Tuesday, December 27, 2005

In Memoriam

On Christmas night, at approximately 8:20 pm, two Jersey City police officers performed their final acts of service to the people of Jersey City and the surrounding areas. Police Officers Shawn Carson and Robert Nguyen, members of the Emergency Services Unit, responded to a call for traffic flares to be placed on the west side of the Hackensack River (Draw) Bridge on Lincoln Highway (Route 1 & 9).

These officers crossed the drawbridge and placed the flares in order to alert drivers to the dangerous conditions at the bridge. The fog was thick and heavy, rendering visibility to nothing. In addition, safety equipment at the bridge had been damaged two days earlier and was scheduled to be repaired during this week. As a result of the damage to the safety equipment (concrete barrier, descending wooden arm, and audible bell), the only safety warning available was a red traffic light which in the dark of the night was not visible.

Officers Carson and Nguyen placed the requested flares at the appropriate points and returned to their ESU vehicle to head back into Jersey City. They wished their colleagues "Merry Christmas" and with light hearts headed east over the bridge they had crossed just moments before. However, in the thick fog that enveloped them, they did not know that in those few minutes the bridge had been raised for passage by a tugboat. As they attempted to cross the bridge to head "home," they instead plunged into the Hackensack River falling 40 feet from the end of the roadway into 40 degree water.

Eyewitnesses, upon realizing they were headed back over the open bridge, jumped on their cartops and tried to get their attention while the four other police officers on the scene for a previous auto accident, attempted to get in their way and called their attention by waving their flashlights. It all happened so quickly, nothing could stop what was happening.

As members of the Jersey City Police Department's Emergency Services Unit, both officers were trained rescue and recovery scuba divers. Ironically, among the first on the scene to search for them were their own team members. A full search has been underway since then. Later that night, around 10 pm, Officer Carson's body was found and he was later pronounced dead at University Hospital in Newark. Officer Nguyen is still missing.

Due to the rough currents of the channel, the recovery mission (as it is now considered) is stopped periodically while sonar is used in an attempt to locate the missing officer.

By all honest accounts, both Officer Carson and Officer Nguyen were good men, good cops, who truly put their lives at the service of the people both on- and off-duty. Both gave of themselves to the communities in which they lived. Both loved the city and its people and wanted nothing more than to serve among Jersey City's finest.

While I now know of them but did not know them personally, I do have quite a few friends and acquaintances on the Jersey City Police Department. When news first broke of the tragedy, my heart was in my throat. My support, prayers, and sympathy go out to the family, friends, and loved ones of these two hero officers who died in the line of duty and to the Jersey City Police Department I also offer my sincere condolences and a salute.

As the details of this tragedy continue to unfold, may Officer Carson's and Officer Nguyen's deaths not be in vain. May the lives they lived, in fullness until the end, inspire us all to be better people! May they rest in peace, amen!

Something fun to try!

Your Christmas is Most Like: A Very Brady Christmas
For you, it's all about sharing times with family.
Even if you all get a bit cheesy at times.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Wishes for Christmas!


Christmas 2005

Dear Friends,

On this second day of Christmas, I want to take the opportunity to extend to you my warmest wishes for a Blessed Christmas and Grace-filled New Year! You are in my prayers.

My wish for you is the ongoing realization of God's gift of Emmanuel, God-with-us! May this God-life fill your being and overflow into every aspect of your world, filling the lives of those with whom you come in contact with hope and peace.

Although I was not able to get my greetings to you ahead of the arrival of Christmas Day, please be assured that I have remembered you -- and continue to -- in my prayers and thoughts before the Eucharist and at the manger. As I journey through the difficult days since the death of my eldest dog, Lady (who lived with my Mom), I am reminded that God's unconditional love is revealed through all creation.

As we continue to mark these sacred days of the Christmas season, know that I offer prayers of gratitude for you, thankful for all you are! May the Blessings of the Christ Child continue to be yours in gentle overflowing abundance.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Update on Lady

During the day on Sunday and through Monday, Lady started to show some signs of stabilizing. Once we were able to get some control over her pain/discomfort, we were optimistic, in consultation with her doctor, that we might be able to manage the cancer for a while and have her experience quality of life for whatever time she would have remaining. However, despite those good intentions and best attempts, God has another plan for Lady and called her home to Him. Just about 14 years to the day that she came to be part of our family.

