Friday, February 29, 2008

The Latino Vote and Practical Pastoral Lessons

I am so tired of all the email I’d been receiving.
You know, the ones telling me how to vote.
I should vote for this one because as a Catholic
I should vote pro-life.
I should vote for this other because
as a Christian there really is no other choice.
As a woman, I should vote for this one.
As a minority, I should vote for the other one.

I wonder if it ever occurred to any of those folks
that I might just happen to be an informed voter?

And then I see this Youtube video.
I smiled
I laughed.
I cried.
And then I watched it again.
And again. . .
. . .and then I began to analyze this video. . .
. . .this wonderful, artistic grassroots publication.

Now, don’t read this all wrong.
What I am about to write
here in this blog
IS NOT a personal endorsement
for any one candidate or political party.

Rather, it’s an analysis of how something so simple,
something so cost efficient,
can rise from the grassroots community to make a difference.
And I’ll venture to say,
It will make or break this campaign.

I never thought I would write about politics
in my liturgy blog.
But as seems to be the case when I write,
I’ll connect the dots for you.
Just please bear with me.
There are a few practical pastoral lessons to be learned here.

This is NOT a political endorsement
of any candidate or party,
But an analysis of a grassroots cultural contribution.

I heard on Good Morning America this morning
That Hillary raised 35 million dollars
for her campaign this month.
Obama did 50 million dollars

Yet, what one media company did for the latter,
I am sure,
Will probably be worth more,
Will do more than what those millions of dollars will do.

You see,
these grassroots media folk cut to the chase.

Not one candidate in either political party
was really making a big dent in the Latino vote.
We are not invisible.
And we are not optional.
Although many haven’t realized it yet,
a lot of us are legal registered voters.

What these political campaigns have failed to realize
(or at least, failed to act upon)
is how to capture that Latino vote.

The Latino vote will not be harnessed in debates,
nor by filling auditoriums.
Oh, these are important.
But only if theses moments are evocative, emotive.

And the Latinos will not jump on board
because of celebrity endorsements or TV commercials.

But add a Mariachi,
And you’ve got our attention.

There’s just something about a mariachi band. .
. . . I’ve said it before. . .
I think it’s something in my DNA. . .
That trumpet just starts and I am in the moment. . .

Yes, this media company
did the Obama campaign a huge favor.

But, it’s not as simple as all that. . .
. . . there is creative genius in this video
and detail that you’ll miss
if you don’t pay attention.
Just blink and you’ll miss it.

The video starts off with a woman
Not just any woman.
She’s a Mexican Violin Playin’ Mariachi Latina.
The Mexican woman is one of the lowest paid workers
in the United States,
if not the lowest paid.
How’s that for starting off a video???

When the singer begins,
He tells you it’s a “corrido.”
A corrido is a song that tells story.
If you didn’t know the song was going to be a “corrido”
You do now because the singer just sang it and told you so.
So, you pay attention from the start
Because it is a corrido
And you want to hear the story.

So, with the Woman Violinist
and the word “corrido”
This video did in 12 seconds
what one year of campaigning and millions of dollars spent
have been unable to do. .
. . . capture the Latino audience attention. . .
. . .at least, hold their interest
to listen to what is about to be said.

This video isn’t buying anything with money.
It isn’t renting an auditorium.
It isn’t buying TV ad time.
It isn’t hosting a debate
(except for the electronic social network debates).
Youtube is letting it be played all over the world. . .
. . For FREE.

What it is doing is harnessing the grassroots Latino vote.
And the video is going to those places
where the grassroots folk are employed. .
. . .those places we go to every day. . .

The video shows images of workers. . .
. . .Construction workers, Restaurant workers,
Hair Stylists, Landscaping, the Auto Mechanic. . .

. . .The Mariachi band is strolling down the street.. .
. . .in front of a cell phone store,
a hair salon. . . .we see the lady at the laundromat.

We’ve probably even forwarded this video
to some of those very places.

This definitely hit home
to the grassroots working class Latino folks.

And it’s using language that makes a difference.
Now, I’m not talking Spanish / English here.

