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Monday, May 25, 2015

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

May is Mary’s Month

Its hard not to love Mary—at least that’s what I think now. I remember praying my first rosary tucked away in my room at college. The door was locked. Well Jesus, I said, if this offends you, I’m sorry, but it just seems right. I am happy to report there were neither natural nor supernatural calamities that day. I don’t remember anything extraordinarily profound occurring either. As something of an Evangelical I had entered into a great wrestling match with God over the Church and the Eucharist, and if, as I had found, the Catholic Church was right on these matters, then, I reasoned, She must be right about Mary.


Mary. The truth is I know no sweeter name. It was hard at first to feel warmly towards her, but she led me along very easily, very freely. I made my little efforts having something of a resolve to trust the Church that gave me the Eucharist: praying the rosary, kneeling before her statue asking for prayers, talking to her the way I learned to talk to other saints, and I was always honest. I figured she could take it. One day I remember becoming aware that every time I went to or from the adoration chapel I would be sure to stop by her statue and say a prayer. That’s the day I realized this was more than just one of my little efforts. It had become one of my little needs.

Looking back on my experience of discernment and my initial years of friary life, I can find no greater support than hers. Somehow she is able to love me, really. It’s not because I’m special; it’s just because I’m a Christian—a Christian aware that there is this woman in Heaven with all sorts of affection for me. I don’t know how I would live without her. There is a need within me for her love and support, and now, unlike before, I have no reason to fear that. After all, this same need was heavy in our Lord’s heart. And His is the only heart I could hope to imitate.

+ Br. Joseph Michael Fino, CFR
Yonkers, NY
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Thursday, May 14, 2015

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

May Ordinations

Please pray for Deacon Brothers Christopher Joseph McBride & Ignatius Mary Shin who will be ordained to the priesthood on May 23rd. They will be ordained, along with their New York classmates, by His Eminence Timothy Cardinal Dolan at 9 AM at St. Patrick's Cathedral. The first Mass will be on Sunday, May 24th, at 10:30 AM at St. Crispin Friary in the South Bronx.

Read Fr. Christopher's story here.

Read Fr. Ignatius' story here.

 
 
 
 
Please pray for Brothers Innocent, Xavier, Dismas, Bernardino & Antonio who will be ordained to the transitional Diaconate on May 18th. They will be ordained by Bishop John O'Hara at 1:30 PM at St. Crispin Friary in the South Bronx .
 
 
 


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Spiritual Maturity

Perhaps the greatest temptation we are faced with in the spiritual life is to pursue the things of God rather than God himself. After all, it is the things of God that often fill our senses with delight and consolation, whereas God himself always transcends our senses and their experience. This is why all the great spiritual masters remind us that we must welcome consolation, moments where we can “feel” God’s presence and times of great enthusiasm in our spiritual life. However, we cannot stop there nor can we rely on them to always be there. In short, we can never find our rest in anything but God, not even in his works.

In a mysterious way, the spiritual life really begins when we stop “feeling” God and when all the lights we relied on to get to him have been dimmed or even turned off. It is here where faith, hope and love, the theological virtues that ultimately lead us to union with God, become activated and we begin to really make “progress” in the spiritual life. St. Paul himself alludes to this when he reminds the Corinthians that they are to, “walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7



Ultimately, God wants our love to become mature. In the beginning of our journey God used our senses and his works to get our attention and draw us to him. But as we grow God wants us to be ready for a deeper experience of him, which means that we have to leave behind the “things” that once drew us to God so as to receive something greater, namely God himself.     

+ Fr. Jeremiah Myriam Shryock, CFR
Saint Joseph Friary
Harlem, NY

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Thursday, April 30, 2015

ICONS TV SHOW

Today is the day! Check out the NEW ICONS: Real People. Real Presence. video promo. Please like and share it with your friends, family, neighbors and strangers! Full speed ahead! Keep us in your prayers as we officially kick off our fundraising efforts to raise money for the pilot episode and first season. We are grateful for your support on this journey! God Bless!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

CFR Founding Day

Today marks the 28th anniversary of the founding of our community, a most celebratory day. It is sadly though the first time we celebrate this day without Fr. Benedict Groeschel. His passing is still felt, especially on a day like today. Without him, our community would simply not exist. When he and 7 others left the Capuchins to found this community 28 years ago, little did they know that in a short time, the community would grow to over 120 members worldwide. Starting a new community is no picnic, as our founders have always said. It is full of blood, sweat, tears, trials, crosses, and yes, joy. Fr. Benedict and our other founders wanted to live in a radical way, carrying the charism and spirit of St. Francis into the poorest neighborhoods, and into the 21st Century.