The time since I received the news of her death has been very difficult. I am writing this post in between episodes of crying. I rationalize with myself that this is better for her and I should be grateful (which I am) for the blessings, but at the same time, I know that I will miss her deeply. I just knew that she'd be there, loving me unconditionally. The realization came to me, although I have always bonded deeply with my pets, that Lady was the first dog I raised from puppyhood with me being an adult. The relationship with Lady is not only long-term but very interdependent. In some ways, even when I moved from home, I took for granted that she'd be there. I am glad I had the opportunity to be with over the course of her final days with us. I only wish there had been more opportunities when she was healthy over the past few years. A lesson learned at a high price! While my family and friends will tell me that I was good to her and contributed to giving her a good life, it's my nature to always look at what else I could have done. It's just the way I am made ...

It's impossible to sum up 14 years of a pet's life. For now, I can only say that Lady is synonymous with goodness and she has reflected God's unconditional love through the best and worst of times. May she experience wholeness and peace now and a happy reunion with her beloved companion and with my Dad.

Thanks for the prayers -- please keep them coming! She's presently at the Pet Funeral Home where they will keep her until next week when we will have a farewell and gratitude ceremony and then she will be cremated.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Prayers, please.

For my eldest dog, Lady, who lives with my Mom and the family. She has a very aggressive form of cancer and her condition has declined significantly and suddenly. She has been a good dog her whole life and a much loved part of the family. We certainly don't want to say "goodbye," but of course we don't want her to suffer. So far, she seems to be resting comfortably and we are keeping her as comfortable and accompanied as possible. Your prayers are greatly appreciated.

In the meantime, please feel free to post any special pet memories you'd like to share.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Spiritual Skills Assessment

Try this link to Spirituality Skills Assessment Thanks to Susan for sharing the information on it. The assessment is a brief exercise, and I found it quite interesting to view the results. Although there is not any narrative analysis of the score, it was quite reflection provoking to contemplate the visual report via a bar graph of strengths regarding over a dozen skill and value areas.

Reflection on Media & Spirituality

Click on the post title to go to a beautiful reflection by Sister Rose Pacatte, fsp on media and the spirituality. In the reflection, Sister Rose begins with thoughts on the experiences of her recent thirty day Ignatian retreat. It's an easy read yet very powerful and thought-provoking.

If you are not familiar with her work, this is a good introduction to her ministry of media and movies.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

An Absolutely Worthwhile Event ...

Who else spends their New Year's Eve
for the benefit of others?
Not many,
but there's really no better way to spend it ...
The Dahntay Jones Foundation --
"changing the world, one child at a time."

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

What Christmas Carol are you?

This quiz linked on Natty's blog looked like fun (and it was). It takes only a few minutes so give it a try!

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
You are 'Hark! The Herald Angels Sing'. You take
Christmas very seriously. For you, it is a
religious festival, celebrating the birth of
the Saviour, and its current secularisation
really irritates you. You enjoy the period of
Advent leading up to Christmas, and attend any
local carol services you can find, as well as
the more contemplative Advent church services
each Sunday. You may be involved in Christmas
food collections or similar charity work. The
midnight service at your church, with candles
and carols, is one you look forward to all
year, and you also look forward to the family
get together on Christmas Day.

What Christmas Carol are you?
brought to you by

Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe

December 12, 2005
The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Oh Immaculate Lady of Tepeyac,
you came to show us the beauty and persistence of God's love
by revealing yourself to the humble peasant Juan Diego.

Under the mantle your protection,
we walk in the rosebed of your love and the love of your only Son Jesus.

Grant today that we who wait God's coming each day with Advent hope and Christmas wonder
may know the true meaning of God's Incarnation in our lives.


Oh Maria, madre mia,
oh consuelo del mortal!
Amparadme y guiadme
a la patria celestial.
Amparadme y guiadme
a la patria celestial.
Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe, ruega por nosotros.
San Juan Diego, ruega por nosotros.

