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Jan 312017
 

candlesA lot of time, we can look for big miracles as signs the Holy Spirit present, but it is in the little things, he does the most work!

Washington, DC, USA–The Holy Spirit works in mysterious ways, and not necessarily with great fanfare. Often times, I remind people that unlike the movies, where dramatic music underlies every powerful act of God, we do not have such music in our lives. The Holy Spirit acts without music.

I had just arrived from Boston by Amtrak and then Metro (subway) to the campus of Catholic University of America for the tail end of the annual Vigil for Life held at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception last Thursday night (January 27). This is always held on the eve of the Pro-Life March in Washington, which protests the legalization of abortion in this country. I was not wearing my clerics because I was traveling alone and in the wake of a lot of protests throughout the US, especially in the cities along the eastern seaboard of the country, I thought it would be safer to travel without cleric.

The vigil for life just ended and people were leaving the Basilica. I then figured it was best to go to my motel after I got a few pictures. Grabbing a quick supper at the CUA Barnes and Noble and then shopping there for a small card for my phone, to replace the one that became corrupted, I met a young seminarian from St. Louis in his clerics and alone. He was looking for something to power up his now powerless Google Pixel. Again, I was concerned about his safety, although he was not. He needed to find his friend in Maryland where he would be staying. Without his phone, he had no way to contact him or even know how to get to his house in Maryland. Further, he did not know his number because it was on his now powerless phone. I have traveled in my own country and in various Asian and Caribbean and South American countries, I am used to traveling and I know how not to look like a target. I also speak three languages and granted speak them all them like a “Gringo” but I can get around. He was alone, young and in his clerics with no power in his phone to get to his friends house. This had me concerned for his safety in the aftermath of some violent and disturbing protests of the previous week in this same city, especially since he had no way to contact his friend.

I am a writer and whenever I travel, I carry my Chromebook in my backpack. I realized that my Chromebook could fire up his Google Pixel enough for him to contact his friend and so he could find adn arrive to his home safely. I pulled out the computer, put it on the floor of the Barnes and Noble and turned it on. He connected his phone, charged it a bit enough to call his friend. It was like we were trying to contact someone using almost rudimentary means from the field. He learned his friend would meet him in Maryland five stops from the Brookland/CUA station which I knew was only two blocks away. We walked there, he found his way to the train and that was the last I saw him.

The Lord provided, but I was the channel through which He provided and that is because I just happen to carry a computer with me. If it was not me, then the Lord would have found another.

This was Divine Providence. I was just there where God could use me even without my knowledge or planning. The Holy Spirit uses us everyday and the more we give ourselves over to Him, the we more can expect Him to use us in little ways. Meanwhile, know that the Lord does provide, trust in Him always.

Did you heal someone today? probably not. But did God use you today? Probably in more ways than you know. See how God used others to help you today, reflect on it during the day.

 

Have a blessed week.

Fr. Robert J Carr

 

 

 Posted by at 01:01
Jan 302017
 

by Fr. Robert J Carr

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Cardinal O’Malley preaching at Sacred Heart Shrine, Columbia Heights, Washington, DC

Columbia Heights, Washington, DC–Cardinal Seán O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston, celebrated Mass at the Sacred Heart Shrine in the Columbia Heights neighborhood of Washington, DC on Friday to kick off the Archdiocese’s participation in the annual March for Life in the United States’ Capital.

Proclaiming that “Every life is precious,” the Boston Archbishop and member of the Pope’s group of Cardinal advisors called for a community rooted in solidarity. Approximately, one thousand parishioners from Massachusetts listened as the beloved Capuchin friar built upon a theme of caring for all at birth and death. He described the recent celebration of the Sacrament of the Sick with one of the founders of the Ice Bucket Challenge who is in the last stages of ALS, commonly known in the US as Lou Gehrig’s disease and he used the experience to call to reject assisted suicide.

“Hitler,” the Cardinal said “promoted mercy killing.” He added that it sends a dangerous signal that those with disabilities are better off dead.

“We need each other at the beginning and end of our lives.” he emphasized. “This is why we are here.”

“Mercy and compassion are not the acts of ending the suffering person’s life,” He said. “Mercy and Compassion are really taking care of people and letting people take care of us.”

Suffering, he explained, is a call for all to care for those with disabilities and for the yet to be born. The prelate countered that in a country where extreme individualism is a virtue, caring for others at their birth and at their death is the call of solidarity.

The Cardinal said that according to Cardinal Carlo Martini the once archbishop of Milan who died in 2012, the Gospels show that Jesus had a higher priority for caring for the suffering than he did for preaching.

He ended his talk by citing three people that had inspired him greatly, Nellie Gray, the founder of the March for Life in Washington, DC. The first march was by about twenty-thousand people, according to Cardinal O’Malley, since then, he explained, it has reached over a half a million.

