Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas 2010!!

A very merry Christmas and a blessed new year to you all from the friars!

The following quote captures our uncomplicated approach to ministry:

"This is the real commitment of Advent: to bring joy to others.
Joy is the true gift of Christmas, not expensive presents that demand time and money.We can transmit this joy simply: with a smile, with a kind gesture, with some small help, with forgiveness.

Let us give this joy and the joy given will be returned to us. Let us seek in particular to communicate the deepest joy, that of knowing God in Christ. Let us pray that this presence of God's liberating joy will shine out in our lives" (Pope Benedict XVI, December 18, 2005).

Thank you for all your prayers and support. We greatly appreciate your help. You have our prayers!

       - The Friars

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Our Daily Advent

Our Daily Advent

The candles, already burning,
cry out like a voice in the wilderness,
"Prepare the way of the Lord."

The key is in the tabernacle lock
ready to spring open the heavens at the sound
of a resounding "yes"!
"Let it be done to me according to your Word."

The corporal is open and laid out
like a receiving blanket.
"She wrapped Him in swaddling cloths."

The monstrance,
made for one purpose only,
stands open, empty, waiting.
"Behold the handmaid of the Lord."

"The Spirit and the Bride say come!"
Our Daily Advent.

by Sr. Clare Matthiass, CFR


Monday, December 6, 2010

Advent Like an Addict

This Advent I want to pray like a heroin addict.

I realize that this statement may require some explanation. On Thanksgiving Day I was eating dinner across from a man and woman at St. Ann’s soup kitchen where we usually help out on Mondays and Wednesdays. As the novice brothers were playing a song in the background with some powerful lines about blessing the Name of the Lord in good times and in bad, I noticed the man quietly singing along with tears in his eyes. After dinner both of them asked for prayer. Both of them are heroin addicts who desperately want to be freed from their slavery to that drug. Both of them were fervent in seeking the Lord’s help, humble in asking pardon, direct in acknowledging their weakness and just so real in their plea for Christ to come and take control of their lives.

How casually most of us usually pray those words in the Lord’s Prayer, “Thy kingdom come.” How will it come? Certainly we must do our part to put the gifts that the Lord has given us at His service, our time and energy into helping others to respond to the gift of salvation. But as the author Carlo Caretto points out, the Kingdom of God is not brought about so much by great feats of the intellect or displays of strength or other resources. If that were so, then the Kingdom of God would belong primarily to the strong and the wealthy. Rather, the Kingdom of God is brought about primarily by the heartfelt cry to the poor man who puts his whole being into the prayer “Thy Kingdom come! Come Lord and save us!” Indeed the first Beatitude promises the Kingdom of God first to the poor in spirit, and what they are awarded because of the depth of their longing they win not only for themselves, but for the rest of the Church and the world.

The beginning of Advent and a new Church year is a good time to begin again with a real, heartfelt, wide-awake prayer for Jesus to save us who are all addicted to sin, but who trust in His power to save. Please pray for heroin addicts in particular when you lift up your heart with them and plead with real intensity, “Come Lord Jesus!”

Fr. Richard Roemer, CFR

(re-posted from November 29, 2005)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


(Re-posted from December 9, 2005)

This is the season of Advent, a time of waiting and watching and pondering the mystery of the great feast of the Incarnation—the birth of the God-man. So, being a person of faith and deep devotion, I know exactly what you’re doing during these weeks before you celebrate the birth of the Savior.

Yes, as the winter’s first snow flakes fall, you are snug at home sitting in your rocker before the warm fireplace. Enjoying a cup of tea, you are taking a casual stroll down memory lane as you open and carefully read Christmas cards sent by family and friends. Since yours were sent out the day after Thanksgiving, you now have ample time to happily bake your holiday pies and cookies and clean the entire house from top to bottom. Thank God you were also prepared weeks in advance as all your gifts, purchased months ago, are meticulously wrapped and carefully arranged about your decorated tree. Yes, Advent is here and you have weeks to simply relax and drink in the deep mystery and the true message of the Christmas season.