Monday, December 12, 2005

A Little Something Different

Mark Mossa posted a link to an interesting diversion at Music Outfitters .

What you do is scroll down towards the bottom half of the page and find the year of your graduation from high school. Click on the link for your year and discover a list of the top 100 songs for that year.

Then post the list to your website. You can bold those you like and italicize or strikethrough those you don't. I should note that the bolded or italicized performer's names refer only to the particular song and does not necessarily reflect my taste for the rest of the music.

It's just a little something fun ...

Oh yes, and don't forget to "tag" a few friends :)

1. Walk Like An Egyptian, Bangles
2. Alone, Heart
3. Shake You Down, Gregory Abbott
4. I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me), Whitney Houston
5. Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now, Starship
6. C'est La Vie, Robbie Nevil
7. Here I Go Again, Whitesnake
8. The Way It Is, Bruce Hornsby and the Range
9. Shakedown, Bob Seger
10. Livin' On A Prayer, Bon Jovi
11. La Bamba, Los Lobos
12. Everybody Have Fun Tonight, Wang Chung
13. Don't Dream It's Over, Crowded House
14. Always, Atlantic Starr
15. With Or Without You, U2
16. Looking For A New Love, Jody Watley
17. Head To Toe, Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam
18. I Think We're Alone Now, Tiffany
19. Mony Mony, Billy Idol
20. At This Moment, Billy Vera and The Beaters
21. Lady In Red, Chris De Burgh
22. Didn't We Almost Have It All, Whitney Houston
23. I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For, U2
24. I Want Your Sex, George Michael
25. Notorious, Duran Duran
26. Only In My Dreams, Debbie Gibson
27. (I've Had) The Time Of My Life, Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes
28. The Next Time I Fall, Peter Cetera and Amy Grant
29. Lean On Me, Club Nouveau
30. Open Your Heart, Madonna
31. Lost In Emotion, Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam
32. (I Just) Died In Your Arms, Cutting Crew
33. Heart And Soul, T'pau
34. You Keep Me Hangin' On, Kim Wilde
35. Keep Your Hands To Yourself, Georgia Satellites
36. I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me), Aretha Franklin and George Michael
37. Control, Janet Jackson
38. Somewhere Out There, Linda Ronstadt and James Ingram
39. U Got The Look, Prince
40. Land Of Confusion, Genesis
41. Jacob's Ladder, Huey Lewis and The News
42. Who's That Girl, Madonna
43. You Got It All, Jets
44. Touch Me (I Want Your Body), Samantha Fox
45. I Just Can't Stop Loving You, Michael Jackson and Siedah Garrett
46. Causing A Commotion, Madonna
47. In Too Deep, Genesis
48. Let's Wait Awhile, Janet Jackson
49. Hip To Be Square, Huey Lewis and the News
50. Will You Still Love Me?, Chicago
51. Little Lies, Fleetwood Mac
52. Luka, Suzanne Vega
53. I Heard A Rumour, Bananarama
54. Don't Mean Nothing, Richard Marx
55. Songbird, Kenny G
56. Carrie, Europe
57. Don't Disturb This Groove, System
58. La Isla Bonita, Madonna (This was a big hit at our Senior Prom)
59. Bad, Michael Jackson
60. Sign 'O' The Times, Prince
61. Change Of Heart, Cyndi Lauper
62. Come Go With Me, Expose
63. Can't We Try, Dan Hill
64. To Be A Lover, Billy Idol
65. Mandolin Rain, Bruce Hornsby and the Range
66. Breakout, Swing Out Sister
67. Stand By Me, Ben E. King
68. Tonight, Tonight, Tonight, Genesis
69. Someday, Glass Tiger
70. When Smokey Sings, ABC
71. Casanova, Levert
72. Rhythm Is Gonna Get You, Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine
73. Rock Steady, Whispers
74. Wanted Dead Or Alive, Bon Jovi
75. Big Time, Peter Gabriel
76. The Finer Things, Steve Winwood
77. Let Me Be The One, Expose
78. Is This Love, Survivor
79. Diamonds, Herb Alpert
80. Point Of No Return, Expose
81. Big Love, Fleetwood Mac
82. Midnight Blue, Lou Gramm
83. Something So Strong, Crowded House
84. Heat Of The Night, Bryan Adams
85. Nothing's Gonna Change My Love For You, Glenn Medeiros
86. Brilliant Disguise, Bruce Springsteen
87. Just To See Her, Smokey Robinson
88. Who Will You Run Too, Heart
89. (accidentally deleted)
90. Cross My Broken Heart, Jets
91. Victory, Kool and The Gang
92. Don't Get Me Wrong, Pretenders
93. Doing It All For My Baby, Huey Lewis and The News
94. Right On Track, Breakfast Club
95. Ballerina Girl, Lionel Richie
96. Meet Me Half Way, Kenny Loggins
97. I've Been In Love Before, Cutting Crew
98. (You Gotta) Fight For Your Right To Party, Beastie Boys
99. Funkytown, Pseudo Echo
100. Love You Down, Ready For The World

