Thursday, April 26, 2012

25th Anniversary

April 28, 2012, is the 25th anniversary of the founding of our community. We give thanks to God for His many blessings over the years and pray for His continued guidance as we strive to follow in the footsteps of St. Francis.

Please continue to pray for our community!

PRESS RELEASE – April 25, 2012

Also of note...

A Drama of Reform is the story of the new order founded by Fr. Benedict Groeschel and seven other Capuchin friars, and of the first two decades of a reform in religious life begun in 1987. United in the desire to be authentic disciples of Jesus Christ and following in the footsteps of Saint Francis, they want to encourage the army of Christians of all denominations who are discouraged by the erosion of Gospel values in our culture.

This inspirational volume combines more than 100 dramatic photos from the interesting and varied aspects of their daily lives. Along with the wonderful photos, members of the two independent communities of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal and Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal provide short essays on their life, which will enable others to experience the earnestness and enthusiasm of this young and fervent group. More than one hundred sisters and friars from a dozen countries have come together with the common desire to follow the Gospel of Jesus Christ after the example of Saint Francis and the tradition of the Capuchin reform.

Well-known for their work with the poor and homeless in the South Bronx and other deprived areas, these Franciscans communicate a deep sense of the joy and love of those trying to be totally committed to living the Gospel in an increasingly de-Christianized world.

FIND A Drama of Reform HERE


Friday, April 20, 2012

Letters of hope and consolation #4

It seems that more and more today people are suffering from boredom.  People are bored with school, work, marriage, family, religion, politics and society in general.  When something doesn’t immediately stimulate us or appeal directly to our senses we move on to the next thing. There seems to be a written rule in the minds and hearts of people today that equates pleasure with fulfillment.  Therefore, if I am not experiencing consolation and pleasure in what I am doing than I am allowed to look elsewhere despite any previous commitments I have made.

This attitude is not only a tragedy on a human level but on a spiritual level as well.  Prayer, meditation, growing in virtue and other exercises in the spiritual life can at times be “boring” and often leave us feeling dry and lacking in consolation and affirmation.  We are not always go to feel God’s love, prayer is not always going to be a consoling and beautiful experience and trying to grow in virtue is rarely ever going to be an easy and wonderful experience on a natural level.

When this dryness or boredom occurs the temptation is usually to flee.  If prayer is difficult then quit or at least reduce it drastically.  It some person in your life is not easy to get along with and they don’t seem open to your attempts at love then ignore them.  If you find it hard to spend time in silence and reflection then immerse yourself in noise and activity.

Boredom is not always a sign that you should be doing more but that maybe you should be going deeper where you are.  When you are board there are always the opportunities for growth in patience, acceptance of God’s will, loving others, progress in prayer and a million other things.  Yet none of this can happen if you are constantly running away from things because they are not immediately stimulating you.

In order for a person to truly appreciate a work of art, a sunset and even another person they must allow themselves to stop, be silent and wait for some time in order to grasp more fully what it is that is before them.  The same is true in our relationship with God.  We must be patient and wait through experiences of apparent “boredom” in order for us to grasp more fully the greatness and beauty of God.  After all, it is we who are probably boring.  God is the most exciting and interesting person in the entire universe.

God bless you,
Fr. Jeremiah Myriam Shryock, CFR
St. Felix Friary, Yonkers, NY


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Easter Means Hope Exists

What does it mean to say that “Jesus is risen?” A translation, perhaps adapted especially

for non-believers could be, “hope exists.”

If we look deeply beneath all of our disordered desires, our brokenness and our selfish

concerns what we discover ultimately is the hope that there exists unconditional love. Not only

that unconditional love exists but that it is eternal and does not end after this life. The Easter

proclamation that “Jesus Christ is risen” fulfills this hope deep within us.

In many of the Resurrection accounts in the New Testament those to whom Jesus appears

to are often found afraid (Mt 28:5), amazed (Mk16:5), seized with trembling and bewilderment

(Mk 16:8), terrified (Lk:24:5), downcast (Lk 24:17), near despair (Lk 24:21), weeping (Jn 20:15)

and lacking in faith (20:25).

After their encounter with the Risen Lord they are all transformed from within because

the ultimate hope of their souls is confirmed. Unconditional love exists and has blasted through

space and time and is available to us for all eternity. How can one not be overwhelmed with joy

at such good news?

God bless you,
Fr. Jeremiah Myriam Shryock CFR
St. Felix Friary, Yonkers, NY

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Christ is Risen!

The mind-boggling, knee-knocking, earth-shattering, and head-spinning historical event we celebrated on Sunday, simply known as “the Resurrection,” is indeed a case of history and not hysteria, as some might believe. In short, what all our “Alleluias” are about surrounds an event actually witnessed by no one, yet its truth is witnessed by many.