Okay! Everybody wake up! Sorry to jar you from such a wonderful dream, but let’s get with reality. Am I the only one running the annual Advent marathon? Remember the rules: the last one to collapse in exhaustion wins! No, not even friars experience Advent as a “spiritual oasis.” You should see the poor seminarian friars with whom I live; they’re all up to their ears with their studies, preparing for their finals, and staying up late to finish their term papers. They’re bleary eyed when they stumble into the chapel for 6 AM Morning Prayer!

It’s true for many people, whether your a monk or married or anything in between, the weeks of Advent can be quite hectic and often devoid of real spiritual preparation for Christmas. While we may wish we had planned ahead, we often end up with a long “to do” list which keeps us very busy. For this reason, we can ask an appropriate question, “What can we do to make Advent less hectic and more holy?”

It may be helpful to point out that we must face the fact that since the sixties, the spiritual landscape of our American culture has been changing. The dry desert winds of secularism and so-called “progressive” thinking began to affect or “infect” first, higher education, then the media, then the political arena, and obviously certain sectors of the Church. Thus, the days when all people, even non-Christians, were positively influenced and invigorated during the Christmas season through cultural osmosis are over.

This being said, we now must exert an extra effort to possess some semblance of an authentic religious focus. So, where do we begin to gain back the ground we have lost? Well, if charity begins at home, so too does spirituality. So right now let’s not look at out our window, but within our own four walls. Let us be honest and ask ourselves if the dry and salted sand of secularism has taken over our once fertile garden of faith.

For example, as lawyers and legislatures wrestle over Christmas decorations being permitted in public parks, why not look at your own front lawn? What message are you giving if you have light-up reindeers and candy canes? Would you spend as much money on a crèche as you would a Christmas tree? Are the cards you are sending Christ-centered or simply cute? Have you chosen gifts for family members and friends based solely on what they want or what they really need?

To practically prepare for Christmas during Advent means we continually keep in mind the purpose of all our efforts and activities. It means creating a spiritual environment which helps us keep our focus. The lives of the saints teach us that activity need not make us forgetful of God. Like the hub of a rapidly turning tire, a heart centered on God can be at peace and in prayer despite the twists and turns of the road. So, during your Advent adventures, try to keep your heart centered on God within. Let’s not forget, the very first Advent was for Joseph and Mary very hectic, but then, one night it became very, very holy.

Fr. Glenn Sudano, CFR

 Advent Meditations by Fr. Groeschel - order here

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Pope and Condoms

Here are a few links which clarify the confusion of the media reports regarding comments on condoms by Pope Benedict XVI.

Actual text from the book, "Light of the World", found here.
Article by Dr. Janet E. Smith found here.
Article by blogger Lisa Graas found here.
Order the book from Ignatius Press here.

I hope this helps.
God bless,
Fr. Luke Mary Fletcher, CFR
St. Joseph Friary, Harlem, NY

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Know Your Need & Silence

Know Your Need
Pray for the grace to know your need.

The greatest obstacle in the spiritual life is not knowing your need for God, your need for a savior. In what ways am I in denial of my deepest need? If we are honest, we will discover that there is a part of us that does not like to acknowledge our need for God, our need for a savior. The hardness of heart which prevents spiritual growth is rooted in this unholy ignorance of the truth. If the truth “sets us free” then lies “hold us bound”. The idea that I do not need God, do not need a savior, is a damn lie.
An essential grace is to know your need for God, your need for a savior. “Jesus addressed this parable to those who were convinced of their own righteousness and despised everyone else” (Luke 18:9). An honest self-assessment of one’s sins, weaknesses and failures can open the heart in humility to receive the life-giving healing that only comes from God’s grace.

Pray for the grace to know your need, to know it in your head and your heart.