An unpredictable selection of "likes" and "dislikes" for sure. I tend to be a little behind when it comes to the most popular music of the moment. Usually it takes a while to grow on me :)

Mark tagged me. Now, tag -- you're it!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Continuing the Triduum

Day 2 of the Triduum, December 10, was spent as a day of remembrance as it was the anniversary of my father's homegoing to God. Even as the years pass, the pain of his physical absence is still real. I am now convinced that time does not erase pain but rather it teaches us how to live in spite of the loss and relate to our loved ones in a new way. I had hoped to post something about my Dad and the day but found it hard to be succinct. One of these days, I will.

Day 3 of the Triduum this year happened to fall on the Third Sunday of Advent, "Gaudete." For our parish community it was a day of celebration. We recently completed the building of a Faith Development Center. We have decided rather than have a single event to commemorate its completion we will treat it as a gift that we slowly unwrap and enjoy throughout the year. On the weekend after the CO (certificate of occupancy) was issued, we celebrated by having the congregation process throguh the Faith Development Center to bless it with our presence and song. This weekend, following each of the Masses, all parishioners were invited to cut a piece of commemorative ribbon. Our pastor noted that traditionally VIPs are invited to cut one large ribbon, but for our parish community this place will be a center of faith and spiritual development for generations to come and it's the people who will make use of it who are the VIPs so all were invited to "cut the ribbon."

It was a beautiful and inspiring celebration, simple but classy. The "Gallery of Light" (the walkway from the Church into the Center) was decorated with lots of imprinted ribbons hanging like banners. Parishioners of all ages participated in the ribbon cutting and then partook of the fellowship that followed. Once I download my digi-photos downloaded, I will try to post a few.

Tomorrow, the much loved feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe! Until then ...

Friday, December 09, 2005

Feast of San Juan Diego

Today is another special feast, the feast of Saint Juan Diego.

Sister Anne has a very powerful reflection on San Juan Diego on her blog.

The humble and simple Indian peasant of centuries ago is no bystander in faith's history in the Americas. He is, in our estimation today, the most unlikely of messengers but God doesn't follow our rules. He selected Juan Diego from among the entire population at that time to carry the message Our Lady brought. Who could have known? And as Sister Anne asks, how would we respond to such a messenger?

How do we respond to such messengers today? They are around and among us, living quiet existences that communicate God's message to us, that communicate God's love for all people.

It's no coincidence or random occurrence that the Feast of Saint Juan Diego ("Saint Juan of Mexico" as I have also heard him referenced) is caringly placed between the Feast of the Immaculate Conception and the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. He is intrinsic to the story of God and the Americas and, in a way I had not thought of until today, Juan Diego brings full circle the tragic history of the colonizers and missionaries and slaughters of the native peoples of this continent. Called from among the native peasants of the region, his selection by God challenges us to place in right perspective our attitudes toward the natives' expressions of faith in the Creator of the universe.

