Sunday, July 29, 2007

Catching Up...

It's been a busy few weeks since I last posted on this blog. Let me catch up a bit.

From July 18-July 26, my parish observed it annual novena to our patron, St. Ann (and St. Joachim). It was my intent to share a daily reflection with you but obviously that didn't happen so I'll give you a brief overview.

In addition to the daily novena services and prayers, our Annual Novena is like a mini Parish retreat or a busy person's retreat. It's a wonderful time of renewal and community and thanks to the goodness of God many many graces.

This year the Novena was presented a little differently in that rather than have a single Novena Director (sometimes a priest, sometimes not), we had different speakers on different but relevant topics. The first two nights a leader in the diocesan lay ministry program spoke first on "Praying with Scriptures" and then on "Winning By Letting Go." That was followed by a wonderful priest who directs an urban ministry to people living with HIV/AIDS sharing with us on "Service" (We had an opportunity to know him this past Triduum when he shared the liturgies of those sacred days with us while our pastor was on a much deserved mini-sabbatical). On Saturday, we had our annual day of service, "Christmas in July," where a large contingent of us go down into the capital city to serve (and be served) at the cathedral's Loaves and Fishes meal. That is a grace-filled experience! On Sunday, we observed "Grandparents' Day" with a special blessing, small gift, and coffee and donuts for all following each of the Masses.

On Monday, another representative of the lay ministry program reflected on "Growing Faith, Growing Family" and then on Tuesday, following our weekly day of Eucharistic Adoration, she shared on the topic of "Forgiveness." Wednesday evening the same priest returned to share on "Loving One Another" followed by an opportunity to receive the Sacrament of Reconcilitation. Finally on Thursday evening, we had our parish feast day liturgy, outdoor candlelight procession(thankfully the weather was favorable), veneration of the relic (optional), and a light ice cream social.

For me, the Novena continues to be refreshing, especially as it combines the traditions of a community Novena with the mini-retreat components. It's also a great community builder (or reinforcer). I appreciate the opportunity not only to participate in it but also work on preparing it (preparing the daily general intercessions) and serving at it (religious articles and candle table).

Please know that in addition to my own intentions I also asked God to bless you and hear your prayers and to bless specially all the "Anne"s/"Ann"s in my world.
May the graces continue to pour forth!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

July 12, 1977

No, it's not a mistake in the subject line. Thirty years ago today, my precious little sister died. Every year the anniversary comes, one reminder amidst at least 365 reminders each year of her absence from among us. Yet the actual anniversary day remains aday of special re-membering.

I can remember that morning like it was yesterday morning. She had been sick in the hospital for several months, yet still there was hope we'd be able to take her home eventually. In the meantime, God came for her and took her home with Him.

One would think that thirty years would wash away the pain, but the reality is that still I miss her right here next to me. When you really love someone, you never really forget such a loss, but you eventually - with God's grace - come to accept life with it and through the grace of faith relate to the "absent" loved one in a new yet very real way.

She watches over me, I know, and I count on her to continue interceding for all of us.

Where have I been?

There's been lots going on and lots to blog about, but it's going to take me a while to catch up. So please bear with me :)

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Rest in peace, dear Sister Maria Electa, SCC!

Photo borrowed from the website of St. Francis Cathedral, Metuchen, NJ
Jesus has taken His beloved Spouse home to himself following a valiant and noble cross (cancer) which our Sister Maria Electa carried with selflessness and in surrender. Rest in peace, our Sister, and know that we miss your physical presence among us but trust that your spirit will not leave us.
From The Home News Tribune:

Sister Maria Electa Schulz, vice principal of St. Francis Cathedral School in Metuchen, died Wednesday, June 20, 2007, at St. Francis of Assisi Convent in Metuchen. She was 71. She was born Judith G. Schulz on March 29, 1936, in Lackawanna, Pa.

Sister Maria Electa entered the Sisters of Christian Charity on June 20, 1952 in Mendham, N.J. Sister received her Holy Habit on Aug. 21, 1954, in the presence of the Very Rev. Monsignor Andrew Stefan. She took her first holy vows on Aug. 21, 1956, in the presence of the Most Rev. Bishop James A. McNulty, and her final vows on Aug. 20, 1962, in the presence of the Very Rev. Msgr. Joseph Gallo.

From 1956 until 1959, Sister taught first grade at St. Joseph's School in Jim Thorpe, Pa.; from 1959 until 1962, she taught second grade at Holy Family School in Florham Park; from 1962 until 1964, she taught fourth grade at St. Nicholas School in Jersey City; From 1964 until 1969 she taught first and third grades at All Souls School in Sanford, Fla.; from 1972 until 1974, she taught seventh grade at St. Margaret Mary School in Winter Park, Fla.; from 1974 until 1976, she taught eighth grade at St. Mary's School in Hackettstown. In 1976, she was named superior and principal at St. Mary's School in Hackettstown, where she stayed until 1982. From 1982 until 1987, Sister served as principal at St. Michael's in Netcong; from 1987 until 1994, she was principal of St. Jude School in Mountain Top, Pa.; From 1994 until 2000 she was Superior and principal of St. Joseph's School in Jim Thorpe, Pa.; from 2000 until 2002, she was principal of Holy Family School in Florham Park. Sister had been vice principal of St. Francis Cathedral School since 2002.

Sister will be greatly missed by the faculty, parents and especially the children of St. Francis Cathedral School. Surviving are two nephews, Lawrence P. Schulz of Maysville, Ky., and Jerome P. Lawrence of Drums, Pa., and a great-niece, Michelle Schmude and her family of Mountain Top, Pa.

Visitation [was] held on Sunday, June 24, from 4 p.m.-7 p.m. only at St. Francis Cathedral, Elm Avenue and Main Street, Metuchen. A prayer service will follow at 7 p.m. at St. Francis Cathedral. Visitation will also be held on Monday, June 25, from 9 a.m.-10:30 a.m. in the Chapel at Mallinckrodt Convent, 350 Bernardsville Road West, Mendham, followed by an 11 a.m. funeral liturgy in the chapel at Mallinckrodt Convent, Mendham. Interment will be at Holy Cross Cemetery in Mendham. Arrangements are by Costello-Runyon Funeral Home, Metuchen. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to The Sisters of Christian Charity Retirement Fund, 350 Bernardsville Road West, Mendham, NJ 07945 and/or St. Francis Cathedral School Endowment Fund, 528 Main St., Metuchen, NJ 08840.

As the obituary tells, Sister Maria Electa spent her life in the delivery of Catholic education, but her dedication was not solely to the administrative details of education but most importantly to the whole development of young people. She loved her ministry each and every place she was assigned and found particular peace and joy in what became her last ministry among the people of St. Francis Cathedral Parish and School in Metuchen, NJ.