God bless,
Fr. Luke Mary Fletcher, CFR
St. Joseph Friary, New York, NY

Silence and Prayer
November is the month when the road of life leads us through the colorful change of leaves and apparent dying of creation. It is a month which sees nature in an ostensible quiet, contemplation, silence and stillness. It is also a month when we remember to pray for the holy souls in purgatory and make visits to the graves of dear ones who have made the journey to eternal shores. Below is a powerful quote from Pope Benedict on the importance of silence and listening in prayer.

"At times, however, we are tempted to close in on ourselves, to doubt the strength of Christ’s radiance, to limit the horizon of hope. Take courage! Fix your gaze on our saints. The diversity of their experience of God’s presence prompts us to discover anew the breadth and depth of Christianity [...] Dear friends, the example of the saints invites us, then, to consider four essential aspects of the treasure of our faith: personal prayer and silence, liturgical prayer, charity in action, and vocations [...] There is another aspect of prayer which we need to remember: silent contemplation. Saint John, for example, tells us that to embrace God’s revelation we must first listen, then respond by proclaiming what we have heard and seen (cf. 1 Jn 1:2-3; Dei Verbum, 1). Have we perhaps lost something of the art of listening? Do you leave space to hear God’s whisper, calling you forth into goodness? Friends, do not be afraid of silence or stillness, listen to God, adore him in the Eucharist. Let his word shape your journey as an unfolding of holiness"
(Pope B16, 19 April 2008, Yonkers, New York).

God bless,
Fr. Luke Mary Fletcher, CFR
St. Joseph Friary, New York, NY

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Know Your Need

Know Your Need

Pray for the grace to know your need.

The greatest obstacle in the spiritual life is not knowing your need for God, your need for a savior. In what ways am I in denial of my deepest need? If we are honest, we will discover that there is a part of us that does not like to acknowledge our need for God, our need for a savior. The hardness of heart which prevents spiritual growth is rooted in this unholy ignorance of the truth. If the truth “sets us free” then lies “hold us bound”. The idea that I do not need God, do not need a savior, is a damn lie.

An essential grace is to know your need for God, your need for a savior. “Jesus addressed this parable to those who were convinced of their own righteousness and despised everyone else” (Luke 18:9). An honest self-assessment of one’s sins, weaknesses and failures can open the heart in humility to receive the life-giving healing that only comes from God’s grace.

Pray for the grace to know your need, to know it in your head and your heart.