Our understanding of the interrelationship among Mary, God, and us as revealed through the Immaculate Conception, patroness of the United States, and Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas depends on Juan Diego. Yet until the time of his canonization, many of us probably knew (and thought) very little of him. Yet without his YES, there is no story of Our Lady of Guadalupe, who also revealed herself as "the Immaculate." Without Mary's YES, salvation history also would have been changed -- in other words, it could not have happened as it was ordained to be.

On this first day of the sacred triduum between the Immaculate Conception and Our Lady of Guadalupe, let us focus our attention on Juan Diego. Let us look closely at what he teaches us. Let us look inward and see what our hearts hold. Let us listen to God speaking through Juan Diego with open hearts and attentive gazes.

Saint Juan Diego, pray for us, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ and His Blessed Mother Mary.

Saint Juan Diego, pray for us that we may be able to say YES to our call to be a part of salvation history.

Saint Juan Diego, pray for us that we may be able with eyes and hearts of faith to see God in all things, great and small.

Saint Juan Diego, pray for us!

San Juan Diego, ruega por nosotros que nos hagamos dignos de las promesas del Senor Jesus y su Santisima Madre Maria.

San Juan Diego, ruega por nosotros que podamos decir SI a la llamada de Dios a ser parte de la historia salvifica.

San Juan Diego, ruega por nosotros que seamos capaces a ver a Dios en todo con ojos y corazones de fe.

San Juan Diego, ruega por nosotros!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Feast of the Immaculate Conception

December 8th is the feast of the Immaculate Conception, Patroness of the United States and the Sisters of Christian Charity , whose subtitle is Daughters of the Blessed Virgin Mary of the Immaculate Conception.

Each year the SCCs observe a preparatory triduum of retreat and reflection on the weekend preceding the feast day. As an associate (and even before), I tried to spiritually join the Sisters in observing these days in spiritual preparation for the feast. This year, as I have tried to prepare spiritually, one theme keeps returning to me:

"What is the meaning of the Immaculate Conception for us today in our world?"

I thought about how in general this feast is considered on the factual and abstract level, but this year my prayer keeps returning me to the practical and relational. God deigned to have Mary conceived without original sin not only because she would bear and give birth to Jesus but also for us. There are lessons for us in Mary's Immaculate Conception and I realize that I have only begun to scratch the surface of what the lessons are for us, for me.

So, as I continue to contemplate the meaning of the Immaculate Conception today, I invite you, too, to consider:

"What is the meaning of the Immaculate Conception for you today?"

Haleigh Poutre

Today I learned of the tragedy of seven year old Haleigh Poutre. As sad as this is, I encourage everyone to read this story, share information about it, and of course pray for this very innocent victim. I also hope that there will be a reader who will able to petition the court and have an objective guardian appointed by the court to represent the best interests of the child.

"A day that will live in infamy..."

On this day of tragic remembrance, let us recommit ourselves to continuing to live peace and make peace in the world around us.

In the words of St. Francis, as set to music by the Saint Louis Jesuits, let us pray: "Lord, make me a means of Your peace."

Let us work to create and sustain peace in
... our selves,
... our families and communities,
... our parishes and towns/cities,
... our countries,
... and our world.

Let us also work to make peace with the environment and all creation which, as the the handiwork of the One Creator God, is sacred.

And to this, let the people of God say "Amen!"

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Feast of Saint Nicholas

Having grown up in a parish dedicated to Saint Nicholas (of Myra, yes "Santa Claus"), December 6th always has a special feel to it. My memories of December 6th are not so much filled with gift giving rituals but rather with liturgies and remembrances of the legend of Saint Nicholas and the sacred roots of Santa Claus.

It also becomes a day for contemplating many memories of my childhood and young adult years in the parish, school, the priests and the Sisters of Christian Charity who in large part helped to shape the woman I am.

Even in the midst of the worst of times, life in that parish during my years there were the best of times.

May God continue to bless my "old home" parish community and the school (still administered by the Sisters of Christian Charity) with an abundance of grace!

What an amazing performance!

As I write this brief post this morning, I contemplated titling this one "On the Stage at Carnegie Hall" because, having performed at Carnegie Hall, that is where I thought I was as I entered St. Paul's Church in Princeton to the sounds of the opening number of the Christmas Concert performed by the Daughters of Saint Paul Choir.