Words like “lucha.”
That’s a Spanish Power Word.
Literally, it means “struggle.”
Yet, it evokes all sorts of emotions and memories.
It is the “lucha” that forces us to make priorities.
It is the “lucha” that builds character.
It is the “lucha” the forces us, teaches us how to survive.
The video shows a man of color
and speaks of the fact this his struggle is our struggle.
No amount of money in any campaign
Can buy what those cleverly sung words evoke.

And some cleverly used
political buzzwords are used in this video:
Familia – Family
Unidos - United
Humilde – Humble
Plan de Salud – Health care plan.

And when the word “vision” is used,
We see images of people together,
Various races, united and smiling with their candidate.

And the greatest Power Word of all: VIVA
You can’t give the shout out “viva" unless it’s real,
Unless you mean it.
And yet, VIVA demands a response. . . .

. . If you can’t or won’t give your assent
with a shout back of “viva”
it forces you to think. . .
. . .forces you to articulate for yourself
where and to what you can say “Viva” to.

This grassroots effort is phenomenal.
If the Democratic party were smart,
They would hire this media company
To create an add for their party’s candidate,
Who ever that may be in the end.
If they Republicans were smart,
They would beat the Dems to it.

So. . .what are the pastoral lessons
to be learned from all of this?

Remember the value women add to your congregation.
Parish secretaries, catechists. . . the committee work. . .
. . .the grunt work. . .the kitchens. . . the fundraisers.
Women give birth in more ways than one.
Remember the women.
Honor them.
Treasure them.

Remember that the Power isn’t always in the pocketbook.
The parishioner with the biggest checkbook
may not be your congregation’s greatest treasure.
Find the pearl.
Find the diamond.
These will lead you to other such treasures.
Appreciate them all.
Celebrate them all.

Think creatively,
Especially now that times are hard in this country.
Nothing sparks creativity like the “lucha.”
Use this to your advantage.

Know your congregation.
Speak their language.
Even if this means you must learn a few new words every now and again.
Be aware that language doesn’t necessarily equal linguistics.

Use the power of Social Networking sites such as Youtube.
Video tape homilies.
Video tape missions,
Bible study, reflections.
And please video tape your youth group.
That’s a treasure beyond measure.
Post it all to Youtube.
And then post it to your parish website and/or blog.
You never know how much you’ll benefit.
For the truth is,
for better or for worse,
We are living in an age
that requires us to use Electronic Evangelization,
as well as traditional methods.
It’s free and it’s easy.

Use the shout out “Viva” where applicable.
It demands a response.
It will bring about that
“. . full, conscious, active participation”
called for in the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy.

And finally,
And perhaps, most importantly,
don’t forget to hire a Mariachi Band.
It’s well worth the expense.
And it will be pay untold dividends.

¡Viva Cristo Rey!
¡Viva La Virgen de Guadalupe!

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Video with Spanish Text

Video with English Text

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Women of God, Women of the People

Sparkling Lavender Rose MySpace Picture Comment

In a previous blog entry,
I mentioned the name of Dr. Ada Maria Isasi-Diaz.
I have read many, if not all, of her works.
Reading her works fills me with a sense of hope.
I weep when I read her material. . .
. . . .I weep because there is so much truth in what she writes.

There is no doubt in my mind that I am Catholic, in part, due to the powerful writings of Dr. Isasi-Diaz. And, in part, due to the popular faith traditions my culture celebrates.

Dr. Isasi-Diaz, apart from being a published theologian,
is a Professor of Theology and Ethics at Drew University.

Her background is one I admire.
She is a refugee from Cuba.
She was a missionary in Peru.
She lived in Spain.
She was able to visit Cuba and do some fine works in a parish. . .
. . .Baptismal prep, bible study. . .
. . .until 2004 because of the travel restrictions
imposed by the government of George W. Bush.

Isn't it funny how the things I admire about her,
the things I just detailed in the previous paragraph, are the experiential?
Oh, I admire her academics.
But I think it's the way she brings experience to theology. . . .
. . .Hers is not a head knowledge detached from experience.
It's a theology born from and through experience.
It's real.
She's real.
An Amazing Academic, she could be. . .
. . .no, She Is my sister. . . mi comadre.

This morning I just noticed
that her page over at Drew University
has a link to her "Women of God, Women of the People."