God bless,
Fr. Luke Mary Fletcher, CFR
St. Joseph Friary, New York, NY

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


The Joyful Mysteries
1st Joyful Mystery- The Annunciation
God, who is all knowing and all powerful, and who created all that is, chooses to
reveal his sovereignty in a way unlike earthly kings and rulers. He does not use tanks, planes or weapons to impose his law. He does not threaten with starvation and persecution those who will not follow him. Rather, he chooses a poor and lowly teenage girl from Nazareth to bring into the world his very own son. Knowing beforehand the fate that awaits this Son, God still acts and inspires Mary to say yes to this incredible mystery. She, a mere creature, will carry within her womb God himself. At the sound of Mary’s yes all creation stands in awe.
2nd Joyful Mystery- The Visitation
In her womb Mary possesses the only one who can heal the human heart, a heart
that is so often confused, lonely, divided and afraid and one that is waiting patiently to be shown its destiny. Therefore, she cannot remain idle. After receiving this great news Mary does not isolate herself from others. In haste she visits her pregnant cousin Elizabeth, to help her in her need and to proclaim the marvels that God has accomplished in her. Both Elizabeth and Mary are living testimonies of the fidelity of God’s promises. A God who has promised to be a healer, a savior and a friend, has once again fulfilled his word.
3rd Joyful Mystery- The Nativity
In a particular place and at a particular moment, God enters our world as one of
us. He has feet to walk and run with, hands to hold and receive and eyes to look with and cry with. He is fully God and fully human. He looks like us and can taste our desire for love. It was not enough for him to remain tucked behind the heavens. He needed to expose himself and to make himself vulnerable so that no person would ever doubt his love. The unthinkable has occurred; God has become man, so that we might be able to come unto God.
4th Joyful Mystery- The Presentation
Simeon and Anna have lived their entire lives believing in the love of God. Day
in and day out they fasted, prayed and trusted in His promises. In the face of doubt they believed, and when confronted with despair they hoped. When others had mocked God and turned away from him they simply remained faithful and continued to believe in the goodness of God. Now their patient endurance has paid off. All their prayers, sufferings and sacrifices have been heard. The child Jesus is brought to them and their desire to see God is finally satisfied. They are left in a state of childlike joy. It is all worth it, they remind us, the trials, the temptations, the restlessness and the sufferings of this life. It is all worth it they remind us, because God has taken on flesh and now we can touch him and allow him to dry our tears of loneliness.
5th Joyful Mystery- The Finding of the child Jesus in the Temple
The child Jesus is in his Father’s home, listening to the wisdom of those engaged
their in discussion. Their wisdom, unfortunately, is not enough. The child Jesus has
many questions that astound the elders. “Who is this child?” “Who is his teacher?” they ask. Rather than revealing himself more fully to them, Jesus must return to Nazareth and live the life of a regular young man first. The time of revelation will come, but first Jesus must go home to work, play and experience first hand what it means to be human. Meanwhile, Mary looks at him with both fascination and wonder. He who was prophesied to her by an angel, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit and who astounded the elders in the temple now looks to her for comfort, consolation and strength.
The Luminous Mysteries
1 st Luminous Mystery-Baptism of Jesus
Even though John baptizes Jesus he knows that he is the one who should be baptized. John knows he is a sinner, a man of repentance, in need of new life. Yet he also knows that he cannot fulfill these needs on his own. Still, John humbly submits to Jesus’ request for baptism so that the whole world would follow Jesus into the waters of repentance and new life.
In Baptism we have all been “reborn” and adopted by God. We are no longer alone, in need of an identity and meaning for our life. Jesus has fulfilled those requests and with him and because of him our lives acquire a purpose that transcends our deepest imagination. Now, because of our baptism we live immersed in the hope of eternal life.
2 nd Luminous Mystery-Wedding of Cana
Mary, like an attentive mother, perceives the needs of those around her. She feels their pain, their confusion, their desire for love and all the other experiences of the human heart. Like a loving mother, Mary takes all her children into her heart so that when they suffer she suffers. She is the epitome of compassion and kindness and all that is beautiful about life.
Yet Mary’s strength does not lie within herself nor does she ever pretend to be the fulfillment of the worlds needs. Her strength comes in pointing beyond herself and in believing in a loving God and trusting that his word would prevail over sin and death.
Mary’s words to the waiter at the wedding, “Do whatever he tells you,” is not a simple and pious suggestion from a devout Jew. It is the wisdom of the pure in heart that are able to see God and show us the way to him.
3 rd Luminous Mystery-The Proclamation of the Kingdom
So often we think of heaven as a place, a space separated from the confines of this world, a world that we have often condemned as not being beautiful enough to satisfy the need for an eternal rest. Yet who among us could have ever guessed that heaven is not particularly a place but a person, a person who has visited this broken world and proclaimed the good news of God’s love and mercy?
Heaven has visited this earth! In the words and actions of Jesus heaven is revealed as mercy, freedom, love and forgiveness and so near to us that most often we will miss it, because it appears as something too majestic for us to touch. In Jesus, the kingdom of God is at hand, heaven now stands open and the mystery of that “place” is fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ.
4 th Luminous Mystery-The Transfiguration
Jesus appears in dialogue with the two great prophets of the Old Testament, Moses and Elijah; for he is the fulfillment of all the prophets spoke and wrote about. He is that jealous lover, the one espoused forever to his children and the one who places a new heart in man enabling him to find peace and happiness.
On the top of the mountain the Father leaves us with a command. “Listen to him,” he says, because without his words we are left drowning in the sea of our own confusion, and without his words we are mystery that cannot be solved. The words of Jesus are not the words of mere men; they are the words of hope from a God who comes to save his people.
5 th Luminous Mystery-The Institution of the Eucharist
On the eve of his death, it was not enough for Jesus to leave us with only a speech or a photograph of himself; No, he wanted to leave us himself, his very body and blood for us to adore, consume and become one with. For God being only a happy memory is not good enough, he wants to be a continual presence, and possess a permanent place in our lives.
The mystery of the Eucharist is the mystery of God’s love. It is the story of a God who does not abandon his people, who feeds them, nourishes them and strengthens them for the journey of life. In the Eucharist we receive the food that can truly sustain us and make us holy. Every other attempt to find life outside of the Eucharist will end in disappointment.