Mother Theresa whom he said  “touched the lives of thousand and thousands of people.”through the order she founded.

Finally, he spoke about Dorothy Day, whom he met at the Catholic Worker House in Washington, DC when he was a young priest. Day who is a declared Servant of God, the first step toward canonization, was a a convert to Catholicism who had both an abortion and later a child out of wedlock, but who came to the Catholic faith and became devout a great advocate of social justice. Day, a journalist and one-time contemporary to US playwright Eugene O’Neil, embraced the corporal and spiritual works of mercy as the guide to Catholic action.

Citing these three, the prelate stated that each one of us can make a difference.

“At the beginning and end of life we need each other.” he said.

“Our task is to turn the crowd into the community.” he proclaimed speaking of the powerful effect of caring for others.

“My hope and my prayer for us today is that we know that God has put us here for a purpose.”

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Fr. Matt Williams surrounded by marchers on the March for Life in Washington, DC

The mass began with Boston Archdiocesan Youth Ministry Director, Father Matt Williams, teaching that “Witness to life starts with the Eucharist.” He added “the first aspect of being pro-life is being fully alive with the life you have been given.”

The march, which took place later in the day, had hundreds of thousands, if not over a half a million, participants who marched from the far end of the Washington Mall, not far from the White House, to the US Supreme Court. The march memorializes the decision of the US Supreme Court to legalize abortion in January of 1973. Among those who spoke at the pre-march rally was Vice-President of the United States Mike Pence, a Catholic and former governor of the US state of Indiana. Pence is the first Vice-President to speak to the marchers. No president has spoken at the rally.

This was 44th march.

SIDEBAR

BOSTON STRONG: WE CHOOSE LIFE!

by Fr. Robert J Carr

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Mother Olga and Daughters of Mary of Nazareth, with Boston marchers in front of theUS Supreme Court Building, Friday

Washington, DC–Members of the Archdiocese of Boston’s contingent to the March for Life in Washington, DC, came up with a chant for the event. Led by youth ministry  director Fr. Matt Williams, who began yelling: “Boston Strong.” Participants, including hundreds of youth, responded: “We Choose Life.”

“Boston Strong,” a slogan common in the New England city, began in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks that hit that community on Patriot’s Day 2013 at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. The event is dramatized well in the recently released movie Patriot’s Day. “Boston Strong” remains the slogan for the city.

The Boston group contained about one thousand participants of various ages and walks of life, from Cardinal Seán O’Malley, Archbishop to adult laity, priests, bishops, nuns, brothers and sisters and hundreds of youth and young adults and even a teen with Down’s Syndrome. Among the participants was Mother Olga, a convert to Catholicism and a native Iranian who formed her own order the Daughters of Mary of Nazareth now based in Quincy, Massachusetts. She and Fr. Matt Williams led a prayer in front of the Supreme Court building for the nation and a call for an end to abortion here in the US. They included a prayer for the intercession of St. Frances Cabrini (interred in New York City) St. Elizabeth Ann Seton (interred in Emmitsburg, Maryland) and all of the American saints. The prayer was the culmination of the Archdiocese’s participation in the event in Washington for 2017.

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500 of the 1000 marchers from the Archdiocese of Boston on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, prior to the March for Life

Photo credits: George Martell, Archdiocese of Boston

 Posted by at 01:01
Jan 292017
 

The One God ChoosesOne of the first stories I ever wrote, I dedicated to a woman by the name of Bobbie Nelson and to her husband Richard. Bobbie was not famous or as her name would imply a country singer. She was a simple woman, who ministered to those in the Navy. She was not appointed to the position. She just did this as a committed Christian woman in service to the world including the sailors at the Long Beach, California, Naval Base. A prayerful, evangelical woman who was so filled with faith that she lived it bravely. But I feel that many in our society would look down upon her because she was a simple woman despite her powerful faith. She lived the Gospel as it was written.

 

My favorite story about Bobbie Nelson is that she ministered to her next door neighbors.  Now realize that the Long Beach Naval Base was basically part of the city of Long Beach which is almost a suburb of Los Angeles. Many of the TV shows at the time were filmed there. The Pacific Princess moored nearby in San Pedro and that, was the home port of the ship and the program based on it: The Love Boat. TV shows were filmed all the time in Long Beach because it is so close to Hollywood. Well also in Los Angeles is a host of notorious motorcycle gangs. Bobbie and her husband Richard lived next door to one of them. She related to us that she would say to them everyday  that she was praying them into Heaven. She baked them birthday cakes and all kinds of things to a rather notorious motorcycle gang.

 

Now how many who study sociology at Harvard University would consider that a good idea? I don’t know and she would not care. She cared about one thing living the Gospel of the Lord. A simple woman who challenged the criminal and the super educated at the same time, while being an inspiration to many.

