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Saturday, April 10, 2021

Divine Mercy Sunday

Contemplate  Boundless  Love

Encountering Jesus     John 20:19-31
So when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.”  And when He had said this, He showed them both His hands and His side. The disciples then rejoiced when they saw the Lord. So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained.”
But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples were saying to him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”
After eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.” Then He said to Thomas, “Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.” Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”  Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.”
Pope Francis’ Reflection
“Seeing” for ourselves
Thomas wanted to “see inside,” He wanted to touch “with his hand the Lord’s wounds, the signs of his love.” This is how Thomas is our twin, because so often we need to know for ourselves that God exists rather than taking others’ word for it. “No, we too need to ‘see God,’ to touch him with our hands and to know that he is risen for us,” the Pope said.

A Love Story
Pope Francis tells us that it is by seeing Jesus’ wounds that the disciples of all time know that we have been forgiven because we “contemplate the boundless love flowing from his heart”, a heart that beats for each person. When Thomas touched the Lord’s wounds, Jesus became “My Lord and my God.” Pope Francis describes the appropriation of God as mine as a “love story.” The uncertain, wavering disciple then falls in love with the Lord telling him: “You became man for me, you died and rose for me and thus you are not only God; you are my God, you are my life. In you I have found the love that I was looking for, and much more than I could ever have imagined,” 

A History of Mercy                                                                             
Pope John Paul II In his 1980 encyclical, Dives in Misericordia (“Rich in Mercy”), writes, “Believing in God’s love means believing in mercy. For mercy is an indispensable dimension of love; it is as it were love’s second name and, at the same time, the specific manner in which love is revealed”.

Jesus, I Trust in You
Simply speaking, then, the “Divine Mercy” is another name for the revelation of this magnificent love of God, which culminates in the life, death and resurrection of Christ. Christians have long known and praised this abundant mercy.
In this sense, devotion to the Divine Mercy is not new.

Less than a century ago, however, Christians were challenged by God himself to a renewed awareness and trust in His mercy, which has begun to fan the old flame of devotion into a more ardent veneration. Our Lord spoke to a young Polish nun, giving her a timeless reminder for all of humanity:

“Mankind will not have peace,” 
He said,“until it turns with trust to My mercy.
Proclaim that mercy is the greatest attribute of God.”

Sister Mary Faustina Kowalska, born in 1905, was a cloistered nun of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in Poland. On Feb. 22, 1931, Jesus first appeared to Sister Faustina.

Feast of Mercy 
Sister Faustina’s encounters with Jesus are considered private revelation — that is, a revelation outside of the deposit of faith, and one which the faithful are not obligated to believe. However, these messages have been officially approved by the Church as containing nothing contrary to faith or morals.

In addition, Pope John Paul II recognized in Sister Faustina’s writings a message that was truly from Christ, and relevant to all of us in every day and age. On April 30, 2000, the first Sunday following Easter, Pope John Paul both canonized Sister Faustina Kowalska and declared in his homily of that day his own desire that the “Second Sunday of Easter … from now on throughout the world will be called ‘Divine Mercy Sunday.’”

Prayer For Mercy
God is the Father of all mercies. In him we place our faith as we pray the following petitions:

For our Holy Father, Pope Francis, bishops, priests, and all the faithful:
that in this Year of Faith, each will bear witness to the love and mercy of God;
We pray to the Lord:
All:  Lord, hear our prayer.

For all who have committed grave sin and who are afraid to go to confession:
that their fears will dissolve in the face of Jesus’ longing to forgive and be reconciled to them;
We pray to the Lord:
All: Lord, hear our prayer.

For those who serve in public office:
that they govern with true compassion for the lives of the most vulnerable among us—
especially unborn children, the elderly, and persons with disabilities;
We pray to the Lord:
All:   Lord, hear our prayer.

For parents:
that, by their guidance and the witness of their own lives,
they will teach their children how to love and forgive when they have been wronged;
We pray to the Lord:
All:   Lord, hear our prayer.

For the protection of conscience rights and religious liberty,
and that all people of good will may work together
against the increasing threats to these fundamental rights;
We pray to the Lord:
All:   Lord, hear our prayer.

For peace throughout the world, and especially in areas of open conflict:
that ancient prejudices and hatreds will be replaced by a spirit of mercy and brotherhood;
We pray to the Lord:
All:  Lord, hear our prayer.

Almighty and merciful Father, we give you thanks for all of your many blessings, and we ask you to hear these petitions in the name of your Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
All: Amen.