1 st Sorrowful Mystery-The Agony in the Garden
Jesus’ hour has arrived! He knows the destiny that awaits him and can taste its horror in the depths of his being. Betrayal, condemnation, mockery, beatings and death, are all knocking at the door of Jesus’ heart. Despite the fear Jesus experiences in his humanity he moves forward, ready to fulfill the Father’s will and to bring salvation to the entire world.
God has abandoned himself into the hands of men. After teaching the world about God’s love and mercy the people turned on him like a pack of wild dogs. How suddenly they forgot the healings, the mercy, the forgiveness and the love that Jesus brought! Now, as the soldiers come to arrest Jesus, God begins to unveil the fullness of his love.

2 nd Sorrowful Mystery- The Scourging at the Pillar
The crowd has spoken. Instead of releasing the humble and meek Lamb of God they have chosen to release a criminal, one who has inflicted pain and suffering upon others. Pilate, fearing the opinions of others and unable to heed the warning of his wife concerning this “righteous man,” is not strong enough to defend the truth. Like a coward, he collapses before the truth has Jesus scourged.
Now, the innocent and holy one stands before the soldiers and is beaten almost to the point of death. His flesh, once so soft and gentle, now becomes a river of blood. The Savior of the world is forced again to his knees, almost overwhelmed by the flogging his body has endured. Yet with you and me in the depths of his heart he stands up, ready to endure even more.

3 rd Sorrowful Mystery-The Crowning of Thorns
The arrogance and the stupidity of the soldiers increase. They make a crown of thorns and place it upon Jesus’ head and pretend to pay him homage. They believe that a king, a God, a man of importance could not be so humble, gentle, loving and peaceful. They believe that power and greatness is revealed in the ability to conquer those who oppose them by force.
Little do they know that very soon the glory of God will shine forth. Before them is a king, one who will conquer by love and bestow forgiveness and mercy upon fallen man. Yet for now, theirfoolishness continues and Jesus must suffer the humiliation.

4 th Sorrowful Mystery-The Carrying of the Cross
The wood of the cross is placed upon Jesus’ shoulders. Inside the wood is the weight of our sins; our betrayals, our pride, our lust, our indifference, our selfishness and so many other actions that have placed us far from the heart of God. Is it any wonder this weight causes Jesus to fall three times? It is a weight too heavy to ask any man to bear, even the God-man.
Here the question that plagues man’s heart from all eternity is finally answered. “Does God love me?”
Jesus can only kiss the cross crushing down upon his shoulders because he is too tired to speak. But the cross is enough; it is a joyful affirmation of humanity’s need to be loved.

5 th Sorrowful Mystery-The Crucifixion
God is dead! He hangs on the cross, naked, and bearing the wounds of abuse he suffered from the hands of men. Jesus and the kingdom of God he preached appear to be defeated. Only Mary, a few other women and John remained with him the whole way through. It was too much for the other disciples; like children besieged by fear, they fled and tried to hide themselves from the horror before them.
Yet despite the darkness and the chaos that fills this moment there is a light that radiates from heaven. It shines upon the cross and whispers words of comfort to those able to hear. “Do not be afraid. Behold, I make all things new!”