"Amazing" is to some degree an understatement and should be replaced perhaps by the adjectives "mesmerizing," "captivating," and "envigorating."

Being quite familiar with the Sisters' music and singing through their CDs, I anticipated the concert with great enthusiasm and high expectations for its musical quality. However, I did not expect the total experience of a performance complete with choreography, props, and interaction with the audience. To my surprise, even my high expectations were exceeded.

The program was a balanced combination of energy and reflection and drew on the rich cultural and talent diversity of the Sisters' community here in the United States.

The two-part program, complete with an encore following a spontaneous and immediate standing ovation from the amply filled church (and St. Paul's is by local standards a large Church), respected the spirit of Advent while gently ushering the audience closer to the much anticipated feast of Christmas. Under the direction of FSP Conductor Sister Bridget Charles Ellis, the program included an amazing and moving "O Holy Night" with solo by our fellow blogger, Sister Anne Flanagan. (More on the contents of the program later along with links added.)

Following the concert, the audience was invited to a nice reception in the lower Church where there was welcome opportunity to greet the Sisters and peruse their Pauline Books & Media display. And for me, the icing on the cake was the blessed opportunity to see Sister Anne, Sister Lorraine, and Sister Kathryn!

The witness of the Daughters of Saint Paul , through their music and their presence, was moving! The Sisters in the Choir received support and encouragement not only from each other and those who traveled with them from Boston but also from the Sisters and Cooperators ministering in New York City, Edison, NJ, and Philadelphia, PA. A true reflection of sisterly love! I know that Blessed Father James Alberione, Venerable Mother Thecla Merlo, and Mother Paula Cordero were indeed smiling from their places at God's right hand!

The Sisters' final three concerts will take place in the Boston area. If you have the opportunity, this year or in the future, make their concerts part of your Christmas tradition. For more information, contact the Daughters of Saint Paul, 50 St. Paul's Avenue, Jamaica Plains (Boston), MA 02130, 617-522-8911.

Truly this choir of Sisters merits the stages of Carnegie Hall and I hope someday soon a gracious benefactor (or benefactors) will make that possible. It will be an amazing experience for the Sisters and a mesmerizing, captivating, and envigorating experience for the audience.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

"We Remember," ...

(Note: Something happened to my blog so I can't correct the posting date.
This post was intended for December 1, 2005.)


In honor of the friends and acquaintances who been infected with or affected by HIV, I pray their names in my heart. The fight continues on in their names and the names of the unknown.

Support World AIDS Day

Let us give thanks for the blessings bestowed on us and our world through the talented lives lost too soon.

Let us reach out in sacred accompaniment to those who live bravely today.

Let us be grateful for those who care, heal, and serve.

Let us be steadfast in our commitment never to forget and to continue fighting the fight.

Indeed, we are one human family!

*Feel free to post remembrances of those who have died from HIV-related illness.*

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Martyrs of El Salvador, ...

... pray for us!

December 2, 2005

On the 25th anniversary of the martyrdom of the four North American churchwomen, our minds and hearts turn toward them, their families, friends, and religious communities, and to the Salvadoran people.

There is no way with our limited human capacity to sufficiently mark the profound nature of this day each year. We each try, in our own way, to mark the day and renew our commitment to sacred accompaniment, to walk with the marginalized, to journey with those who struggle for full recognition of their God-given human dignity.

The anniversaries of Mons. Oscar Romero's and these women's assassinations have always been sacred to me. As we mark the 25th year of remembrance, it's difficult to capture the significance in words but important to try.

25 years have passed, and yet in some ways it seems like only yesterday. December 2nd, this year, for me was marked in simple prayerful remembrance. I did not get to travel to El Salvador as I hoped or spend time with the Maryknoll community as I had envisioned in the alternative. Instead I marked the day in interior prayerful remembrance and closed the day joining my parish community and co-members of Credo Pax Christi in a special Taize prayer remembrance of the churchwomen. At the conclusion, we sang "Dona Nobis Pacem" (Give us peace, O God) and with that invoked God's peace on all the world.