It is difficult to say where we will all be in 28 more years, yet we can find inspiration in these 8 men’s’ example. They did not know what lay ahead of them when they moved to a war zone in the South Bronx in 1987. They could not see but a few days ahead of them. Yet they went all in on God’s Providence, and He provided in spades. Fr. Benedict often said when they began the Renewal: “We have to do something!” These are guiding words for us in our time and world. May their example inspire us to abandon our lives into the Hands of the Good Lord.

+ Fr. Anthony Marie Baetzold, CFR
Community Vicar
Yonkers, NY
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Saturday, April 25, 2015

Francis Cardinal George, Rest in Peace

STATEMENT OF THE FRANCISCAN FRIARS OF THE RENEWAL
ON THE DEATH OF HIS EMINENCE, FRANCIS CARDINAL GEORGE


The Friars wish to express their sadness upon learning of the passing of Cardinal Francis George.

We are particularly thankful for the friendship, guidance and example of Cardinal George. A fellow religious and stalwart leader of the Archdiocese of Chicago, His Eminence was a prophetic voice in our times. We are especially grateful for his support of our Father Bob Lombardo and the Mission of Our Lady of the Angels outreach on the West Side of Chicago.
May his soul, and the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Playfulness of the Resurrection

At the Easter Vigil, the church—as always—was beautifully arrayed with lilies and tulips, with candelabra and their clean white candle sticks. Yet my favorite part is always the little lamb displayed before the wooden altar. It’s that image where the lamb has tucked up against his white fleece the banner of the Resurrection—a flowing white banner with a stark red cross. I failed, however, to notice this little lamb until I was walking up to receive communion. He caught my eye at this moment because of the movement of the people shuffling up the aisle towards the altar. Once I would see him then someone would shift their weight obstructing my view. This happened repeatedly so that the lamb seemed to be ebbing in and out of the people ahead of me as if hiding—playfully.



In fact, the same was true for the Lord himself. If I looked ahead in another direction there was Jesus prominently presented before the communicant and then disappearing into his hand. It was as if he was popping up, and winking, he would slip away again. I sort of laughed to myself about this playful interpretation of these events, but the truth is I found it very endearing of God. I’m going to get you, I thought. And I did, of course, but isn’t that what the hider wants when we play such games? When we play peek-a-boo with a child, its fun and elicits laughter insofar as eye contact is made or perhaps just anticipated. It is played with the hope of catching sight of the other.

I think about this in reference to the Resurrection. For forty days Jesus is popping up now here, now there. He comes disguised—looking like a gardener or a passer-by. He shows up walking through walls and eating fish. He appears at specific times to specific people but not at all times nor to all people. One may always be expecting him as if with eyes closed, and the Lord himself may somehow be joyfully anticipating his next encounter when his friend’s eyes are uncovered and he is beheld. I think there was much laughter during these days.

Of course, the rules change a little bit after the ascension. After Pentecost it is different, but the game is still played. Jesus still comes to his friends. Jesus still wants to appear before you when your eyes are uncovered. But since at Pentecost the Holy Spirit came to give us a new spiritual vision, Jesus appears before our the eyes of our spirit. The problem is we seem to be very good at covering these eyes, huh? The problem may be that we’ve taped them shut.

+ Br. Joseph Michael Fino, CFR
Yonkers, NY
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Friday, April 10, 2015

Lessons from Lourdes

At Lourdes, as in many apparition spots, the Blessed Virgin Mary asked for a chapel to be built. Why? Mary always leads us to her son, Jesus. A chapel is where we encounter Him at Mass! On our birthday we had the blessing of offering Mass in the original Lourdes chapel. St. Bernadette herself prayed in this chapel before she left Lourdes for the convent.