Dc. Br. Jeremiah Myriam Shryock, CFR
St. Leopold Friary, Yonkers, NY

Friday, August 6, 2010

Final Vows August 1 2010

On Sunday, August 1, 2010, six of our friars professed final vows.(Click here to see the whole album)
(left to right) Br. Nicholas Joseph White, Br. Justin Jesúsmarie Alarcón,
Br. Felice Maria Gavazzi, Br. Gabriel Joseph Kyte, Br. Ignatius Mary Shin and 

Br. Dismas Marie Kline radiate joy on the big day.

"The first has to do with the stained glass windows, which flood the interior with mystic light.  From the outside, those windows are dark, heavy, even dreary.  But once one enters the church, they suddenly come alive; reflecting the light passing through them, they reveal all their splendor.  Many writers – here in America we can think of Nathaniel Hawthorne – have used the image of stained glass to illustrate the mystery of the Church herself.  It is only from the inside, from the experience of faith and ecclesial life, that we see the Church as she truly is: flooded with grace, resplendent in beauty, adorned by the manifold gifts of the Spirit.  It follows that we, who live the life of grace within the Church’s communion, are called to draw all people into this mystery of light" 
Pope Benedict XVI, New York City, 19 April 2008.

In a gesture of surrender and humility, the brothers lie prostrate before the altar 
as the congregation invokes the intercession of the saints.

After professing final vows, the friars sign the official documents upon the altar. 
The life of religious consecration is an intimate sharing in the one sacrifice of Jesus 
which is renewed daily at Mass upon the altar.

Imitating Jesus who prayed from the cross, "Father, into your hands I entrust my spirit", the friars symbolically place their hands into the hands of our Community Servant 
as they profess their vows.

A theologian once wrote, "Joy is the most infallible sign of the presence of God." There is great joy in serving the Lord. Jesus said, "Whoever loses his life for my sake will find it" (Matt 10:39). Commenting on this passage, Vatican II taught, "Man can not fully find himself except through a sincere gift of himself."

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Venerable Pierre Toussainte

June 30, 2010
Venerable Pierre Toussainte
Pierre Toussainte died on this day in 1853. This amazing man was a Haitian slave who became a hairdresser in New York City. His story is very inspiring. He is buried in the crypt under the main altar at Saint Patrick's Cathedral. He was declared Venerable by Pope John Paul II on December 18, 1996.

Fr. Luke Mary Fletcher, CFR
St. Joseph Friary, New York, NY

Friday, June 4, 2010

On the Holy Spirit

If you’re an American Catholic over fifty, you certainly remember beginning and ending your prayers with the sign of the cross while saying: “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” If you were like me, the only ghost you knew was in the movies or in the comics. His name— Casper! He was white; he smiled, floated about, and was, well, friendly! Some other ghosts I knew were on a television show called “Topper.” Remember their names? George and Marian! Boy, are you old!

Maybe this is why some people have only a vague notion of the Third Person of the Trinity. To say that the Holy Spirit is “an invisible friend who floats around with a silly smile” —well, that’s not vague, it’s wrong!

If you can at least understand the question, “Who is the Holy Spirit?” you can then begin to answer it. We say “Who” and not “what” because the Holy Spirit is a Person, not a “thing.” The Holy Spirit is not a part of God; the Holy Spirit is God, as the Father is God and the Son is God; yet, there is only one God. Is that clear? If we’re honest, our answer would be a resounding “No!” The reason for this answer is not because we’re ignorant or uneducated, but rather, we’re human. This means we do not have the capacity to understand everything, at least not now. As people’s personal beliefs are full of myths and misnomers, our Catholic faith is full of mystery.

There are those who laugh at us and say, “How can you believe in something you don’t see and understand?” To these I reply, “How many things in life do we actually see and fully understand?” We know it is dangerous to stick a knife in an outlet; we can see the dangerous effects of a mystery which we have named “electricity.” Yet, while I am grateful for the force which keeps my feet on the floor, I don’t recall any scientist seeing or understanding the mystery we call gravity. This is the reason why since time began, mankind has never ceased to look up and out and in. Whether it is medicine or mathematics, physics or philosophy, stars or snails, astronomy or atoms—the more we look, the more we learn. Yes, mystery is certainly all around us. In fact, we are a mystery unto ourselves.