 

I know of another woman who died recently. A divorcee, she chose to became nun and then became a prison chaplain. She was so much into the work that she actually not only worked in the prison, she lived there. What makes it fascinating is that although she was from the United States, the prison where she worked and lived was in Tijuana, Mexico. Her name was Sister Antonia. The Federales, she told us, informed her that she lived with and ministered to some of Mexico’s most dangerous prisoners, but she never had a problem with them because she was living the Gospel. Another simple woman who challenged the criminal and the super educated at the same time  while being an inspiration to many.

 

The driving force of both women is the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to lead people to salvation. That simple goal is considered foolishness to many. But to these women it was their mission. They inspired many including myself.

 

St. Paul in today’s Gospel says that God chooses the weak to shame the strong. He chooses the foolish to shame the wise, and the lowly and despised to shame those of high esteem. This does not say much for any of us. God called each one of us. However, if we look at it a different way, it says a lot. We are not perfect, we are not great and many consider themselves weak and if we went to Jesus and complained to him about all the reasons we should not be his disciple, he would reply that this was exactly the reason why he chose us. This means that he chose you to be an inspiration to others and lead them to salvation and your excuse of why you should not be such a disciple is exactly the reason why he chose you.

 

If you in your weakest moment seek to be a disciple of Christ nonetheless and turn to him for help to be such a disciple, you are glorifying him just because you do not give up despite your weakness.

 

The Old Testament tells the story of Gideon who defeated the Midianites using 300 men. He was told by God to send home almost 30,000 men and fight the entire midianite army with only 300. The reason because he would know when the Midianites were defeated that it was by God’s hand they were defeated not by Gideon’s skill.

 

We stand before the Lord and respond to his call to do his will not because we are great and powerful, but because he is and when we seek to do his will we do powerful things. When we seek to rely on our own wisdom, we do stupid things.

 

One example I have is that of a group trying to change the Church to one more with teachings more friendly to the American liberal community. They would tell me that there was a problem with Latinos because you know they are uneducated and they are naive. To this day, I consider this group of highly educated members of the left wing to be  the most racist group, I ever encountered, I won’t even begin to address how incorrect they are. Yet they are clueless in their complete dismissal of Latino Catholics, unable to see their own prejudice. 

 

One of my favorite examples on the other side of the weak becoming strong is found in the book the Cross and the Switchblade. The pastor David Wilkerson wanted to work with gangs in New York. However, when he drove to a tough side of Manhattan he ended up being completely embarrassed in front of the gangs. He parked his car in a no parking zone and if I remember correctly gave the police officer a hard time and was arrested right in front of the gang related youth he planned to evangelize. At that point, he felt that his mission to help evangelize gangs failed because he had been made a fool in front of the police. Much to his shock, it had the opposite effect, it opened a door for him to evangelize the gangs because the arrest made them see him as one of them.

 

God uses all parts of our life and the more we find we are not the person he should call, the more we realize that we are exactly the person he calls and for that seemingly disqualifying reason, provided we struggle to give ourselves to Christ despite our weakness and lack of success.

God bless you,

Fr. Robert J Carr

Fr. Carr is member of the Segundo Elo  of the Canção Nova Community. He is the pastor of Holy Trinity Quincy, MA and is the editor of this blog. He is the author of several books, blogs and hundreds of videos all of which you may find on Youtube You can follow him on twitter as @frbobcarr and on Google plus as+FrRobertCarr, his website is Carrbooks.us Thoughts, comments on the homily? Let us know at Facebook

 Posted by at 01:01
Jan 272017
 

It is important to clearly understand that God decided to establish His Kingdom among us through His Church. Vatican Council II, “Lumen Gentium” teaches us that the Church has “the mission to proclaim and to spread among all peoples the Kingdom of Christ and of God and to be, on earth, the initial budding forth of that kingdom” (LG 5). In other words, there is no Kingdom of God without the Church. Therefore the Church is not something dispensable, She is fundamental.

According to Saint Augustine’s words, “the Church received the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven so that She can accomplish the forgiveness of all sins through the Blood of the Christ and the Action of the Holy Spirit. Our souls were dead because of sin; even though they can now revive in the Church”.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church shows all the beauty, reality, mission and identity of the Church and teaches us that the Church:

  • Is “a Plan born in the Father’s Heart” (CCC, 759);
  • Was “foreshadowed from the world’s beginning” (CCC, 760);
  • Was “prepared for in the Old Covenant” (CCC, 761);
  • Was “instituted by Jesus Christ” (CCC, 763);
  • Is “revealed by the Holy Spirit” (CCC, 767);
  • Will be “perfected in glory” (CCC, 769);
  • Is the “mystery of men’s union with God” (CCC, 772);
  • Is “the Universal Sacrament of Salvation” (CCC, 774);
  • Is “the Body of Christ” (CCC, 787);
  • Is “the Bride of Christ” (CCC, 796);
  • Is “the Temple of the Holy Spirit” (CCC, 797);
  • Is “the People of God” (CCC, 781).