I include the link here,
so that you all can read a little bit of Dr. Isasi-Diaz' work.
I love the section on Eve.

Women of God, Women of the People.

Oh, and for those of you who don't know her,
here's a link to her Curriculum Vitae.

Dr. Ada Maria Isasi-Diaz truly is contemporary Gospel Girlfriend.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Great Quotes

Sparkling Red Rose MySpace Picture Comment

This blog entry is short and sweet.

There is a great video worth taking the three minutes or so to view it.

It a movie with some great quotes in it.

Click Here and Enjoy!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Girlfriend At The Well

I love the Gospel reading for this Sunday. It is, by far, my favorite Gospel story. (John 4:5-42)

Sadly, I have heard way too many homilies. . .read way too many articles, reflections and blogs that speak of the woman at the well as “sinner.” I prefer to think of her as Girlfriend at the Well.

First of all, I’d just like to make a comment on how many of my favorite Gospel stories don’t name the person involved. . . .

. . .The woman caught in the act of adultery (John 8). . I love this story. . .It takes two to commit adultery. . .What happened to the other party?. . . And how is it that she was “caught in adultery?” . . . Were they watching?. . . .But I digress. My point is, this woman doesn’t have a name. Or that is to say, the Gospel writer never gave her one.

. . .The woman who washed Jesus’ feet. . .Luke never gives her a name (Luke 7:36-50). . .She is only named as “sinful woman.”

. . . We read about Peter’s mother-in-law (Mark 1:30). But we never know her name. . . the Canaanite woman (Matt 15:21-28). . . Well, I won’t go there just yet. . but, again, my point is that she is nameless.

Even the sorrowing women of Jerusalem (Luke 23:27-31) are nameless. . . . . But I’ll bet one of them was my girlfriend. You know her, the one Jesus spoke to at Jacob’s well. . . .And isn’t it funny how the Gospel writer can name the well but not the woman?. . .But I digress again. . .

What is it about this Gospel Girlfriend that just keeps me thinking, keeps me faithful?

She was Samaritan. There was much tension between the Jews and the Samaritans. Basically, this meant she was of mixed blood. Hybrid. I know this reality all to well. Of two cultures. . .being forced to choose between the two. . .In reality you are not either/or. You are both/and.

In her day, it wasn’t socially acceptable to be mixed. Mixed blood equals unclean. You see, to mix and mingle with the Assyrians meant that you would have taken on some of their ways.

The hour was about noon.

And so, why was she at the well at noon? I would assume that most women would gather at the well first thing in the morning to get water for the chores of the day. . .cooking, cleaning, bathing. I would tend to think that this was more than just a task that needed to be done. I’ll bet anything that this was a chance for the women to get caught up on their news. And I bet the little ones were probably running and chasing each other around and around that well as children are prone to do.

I’ll bet these ladies invited each other over for this and that. I’ll bet that on the days they were unable to go to the well. . .due to illness or being out of town. . .they missed it tremendously. And I’ll bet they were missed. “Where is so-and-so? Why didn’t she come today?”

My point is that the well wasn’t just a place to draw water. It was the social hub of the time. It was the communication network. It was place for women to gather and share friendships.

So. . . why does this Gospel Girlfriend go to the well at noon?
Probably because the other gals didn’t see her as a friend. She would rather bear the heat of the noon day sun than bear the hostile stares of the other women.

Sometimes the worse thing you can do to a person is fail to acknowledge them, fail to acknowledge they exist. Sometimes the worse thing you can do to a person is force them to the margins.

The Cuban-American theologian, Ada Maria Isasi-Diaz, speaks of the marginalized being optional people.

Sadly, the people of her day saw Girlfriend at the well as one of those optional people.

The Gospel doesn’t tell us if she had children or not. If she did, this is another reason she wouldn’t have gone to the well in the morning. If she would have brought her children along they, too, would have experienced the hostility. Her children, if she had any, would also have been considered optional people. Like any good mother, she would have wanted to protect her children. Going to the well at noon was one way to protect them.

Or maybe she had no children. To be unable to bear children was reason enough for a man to divorce her. Maybe she had so many husbands because the men didn’t want a woman who wouldn’t bear them a child. A woman who couldn’t bear children was an optional woman. And maybe her husbands just opted out.