The time between Ascension Thursday and Pentecost Sunday is nine days. This is where we get the word novena; “novem” in Latin means nine. The first novena wasn’t prayed to Our Lady or to any saint, but by Our Lady and by some saints! They were praying together as Our Lord instructed them to for “the gift of the Father”. After nine days, the gift was delivered—and it didn’t drop quietly through the mail slot! “What was the gift?” you ask. No, you mean, “Who was the gift?”

Fr. Glenn Sudano, CFR

Most Blessed Sacrament Friary, Newark, New Jersey

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Pentecost Novena 2010

May 13, 2010 - Ascension Thursday

The First Novena

On Ascension Thursday, we commemorate that day when Jesus, some 40 days after His resurrection, ascended into heaven at the right hand of the Father. In his final instructions to the early Church, he commanded them to stay in Jerusalem and pray, awaiting the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts of the Apostles 1). The early believers, gathered around Mary, prayed for nine days. The ninth day was the Jewish feast of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit was poured out upon the early Church.

This amazing historical event inspired Christians to pray special prayers for nine days, also known as a novena. Follow this link to find a beautiful novena for a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit in your life: Novena to the Holy Spirit.

Fr. Luke Mary Fletcher, CFR
St. Joseph Friary, New York, NY

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Happy Easter! The Victory of the Resurrection:

Happy Easter! The Victory of the Resurrection:

There is something in the human heart that loves a battle and longs for victory. We all desire to win, be victorious, triumph, succeed, prevail, overcome, conquer and surmount! Every good movie, TV show, novel and story tries to tap into this eminent human quality. Beyond merely being competitive, it is as if this aspiration for victory is in the blue-print of our being.

The deification of sports is an example of this human attraction to the contest, the battle. My memories of growing up in basketball-obsessed-Indiana were rekindled as I watched Butler almost topple Duke in the NCAA Championship basketball game (A.K.A. “March Madness” or “The Big Dance”). I couldn’t fall asleep for hours after the game was over. Our brothers in Ireland were recently embroiled by controversy because they suggested it was wrong for Catholics to replace church with a rugby match on Good Friday (I guess the brothers kicked the sacred cow).

There must be something from God our creator in this human yearning for victory. The Resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the culmination and fulfillment of our deepest desire for victory …

Fr. Luke Mary Fletcher, C.F.R.
Saint Joseph Friary, Harlem, New York

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Cross by Br. Jeremiah Myriam Shryock, CFR

The Cross
The paradox of our life is simply this: if you wish to be strong, confident, and live without fear you must accept the cross in your life.  You will probably feel repulsed by this and everything within you will rebel against it.  You will try and think of a million plans to conquer this reality, more prayer, more reading, more exercise, more sleep, more work, etc, all of which may be helpful but none of which alone is the cure.

What is ironic about the cross is that it comes in different disguises and shapes.  To some it might come as an illness, a death of a spouse or friend, loneliness, feeling rejected or misunderstood, bearing with a person whom we find difficult or perhaps even something as simple as the weather or living in a place we do not particularly like.

Yet whatever disguise or shape the cross comes to us in our life, we can be assured that if we decide to carry the cross in union with Jesus it will become for us a bridge eventually leading us into a land of true freedom and peace.  The world is terrified of appearing weak and poor.  However, if you are not willing to be poor and weak then you are not willing to be strong because it is in poverty and weakness that God’s grace overflows in abundance.

It is difficult in the midst of so much suffering to be grateful for the cross.  However, as we look back on our life and review the moments of growth and happiness that we have experienced we will realize it was the cross that has always preceded those moments and has softened the ground we walk on, enabling the seeds of life and holiness God has planted to grow and bear fruit.

