded me of my own vocation to motherhood – waiting, learning, changing, and letting go.
Everything in our lives has the potential to evoke fear or hope in us. We may fall, but we may fly. What we risk by trusting God during the growth spurts of life is what we gain in heaven. If we don’t step into the unknown and risk failure, we will never know if we can fly. Don’t be afraid to fly.

So how do I feel now? I’m ready to fly. Are you with me? De Colores!

Saturday, September 9, 2017


A beautiful treat for all!

Our new Lay Director, Mary Weis

Our new Past Lay Director, Rick Klarmann

Mary Weis and new Assistant Lay Director,
Kathy Tucker

Mary and Rick

Past Lay Directors - September, 2017
Front Row: 
Mary Weis, Ronnie Martella, Mary Ann Dowd, 

Middle Row:
John DiStefano, Rick Klarmann, Pat Martucci, 
Cynthia Diamond, John Cifordella

Back Row: 
Len Capobianco, Al Martella, 
Dick Hemler, Dick Andrejack, Bill Grippo


"I’m forwarding the latest news from our Sr. Ann Crawley in Haiti that was sent to Sr. Sheila, our Congregation Leader, that I’m requesting you to send out on the Prayer Tree.  There are also photos attached. Please thank the Cursillo Community for all their PRAYERS. Many thanks, Sr. Clara

Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace

Pursuing justice, we seek God's gift of peace.
September 8, 2017

Dear Clara,  

Thanks, all, for your prayers.  This email arrived from Sister Ann today along with some photos below.

Sheila, your prayers have been answered; we have weathered the storm and have come through safely though exhausted.  Thanks too for the prayers and support of all our Sisters, Associates and Friends. Our people of Haiti are fine. They have lost crops and many houses are in ruins but they are alive and well and that's what matters.  

Thanks be to God for our newly built houses which gave protection and shelter to many poor families. I have been visiting with families this morning bringing  food packs  which contain all the essential nutrients and vitamins . All were absolutely delighted all to get the food which can be prepared in minutes!  My band of helpers aided in the distribution to about 1000 families.

Sheila, once more thank you for your prayers and support at this critical time and for the prayers  of our many friends and Associates.  

God bless all. Ann

Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace, 399 Hudson Terrace, Englewood Cliffs, NJ 07632

Some photos taken this morning.   Houses in ruins after the storms. Fallen banana trees which these people depend on for food.  Distribution of food packs.

Friday, September 8, 2017


Adelaide Sangiorgi invites all to attend the Champion for Life Dinner to honor Deacon Ed. Jennings at 5pm at Doolan’s Shore Club (700 State Highway 71, Spring Lake, NJ 07762). Deacon Ed Jennings will be honored as the group’s “Champion for Life.” There will be a Cursillo table there. In order to attend, you must complete a request form. The form can be downloaded at this link. IMPORTANT: Please write on their reservation “Add me to the Cursillo table with Adelaide Sangiorgi”