 

All these expressions have a vast meaning and you should know them in depth.

Some people ask: “why do we need a Church? Is it not enough to have faith in Jesus Christ?”

The answer for that question is that Jesus Himself wanted the Church as the continuation of His Redeeming Presence amidst men. He gave us the Church and the Creed as a guarantee that we are not merely following our own common sense or an undefined anonymous religiosity: we are walking along the pathways of God.

Prof Felipe Aquino

Professor Felipe Aquino is a widower, father of five children. On TV Canção Nova he presents the program “Escola da Fé” [School of faith] and “Pergunte e Responderemos” [Ask and respond], on Radio he presents the program “in the heart of the Church”. On weekends he preaches deepening meetings throughout Brazil and abroad. He wrote 73 books of Catholic background by publishers, Loyola and Cleopas and Canção Nova. His teacher’s page:www.cleofas.com.br Twitter: @pfelipeaquino

 Posted by at 01:01
Jan 262017
 

This brief life needs to be a path to eternal life

Recently, we lost a very dear person, we came almost together in Canção Nova Community, in 2001. I never imagined that young people, young parents, can die suddenly, unexpectedly. The passage of dear Samuel into the arms of the father in heaven made me rethink a lot of things in my life. One is that we must not lose time, because our life is short and, in addition, we don’t know when the Lord will call us.

For this reason, it is worthwhile to reflect where we are spending our energies with which goals and also how we are living our life. Do I believe in God? Do I want to do his will? Do I want to be Holy? Am I taking of God to those who live and work with me? What comes first in my life: God, the neighbor, or myself?

Another issue is our relationships: with whom do I need to reconcile? Whom do I need to forgive or ask for forgiveness? Who needs help, love or more?

Let us pray today, asking God to reveal to us what really matters. What is really essential? This will be a good step to avoid wasting time. This brief life needs to be a path to eternal life!

God bless you!

Márcio Todeschini

Portuguese version

 Posted by at 01:01
Jan 252017
 

Our heart’s desire is to be fully of God, but something has prevented us

Márcio Mendes, on the Canção Nova Program ‘ Smiling at Life ‘, invites us to look at our lives and see what has prevented us from being fully of God.

The meditated Word is in Hebrews 12.1 -4:
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and perfecter of faith. For the sake of the joy that lay before him he endured the cross, despising its shame, and has taken his seat at the right of the throne of God. Consider how he endured such opposition from sinners, in order that you may not grow weary and lose heart. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood.

O que me impede de ser inteiramente de Deus?

Photo: file/cancaonova.com

There are things that we live and are not sins, but hinder our way of Holiness. St Paul in points out for us a path. He guides us to fix our gaze on Christ, because He goes before us and directs us to heaven. That we may not be discouraged, let us think of Jesus. That Word above builds in us every willingness to not give up.

Who is this “cloud of witnesses” described in the word? Is it those around us: our children, spouse, co-workers, friends. Are we observed at all times. Whoever says he is a person of God, will be observed by people and they charge us with attitudes of a servant of the Lord in the face of the persecutions, the fighting and slander.

What disturbs us be of God? What has kept us discouraged? What are our sins? Let us leave aside the irritation, the harsh words, lack of education, which makes us do evil and the sin that surrounds us.

Our goal in this life is to be happy, but we have to be good. How many people, attached to the misconceptions of happiness, think: “I’m going to be happy when I have money” or “I will be happy when I get married,” and so many other goals we become distracted from true happiness. For many, health becomes the most important and takes the place of religion and faith.

Let us leave aside the fear of failure. How many people giving up in life, because of the love os someone! We are cured on the road, not stagnating, but we continue. We are all bringing our interior frustrations and disappointments.

We will never live in fullness of  our mission if you don’t get rid of what is weighing on our heart. What disturbs us from following our life? Sorrows, complexes, disappointments? To like a person, the first step is to accept him. If you don’t accept your son the way he is, you won’t be able to love him. Similarly, if you don’t love your father, your mother, your spouse, you will notsucceed in love.

The secret to winning is for you look at Jesus, who endured the cross in view of the joy that was waiting for him. At the moment we accepted Him, He liberated us. The secret to moving on is to keep our eyes fixed on the Lord.

Let’s face this day with reference to Jesus? Let’s dedicate ourselves with grit and perseverance to make this the greatest day of our lives. What could we do good and still haven’t done? With the grace of Jesus we take the first step and we come to the end. Let us remain fixed in thinking of Our Lord.

Márcio Mendes
Canção Nova Community mission

Portuguese Transcription and adaptation: Ariele Silva

Portuguese version

 Posted by at 01:01
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