Br. Jeremiah Myriam Shryock, CFR
St. Leopold Friary, Yonkers, NY

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


During this year of the priest, we have been highlighting one of the Apostles each month at our Associate days in the Bronx.  Our apostolic feast day for February is the Chair of St. Peter. 

Certainly we are honoring something greater than a piece of furniture, and something even greater than St. Peter himself, as great of a personal figure as he was.  We know his weaknesses.  I presume our Lord was so insistent on washing Peter’s feet at the Last Supper because He had seen that he often had his “foot in his mouth.” (!)   Yet Jesus called him blessed because he was given a word of truth, a revelation that came not from man but from God the Father (see Mt. 16:17).

The Chair of Peter reminds us that we don’t belong to a man-made Church.  We are not left on our own to answer the question of who Jesus is.  We are not left to “sola-Scriptura,” the Bible alone, which ends really in “O solo mio….”, to my own interpretation.   Vatican II taught us that Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition are two branches of the same fountain, the same Divine Word.

Although human nature tends to rebel against religious authority, the fact that Christ gave authority and a guarantee of truth in matters of faith and morals to another human being is a great blessing.  We have someone who can say for certain what it means to be a Catholic, which not every world religion has.  (For example, some Muslims will say the problem with any dialogue with Islam and other religions is that no one can definitively say what it means to be a Muslim.)  A personal authority, a Body with a head, means also that theology can develop with language and understanding.   We are not left to keeping everything exactly as it was, in the liturgy for example, in 35 AD.  We have a continuity of authority which means that theological understanding can “change to remain the same” as language and societies change.

We can think of four facets of papal infallibility like four legs of this Chair.  One is for truth in doctrines of faith, one for truth in doctrines of morals, one for bringing unity, and one for the authority to “bind and loose” in regard to sin and penalties.  How amazing that Christ gave such authority to men, beginning with his fisherman friend.  The perseverance of this chair, this office, over the ages is another way that Christ is with us always, even until the end of world.
- Fr. Richard Roemer, CFR

Friday, January 29, 2010

To Be or ...

To Be or ...

In Matthew 13 we read about the people of Jesus' native place. They were so overly familiar with him that they took offense at his teachings and miracles. "Where did this man get all this?", they stated. "But Jesus said to them, 'A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and in his own house.' And he did not work many mighty deeds there because of their lack of faith."

Many people have a "been there, done that, got the t-shirt" attitude towards Christianity. Inspired by this dynamic, Mel Gibson wanted to film The Passion of The Christ in Aramaic. He wanted Christ to strike us afresh, in a new way. When I type "To be or ..." You automatically know the rest, "or not to be. That is the question." Gibson believed that many people do the same thing with Jesus. We are so overly familiar with him that we lack faith.

Pray for the grace to experience the life-giving radicalness of Jesus and his Gospel anew so that he may work many mighty deeds in your life.

God bless,
Fr. Luke Mary Fletcher, CFR

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Words of Jesus

The Words of Jesus

Perhaps one of the greatest struggles in embracing the gospel is the command of Jesus to let go of our entire life.  The control we think we have, the anxiety we often create, our disordered desires that only serve to hurt us, our ideas about ourselves and others and our own will often reveal themselves in the light of the gospel as an illusion, a mask that is surrounded in unreality.

Jesus reminds us that everything that is true and beautiful about life comes from Him.  His words alone remove the veil that we so often remain trapped behind.  "Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.  The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house.  But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock."  Mt 7:24-25

A wise person is one who looks at their life and realizes that by himself they are incomplete and in need of an "other."  Jesus Christ is therefore not a crux for "weak" people but the cure and the remedy for the blindness and sickness we live in without Him.  Those who listen to His words and build their life upon Him will not be moved despite the trends and fashions that blow through society and leave so many people lost and wandering aimlessly for direction in their life.   

Br. Jeremiah Myriam Shryock, CFR
St. Leopold Friary, Yonkers, NY