Vatican Grants Plenary Indulgence
for Divine Mercy Chaplet

New Plenary Indulgence

Because of the pandemic, anyone who, with “the will to fulfil the usual conditions (sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer according to the Holy Father's intentions), as soon as possible,” recites the Divine Mercy Chaplet with the intention “to implore from Almighty God the end of the epidemic, relief for those who are afflicted and eternal salvation for those whom the Lord has called to Himself,” can receive a plenary indulgence each day.
This great news was announced in an official decree from the Apostolic Penitentiary on March 20, 2020.

Jesus Song
Tom Booth

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Year of Family Love

 Bearing Witness to Family Love

"Holy Family of Nazareth,
make us once more mindful of the sacredness and inviolability of the family and its beauty in God's plan." (Amoris Laetitia, 325)

Pope Francis announced the ‘Year of Family Love’, during his Angelus Message on the Feast of the Holy Family, December 27, 2020. He ended his address invoking the Blessed Mother, “May the Virgin Mary grant that families throughout the world be increasingly fascinated by the evangelical ideal of the Holy Family, so as to become a leaven of [a] new humanity and of a genuine and universal solidarity.”

On Friday, March 19, 2021, the Church celebrated five years since the publication of Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love) on the beauty and joy of love in the family. On the same day, Pope Francis launched the Amoris Laetitia Family Year, which will conclude on June 26, 2022, on the occasion of the Tenth World Meeting of Families in Rome.

Family Love: Vocation and Path to Holiness
Heavenly Father,
We come before You to praise
You and to thank You for the great gift of the family.
We pray to You for all families consecrated by the Sacrament of Matrimony.
May they rediscover each day the graces they have received,
and as small domestic churches,
may they know how to witness to Your presence and to the love with which Christ loves the Church.

We pray to You for all families faced with difficulty and suffering
caused by illness or circumstances of which only You know.
Sustain them and make them aware
of the path to holiness upon which You call them,
so that they might experience Your infinite mercy
and find new ways to grow in love.

We pray to You for children and young people.
May they encounter You and respond joyfully to the vocation You have in mind for them.
We pray for their parents and grandparents.
May they be aware that they are signs of the fatherhood and motherhood of God in caring for the children who, in body and spirit,
You entrust to them, as well as in the experience of fraternity
that the family can give to the world.                                                            

Lord, grant that each family
might live their specific vocation to holiness in the Church
as a call to become missionary disciples,
in the service of life and peace,
in communion with our priests, religious, and all vocations in the Church.
Bless the World Meeting of Families in Rome.
(Prayer for the X World Meeting of Families
ROME, 22-26 June 2022)

Family, the Domestic Church

“The pandemic experience has highlighted the central role of the family as the domestic Church, and has shown the importance of community ties between families,” the Vatican remarked in a statement announcing the Year. “Through the spiritual, pastoral, and cultural initiatives planned in the Year ‘Amoris Laetitia Family,’ Pope Francis intends to address all ecclesial communities throughout the world, exhorting each person to be a witness of family love.”
What is Family for you?  Who is Family for you?
Out of One, Many?
Out of Many, One?

Descendants of a common ancestor
Blood Relationship
Marriage Relationship
Parents and Children
Narrow / Broad Image
Exclusive / Inclusive 
Faith Family
Corporate Family
One Species  - ‘The Human Family ‘ 
All Species - A Web of All Life
God’s Family- All of Creation

We Are a Family | Jack Hartmann

"We Are Family : A Musical Message for All"

Read Pope Francis Apostolic Letter, ‘Amoris Laetitia Family’ here:

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Easter Alleluia


Alleluia, Rejoice!  Celebrate New Life and Resurrection!
Sisters of St. Joseph of Cluny
Wishing you a Blessed Easter!
Holding all in gratitude.  Shalom, Peace!

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Sacred Triduum Days Holy Saturday

 Silent  Waiting

Tomb of Jesus Christ

In this in-between-time of waiting let us spend this day in quiet reflection and pray with the Catechumens awaiting the Easter Vigil and reception of the Sacraments of Initiation into the Church, the Body of Christ.  

The Burial of Jesus Luke 23: 50 -56

Now there was a virtuous and righteous man named Joseph who, though he was a member of the council, had not consented to their plan of action. He came from the Jewish town of Arimathea and was awaiting the kingdom of God. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. After he had taken the body down, he wrapped it in a linen cloth and laid him in a rock-hewn tomb in which no one had yet been buried. It was the day of preparation, and the sabbath was about to begin. The women who had come from Galilee with him followed behind, and when they had seen the tomb and the way in which his body was laid in it, they returned and prepared spices and perfumed oils. Then they rested on the sabbath according to the commandment. 