Maybe she never formally married the one she was with because she was just fed up with the whole system, the red tape. No one liked her anyway. Maybe it was just easier to not get married at all. This is so sad because society taught her to say for herself that she was optional.

Isn’t that the saddest thing? Isn’t so sad when others tell you who you are and you end up believing it? An optional woman.

The sad thing is, my girlfriend is still standing at the well. She is there and many refuse to acknowledge she exists. I’m sure you’ve seen her. Why haven’t we dared to speak to her in public?

Maybe she is an undocumented immigrant. I’ve heard many call her optional.

Maybe she doesn’t speak English. I’ve heard many say that they won’t speak to her until she learn the language. Most opt not to learn her language. Most opt not to bother to teach her their language. So, communicating with her, acknowledging she even exists, is optional.

Maybe she’s that woman locked up in some nursing home. You know her, the woman the church will visit on Christmas and Easter, but forgotten the rest of the year. You see, remembering her more than that is optional.

Or maybe she is that young woman with new and innovative ideas. . . .but we opt to ignore her because. . .well, she’s too young to know. . .

Maybe she is not Christian. I’ve heard many opt her out from the get-go

Most reading this blog probably never even heard of the women of Chiapas. You can’t get much more optional that than, when people don’t even know you exist.

Or maybe she is Mother Earth herself. God knows we’ve really treated her as optional.

After her poetic dialogue with the Word Made Flesh this Gospel Girlfriend went out and told everyone about Jesus. In fact, she was single handedly the best PR Jesus could have had at the time.

Could you imagine what our neighborhoods, our church, our world would be like if we opted her back in?

This woman, she is my Girlfriend, my Comadre. I hope she is for you, too.

If that well ever just gets to deep for you to be able to handle, just give Girlfriend a call. She’s an expert with centuries of well experience. And she left her water jar there, just in case you need it.

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Video: Women of Chiapas

Video: Woman at the Well

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Castro, Cuba, Caridad and Elian

By now, the world has heard the news of Fidel Castro’s resignation. Castro has been in power since before I was born. What I write here today in this blog may seem totally disconnected, but I offer it anyway.

I mean, I long ago realized that all of us and all things are connected. Somehow, we just seem to miss the mark. It seems that we are often unable to connect the dots that connect us all And so today, I’d like to share how I, in my own way, am connected to what is happening in Cuba today.

First of all, let me say that since my high school years I have had a desire to visit Cuba. . .the people, the grassroots community. . Since my high school days I have had the desire to really meet and get to know the people and their culture. I don’t mean the politics and powers. My desire has been to visit and get to know the children of God who live on the island of Cuba.

I’m not sure what fueled that desire. I only know that it began burning in me as a teenager. I began my adult life. . .living, working, raising children, etc., etc. . .and that desire to visit Cuba never subsided. On the contrary, it only grew as the years went by.

Eventually, I began to work in a rather larger Detroit parish. As soon as I started. . .within the first two weeks. . .I was contacted by Raquel and her husband. The Cuban community of the Archdiocese of Detroit gather each year to celebrate the feast of Nuestra Señora de la Caridad del Cobre (Our Lady of Charity). This celebration would take place about one month after my coming to this parish.

And so, I met with Raquel and Mingo. She began to tell me the story of Our Lady of Charity. (Perhaps I’ll write the story out in another blog entry.) She also handed me a cassette tape and some music. "I know it might be hard for you to learn all of this in time," she stated, " but if you only have time to learn one song, then learn this one." Intrigued, I asked why this particular song was more important than the others.

It was a hymn in Honor of Our Lady of Charity. How she replied brings me to tears, even today. She said that the text to this particular hymn was one she sang as a child in Cuba. But then they were told they were not permitted to sing it anymore.

In that instant I realized what it means to be free to worship. I, for one, cannot imagine celebrating Our Lady of Guadalupe on Dec. 12th each year without singing some of my favorite Guadalupe hymns.

I cannot imagine Christmas, Easter, or any other religious feast without being able to freely choose what songs I sing.