Unlike the sacred writings of other religions, the highly embellished imaginative legends of Greek and Roman mythology, and those of the Hindu tradition, what we have are stark historical events. It is of interest to note that all the miraculous events we read in the Bible, most notably the resurrection, all somehow fall within the context of human reason. Meaning, there is a difference between the extraordinary events in mythology and the miraculous events in the Gospels. There is big difference between Medusa who turns people into stone and the man born blind who sees. In Oriental legends people sprout wings and fly away, in the Gospels paralyzed people walk away – there is a difference.

What I like to propose is that the historical event which we are celebrating as the key and cornerstone of the Christian faith is rational and reasonable. While we may not be able to understand the depth and dimensions of the resurrection, we are not speaking about myth, but rather mystery. The resurrection is a credible historical event – a product of God’s hand and not man’s imagination.

Yet the power of the resurrection on the apostles and disciples of Our Lord was indeed mind-boggling and knee-knocking – literally! All of us have a friend or family member who has died. For some of us their passing is quite recent. Now, how would you react if the person who you know is dead suddenly walked into the room? What would you do – jump up and say “Wow! I thought you were dead! What are you doing here?” No, you and I would probably either faint, punch ourselves in the head to make sure it wasn’t a dream, or we would run out of the house! In short, we would be like the disciples – incredulous at first, then beside ourselves with fear and joy. No wonder Jesus’ first words to the gathered apostles were: “Peace be with you.”

Friends, while few of us experience the full impact of the resurrection in our emotions, we can possess in some way its power in our soul. This means we can believe in this mysterious and miraculous event without physically or emotionally collapsing. The faith and conviction exhibited in the lives of the early disciples who literally saw and touched the Risen Lord can be ours. In fact, while many of you don’t believe you have such an apostolic faith, you should remember how the Lord has carried you through some dark and difficult days. The power which has brought you through the deep valleys and up the daunting mountains was at work in you. This is what we call faith.

Although you have not witnessed the battered and bloodied body of Jesus placed in the tomb, and then gloriously liberated from death, you believe it, not because it happened in history but because it is happening in your history.  Faith is not only a gift by which we believe in the things of God, but it enables us to behave as God – to be godly, holy, and righteous – especially when it is most difficult.

The saints – those sanctified by the gift of faith – prove that the historical event called the resurrection is not only reasonable, but real. Despite a cross, a scouring, and a spear, they lived a life triumphant and glorious. Especially seen in the lives of the martyrs, we read about those who conquered sin and death – stared into the face of death – and smiled. Yes, the power of the resurrection alive and at work, not only in past history, but in your history.

During these eight days, the Octave of Easter, let us continue to wish each other a “Happy Easter.” It’s not about a day – this is the Easter season. Let us reflect on the ways faith has lead us through a Red Sea, fed us in the desert, opened our eyes, and empowered our weak limbs. Despite it all, we’re still here in hope of that day when death will be no more. The Easter story is not a myth, but a fact – a fact of faith. For this faith, this gift, this grace, may we be ever grateful. Perhaps the only word that sums it all up is “Alleluia!”

Fr. Glenn Sudano, CFR
Most Blessed Sacrament Friary
Newark, NJ

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Holy Triduum

Good Friday

Today we witness in the crucifixition of Jesus the worst of humanity: the betrayal of a friend and teacher by his very own disciples; the cowardliness of a politician afraid to defend the truth; the fear of religious leaders, who stubbornly refuse to listen to another interpretation; the fickleness of the crowd, who only a few days ago proclaimed that Jesus was the Messiah, and the arrogance and stupidity of the soldiers as they spit on him, scourge him and crown him with thorns.

Despite the horror this stupidity forced upon Jesus he reacts in the complete opposite way.  There is no cursing or promising revenge, there is no betrayal of those whom he loved, there are no signs of him becoming a coward or growing fickle in his conviction regarding the Father’s will.  Rather, there is forgiveness uttered from his lips, simply because “they know not what they do” (Lk 23:34).

Humanity has killed God.  He came to this earth proclaiming mercy and forgiveness.  He revealed the heart of God as an ocean of love, a place were sinners are washed clean and made saints.  Yet we were not convinced.  We betrayed him for a multitude of reasons.  The only option was to destroy him, yet even that would not turn him against us.

Holy Saturday

Your blood has finally dried upon your tired and mangled body.  There is nothing left for you to give, you have been poured out to the point of death.  It is finished.

The beauty of your eyes has faded.  The gentleness of your hands has been forgotten.  The serenity of your smile has been extinguished.  Could you still be our God?

Who could have ever predicted it would end like this?  Your passion has stolen all of our words.  In you was all our joy, all our hope for life, and the answer to the question of our life.  What you have revealed no man could ever fathom, you the eternal paradise, the place of infinite rapture.

Now we wait like madmen, not knowing who we are, not knowing what will happen to us.  Each second is an agonizing mystery and we die a thousand deaths reliving yesterdays nightmare.  My God awake, come back and save us!  Do not leave us in this wretched state of despair.

God bless you,
Fr. Jeremiah Myriam Shryock CFR
St. Felix Friary, Yonkers, NY