It strikes me as I think about 25th anniversaries, about jubilees and remembrances, that Sister Ita Ford, MM never got to celebrate a silver jubilee, a 25th anniversary of her life as a religious, yet today we commemorate the 25th anniversary of her martyrdom, what could be considered the silver jubilee of homegoing. In that sense, through our remembrance of her legacy - and that of the other churchwomen, the many Salvadoran clergy and people - we celebrate her life as a religious and the ultimate sacrifice she made, laying down her life.

Throughout my life, I have always felt a special kinship with Ita, in part based on unusual parallels in our life and in part through knowing her brother Bill over the years. So on this day, dear Sister in Christ, Ita ("God's little one"), I remember you and bless you and thank God for you and your Sisters with whom you worked side by side in your sacred accompaniment with the Salvadoran people.

Ita, Maura, Dorothy, and Jean, you did what we could not, yet you remind us that we each have ours to do, all in Jesus' name.

Rest in peace, dear Sisters! Rest in peace, all those who have given their lives in the service of the Gospel and God's most chosen peoples!

In your names, let us continue to bear authentic witness to the Gospel call to LOVE!

In prayerful remembrance, I share the intercessions I prepared that were prayed during our Taize prayer on December 2:

--- The martyred missionaries accepted the ultimate challenge and gave their lives for the sake of the Gospel. Inspired by their lives and motivated by their deaths, may each of us be energized in our Baptismal commitment to live for, with, and in Christ, we pray to the Lord

--- Inspired by our sister Maura Clarke who embraced poverty in order to be free to walk with the poor, may we continue to be generous in placing our time, talents, and resources at the service of the most needy, we pray to the Lord

--- Inspired by our sister Ita Ford who lived out the meaning of Advent waiting throughout her life, ultimately experiencing the grace of surrender in all things, may we find in her example a map for our own life journeys, we pray to the Lord

--- Inspired by our sister Dorothy Kazel who endeavored to live the fullness of Gospel joy even in the most dire of circumstances, may we come to see more clearly the true center of our beings, Jesus Christ, we pray to the Lord

--- Inspired by our sister Jean Donovan who possessed a contagious love of life, may we be moved to leave the security of our own comfort zones in order to walk with those who are marginalized, oppressed, or exploited, we pray to the Lord

--- Inspired by these martyred missionaries who responded to the call to walk with the suffering people of El Salvador, may we respond generously to the needs of all who seek to live with dignity, peace, and justice, we pray to the Lord

--- Inspired by the Salvadoran people – especially the disappeared, the displaced, and the dispossessed, may we come to understand more deeply the bond that unites us all into one human family, we pray to the Lord

--- In thanksgiving for the living witness of Archbishop Oscar Romero, the North American churchwomen, and all who give their lives in the pursuit of a more peaceful and just world, may God grant to each them the joys of eternal life in Jesus, we pray to the Lord

On this Saturday, the third day of December, I am reminded that it was 25 years ago today -- the day after the murders -- that the pain of this tragedy truly began for the families of these women, and so to the families, friends, and religious communities of Maura, Ita, Dorothy, and Jean, I offer my continued heartfelt sympathy and solidarity. We shall never forget!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Dorothy Day

On Tuesday evening, our parish gathered for a moving evening prayer remembrance of Dorothy Day.

I thought I'd share a piece of the prayer experience by posting the intercessions we prayed.

As Dorothy Day lived her Catholic faith boldly and unwaveringly,
May we be renewed in our fidelity to living the Gospel with energy and conviction in our everyday lives.

As Dorothy Day lived a life of peace and non-violence,
May we be affirmed in the choices we make for life and peace.

As Dorothy Day sought to live her life among the poorest of the poor,
May we have the courage in our own lives to make a preferential option for the poor, the exploited, and the marginalized.

As Dorothy Day recognized the grace of companionship as a way of living witness to God’s loving presence,
May we strive be present to those most in need.

As Dorothy Day at her death heard the voice of Jesus call, “Come, blessed of my Father, receive the crown I have prepared for you."
May we live so that we may one day enjoy the joys of eternal life.