Needless to say, I learned the song she requested of me. In fact, I learned all of them. Spanish translations of The Lourdes Melody and O Sanctissima would not have sufficed and I knew that. While these are beautiful Marian hymns, they are only substitutes for those Marian hymns to Our Lady of Charity that this particular community was not permitted to sing.

These folks had a very decisive vision of what they wanted in these celebrations. This inspired me. For the fact of the matter is, that while in the United States we are free to worship there are many who approach the liturgy lukewarm, if they approach it at all.

I continued to meet with Raquel and others from the Cuban community over the years that I served in this parish. And I realized that they, at least those that I met and worked with, had twice experienced a diaspora: Once when they came to the United States and another within the church itself. The stories they shared make me shake me head and wonder how, at times, the church itself, manages to be unable to connect the dots.

And so, all of this really only served to increase my desire to one day visit Cuba.

And then one day there was a very handsome young man from Cuba who tugged at my heart strings. This young man’s name is Elian Gonzalez.

I’m certain you are familiar with his story. . .how his mother left Cuba with him and a few others. But Elian’s mother died during the journey. Elian was found floating on the waters by some fishermen and brought to shore.

The great debate was that he was not a refugee because he didn’t freely step on shore, he was carried to shore. Also, his father had legal custody of the child when his mother left Cuba with him.

And yet, I could not enter the debate. I could only be filled with love for this amazing little boy.
His mother and others died. That was reason enough for me to care. That was reason enough.

I understood the sense of desperation that caused his mother to risk her very life to bring her son to the United States. And so I prayed for her soul, may she rest in peace, and I pray for her son.

I understood the sense of loss his father felt knowing that his son was taken from him by his ex-wife. And so I prayed for him, too.

The political struggle came to a climax when Elian was taken from his Florida family so that he could be returned to family in Cuba. Elian was taken at gunpoint during the wee hours of the morning, Holy Saturday morning.

At that moment, I began to pray for Elian. While the world focused on legalities and who had custody, I decided to detach myself from all of the politics and issues and just pray.

It was Holy Saturday morning. How could I not pray? Since then there is not a Holy Week gone by that I do not pray earnestly for this young man. And as the church moves toward Divine Mercy Sunday, my novena is always filled with prayers for Elian.

The famous photo of Elian being taken by away by an INS agent shot around the world at the speed of internet. This photo eventually won the photographer a Pulitzer prize. But, I must admit, I often wonder and worry about what that photo won for Elian.

And perhaps the reason that Elian has so touched my heart is that he is the same age as my son. Every time I see or think of that photo I think, "What if this were my son?"

And, so I began to pray for him as much as I do for my own children.

My son doesn’t do a thing without my saying a prayer for him and one for Elian. When my son began Middle school, I wondered about Elian’s school and said a prayer for him. When my son plays football and basketball, I wonder about Elian’s sports activities and I pray for him. When my son won the spelling bee, I wondered about and prayed for Elian’s academic success.

When my son made his Confirmation I thanked God for that freedom to worship, for that freedom to celebrate the sacrament, and I prayed for Elian.

When my son forgets to take out the garbage or needs to reminded to change the kitty litter. . . I think about and pray for Elian.

And I will say prayer for Elian when my son starts driver’s ed, when my son goes to prom, when my son graduates. . .But I will also pray for him during all of those little moments that parents treasure.

When my son asks me questions about the presidential elections, about 911, about immigration. . .I say a prayer of thanksgiving that my son is growing up and he is listening and aware. I say another prayer for Elian as he is growing up, too.

Elian Gonzalez was just six-years-old when the world met him. Today he is 14. That was about the age I was when the desire to visit Cuba first entered my thoughts. If for no other reason, I would hope that those reading this blog would say a prayer for Elian because he is a teenager, a teenager whose mother is deceased. That should be reason enough to say a prayer.

I do not know what Castro’s resignation will mean for Cuba, for Raul Castro, for Cuba / U.S. relations, for the people of Cuba, for Elian. But I offer prayers for all of the above. "Our Father. . .your will be done."

I realize that I may never be able to visit Cuba. But you know, after all of these years, it really doesn’t matter anymore. Cuba has visited my heart. And I am ever grateful that I have been able to connect the dots. I hope and pray that others will be able to do the same.

Our Lady of Charity, Patroness of Cuba; Pray for us.