Intercessions and closing prayer from the Church’s Evening Liturgy of the Hours for Holy Saturday. 

We Pray…

Jesus, son of God, come to set us free, lies bound in the earth. All who hoped in him await a new day, and so we pray:
     O Christ, deliver us.

Jesus, you died to set us free;
     - give true freedom to those bound because of race, sex, creed, or way of life.

You died that we might have life to the full;
     - inspire and encourage women in their quest for equality.

You died revealing God's love for us;
     - enlighten those who have no love for themselves; befriend and heal them.

You died leaving your mother in the care of another;
     - bless those who leave all to serve you in their respective ways of life; encourage and comfort their families.

Death released you from the agony of the cross;
     - be present to all who are ill; have pity on the elderly and the dying.
(add your own personal intercessions)  

Concluding Prayer

O God, by his life and his death on the cross, Jesus has revealed the depth of your love for us.  One in our flesh, he became one in our dying and burial.  Have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and once again call us to life that we may be one with him in his resurrection.  This we ask through Jesus, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever.  AMEN.

Reflect with these Resources

Song At The Empty Tomb
Marty Haugen

Tridium With Dan Schutte

Friday, April 2, 2021

Sacred Triduum Days Good Friday

 Passion and Death of Jesus Christ

"Into your hands I commend my spirit"

Reading of the Passion

Judas Betrays Jesus
When Jesus had spoken these words, He went forth with His disciples over the ravine of the Kidron, where there was a garden, in which He entered with His disciples. Now Judas also, who was betraying Him, knew the place, for Jesus had often met there with His disciples. Judas then, having received the Roman cohort and officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, came there with lanterns and torches and weapons. 

Jesus before the Priests

So the Roman cohort and the commander and the officers of the Jews, arrested Jesus and bound Him, and led Him to Annas first; for he was father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. Now Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it was expedient for one man to die on behalf of the people.

Peter’s Denial of Jesus

Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. So they said to him, “You are not also one of His disciples, are you?” He denied it, and said, “I am not.” One of the slaves of the high priest, being a relative of the one whose ear Peter cut off, *said, “Did I not see you in the garden with Him?” Peter then denied it again, and immediately a rooster crowed.

Jesus before Pilate

Then they led Jesus from Caiaphas into the Praetorium, and it was early; and they themselves did not enter into the Praetorium so that they would not be defiled, but might eat the Passover. Therefore Pilate went out to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this Man?” They answered and said to him, “If this Man were not an evildoer, we would not have delivered Him to you.” So Pilate said to them, “Take Him yourselves, and judge Him according to your law.” The Jews said to him, “We are not permitted to put anyone to death,” to fulfill the word of Jesus which He spoke, signifying by what kind of death He was about to die.

The Crown of Thorns

Pilate then took Jesus and scourged Him. And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and put a purple robe on Him; and they began to come up to Him and say, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and to give Him slaps in the face. Pilate came out again and  said to them, “Behold, I am bringing Him out to you so that you may know that I find no guilt in Him.” Jesus then came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Behold, the Man!”

The Crucifixion

So he then handed Him over to them to be crucified.
They took Jesus, therefore, and He went out, bearing His own cross, to the place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha. There they crucified Him, and with Him two other men, one on either side, and Jesus in between. Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It was written, “JESUS THE NAZARENE, THE KING OF THE JEWS.” 

Care of the Body of Jesus

After these things Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but a secret one for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate granted permission. So he came and took away His body. Nicodemus, who had first come to Him by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds weight. So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen wrappings with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. Therefore because of the Jewish day of preparation, since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.

Reflect With These Resources

Music: O Sacred Head Surrounded

Tridium With Dan Schutte

A  Prayer  of  Solidarity

For all who have contracted coronavirus,
     We pray for care and healing.
For those who are particularly vulnerable,
     We pray for safety and protection.
For all who experience fear or anxiety,
     We pray for peace of mind and spirit.
For affected families who are facing difficult decisions between food on the table or public safety,
     We pray for policies that recognize their plight.
For those who do not have adequate health insurance,
     We pray that no family will face financial burdens alone.
For those who are afraid to access care due to immigration status,
     We pray for recognition of the God-given dignity of all.
For our brothers and sisters around the world,
     We pray for shared solidarity.
For public officials and decisionmakers,
     We pray for wisdom and guidance.
Father, during this time may your Church be a sign of hope, comfort and love to all.
     Grant peace.
          Grant comfort.
                   Grant healing.
                            Be with us, Lord.         Amen.