St. Monica, Patroness of Christian mothers; Pray for us.

St. Alban, Patron of Refugees; Pray for Us.

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About the picture: This is an image of Our Lady of Charity of Cobre, Patroness of Cuba with the three "Juans" she appeared to.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Transfiguration

(Luke 9:28-36)

Are we really ready for transformation
and transfiguration according to Jesus Christ?

Do we take that transformation with us
out into the work place, into our homes, into our lives?

Do we choose to "make three tents"
and leave the moment in the church building?

Do we believe
that we have been given
the vision of our potential and the grace
to become the faith-filled disciples sharing in the vision,
living it our in our very lives?

As we follow Jesus,
do we listen with attention to the recommendation of God the Father?

What aspect of our lives
needs to be opened to the brightness of transfiguration?

What aspect of our lives needs transformation?

Español/Spanish Here

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Behold The Wood of This Cross

Behold, the Wood of This Cross.

You know, church life can be really trying sometimes. Just because it is "church" doesn’t mean it will be without communication breakdowns. Just because it is "church" doesn’t mean that people and procedures will be respected. On the contrary, precisely because the church is human many unfavorable qualities can, and often do, abound.

The challenge for each of us is to bear this cross when it presents itself. We must be Simon to each other and help each other carry the cross. Indeed, we must challenge those who thrust the cross upon our shoulders, or on our friend’s shoulders, to begin with. And this challenge is one of made out love. Precisely because I love you as a sister/brother in Christ, I must challenge you sometimes.

The thing is, most of us are afraid of that confrontation. We fear losing the friendship. We fear being cast as the troublemaker. And so many end up whispering in the pews to those they would see as allies about what this one or that one did, about what this group or that group did. In the end, that does nothing but build up another cross.

Near as I can tell, Jesus Christ spent his ministry challenging folks. Wouldn’t it really be more Christ-like to offer the challenge? And to do so in love and respect? To really pray about what words to say, about how to lovingly offer the challenge? Instead, many stand crucified. Maybe we are nailed to the cross because we are afraid to open out mouths.

There are times when it is necessary to stand Silent Like the Lamb, Silent with The Lamb. However, there are other times when our silence perpetuates and exasperates the sin.

Now, I won’t detail on this electronic parchment why the San Damiano crucifix in the photo here is a cross for me to bear. It has nothing to do with the cross itself or the fact that it is San Damiano. It will suffice to say that this cross I bear is a cross due to communication breakdowns and disrespect.

Still, this cross, that is to say, the cross made of wood in this photo, has been part of our parish’s Lenten mission. As I reflect on it now, even the cross built of communication break downs and disrespect has been an integral part of this mission. At least it has been for me.

Even so, it has been difficult for me to enter into the spirit of this mission knowing that people I love deeply have been hurt.

The presenter of the mission told the story of St. Francis of Assisi and the wolf. Now, that is a story I’ve heard since childhood. I won’t detail it here, but you can Google it easy enough if you want to know more about.

The presenter spoke of the wolf being that wild animal we fear. St. Francis managed to tame that wolf, at least for himself.

And with that I realize that writing this blog is cathardic. I am not afraid of the wolf (confrontation/challenge). On the contrary, I think there are many who do not like me precisely because of that.

The leader of the mission also asked the question of those present, "Who are you?" I had no difficulty answering the question. With Judith, my girlfriend from the Old Testament, I rejoice knowing I am a daughter of God.

But, at least for me, knowing I am a daughter of God is not enough. I need to articulate for myself what role I play in this family.

I am the member of the family that agitates every now and again. I am the member of the family that rocks the boat a little every once in a while. And I do this so that my brothers and sisters don’t grow apathetic and complacent in their faith.

I am the member of the family who dares to say we must worhip at the cross and not worship the cross. I am the one who dares to say that sometimes people use ministry not as mission but as an attempt to monopolize the Kingdom, as if that were even possible. I am the member of the family that recognizes that sometimes people can use God as an alibi for not seeing and hearing the Crucified one in our midst.

Indeed, true converstion calls for nothing less that confrontation.

I am not the wolf. I am the member of the family who is not afraid of the wolves named "Challenge" and "Confrontation." And because of this, there are some who don’t like it, don’t like me. So be it. I grew up with these wolves fearing them tremendously. And now I embrace them lovingly.

I will not stop embracing these wolves simply because others don’t like it. What these folks don't like, indeed what they fear, is their own conversion.

And so there is confrontation. For if I stand in silence and watch as others are hurt then I am just as guilty. I don’t know about you, but I can’t own that.

Perhaps now, I can embrace this cross, that is to say, the one built of communication break down and disrespect. By embracing it I mean to say/speak out loud (or least, on this electronic parchment) that this communication breakdown exists and has caused damage to the Body of Christ. As a daughter of God I will always embrace The Crucified. I pray that by doing so and by speaking these words we can begin the process of healing and reconciliation for that is what embracing the wolf is all about.

Behold the Wood of the Cross.
Behold and Listen.
This Crucifix of San Damiano is speaking.
I only hope I am not the only one who can hear it.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

St. Elizabeth Parish Lenten Mission

St. Elizabeth

I have served as music minister
for Wyandotte's St. Elizabeth parish for about 2 1/2 years now.
St. Elizabeth will be hosting a mission this Lenten season.
I, for one, really need to recoup and regroup
and so am really looking forward to this mission experience.

This mission is entitled:
"Prayer Before the Crucifix"

The mission dates are:
Feb. 10th - Feb. 13th

Mission Time:
7:00p.m. each evening.

There will be fellowship each evening in the parish hall
after the mission presention.

The presentener is Fr. Charlie Smiech, O.F.M.
Fr. Charlie is a Franciscan Friar of the St. John the Baptist Province.
He is an international Retreat Director and Spiritual Advisor.

Do join us!

St. Elizabeth
138 Goodell Street
Wyandotte, MI (at 2nd Street)

about the photo: this statue of st. elizabeth can be found in the church proper of st. elizabeth parish in wyandotte.

Bilingual Lenten Mission

Bishop Daniel Flores auxiliary of Detroit
It’s about two years now that I serve as a music minister for St. Alfred Parish.
St Alfred is located in the city of Taylor, MI.

St. Alfred presents a bilingual mission:
Jesus asks
What Do You Want Me to do for You?

Come and join us!
All are welcome!

Feb. 14 - 7:00p.m.
Presentor: Bishop Daniel Flores

Feb. 21 - 7:00p.m.
Presentor: Fr. James Kean

Feb. 28 - 7:00p.m.
Presentor: Bishop Daniel Flores

Childcare will be provided.

There will be Mass, Mission Presentation and Fellowship.

For more information, plcase call:
Janet Diaz, Pastoral Minister
313-291-6464, ext. 105

St. Aflred
9500 Banner
Taylor, MI
(At Telegraph, one block south of Wick)

St. Alfred's Website

St. Alfred in the Free Press

about the photo: Bishop Daniel Flores as he presides at a mass last December at LaSed.

Español/Spanish Here

Friday, February 8, 2008

It's Lent. With Whom Do You Identify?

St.Frances Cabrini Church Window
Of the many people that appear in the scriptures during Lent and Holy Week, with whom do you most identify?

Are you one of the soldiers that pounded the nails into His cross?

Are you the sarcastic bad thief who steals hope and joy from the faithful?

Are you the good thief who cries,
"Good Jesus, remember me when you come into your reign?"

Are you Judas, one who would betray a friend with a kiss?

Are you Simon of Cyrene,
one who dares to help another with their cross?

Are you Peter,
one who not only denied knowing one of his very best friends
but also denied his own reality?

Are you like the women at the foot of the cross,
crying for another unable to help them in their agony?

Are you like His friends who ran away from it all?

Are you like Veronica,
the valient woman who wiped the face of Jesus,
breaking the barriers and the rules of protocol?

Are you like the Samaritan woman,
a person of mixed culture
who has difficult time finding acceptance in either culture?

Are you the psalmist that cries out,
"My God, my God why have you abandoned me?"

Are you the psalmist that cries out,
"As a deer yearns for running streams, so I thirst for you?"

Are you awake or asleep during prayer?

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About the photo: A beautiful stained glass window just above the main entrace in St. Frances Cabrini Church in Allen Park, MI

Español Aquí / Spanish Here