Friday, May 23, 2008
At the airport of Kigoma... yes only part of the runway is paved... there is Brother Stan. He waves vigorously as we get off of the little plane. The roads are not paved there seems to be a sea of people wandering the red clay roads. As we weave our way to Ahadi his home and the home of the Emmanuel Community I send a text message to the families of our trip members letting them know that we have arrived safely. I know that some of them are worried. As we arrive a continuous stream of young men run out of the door. Some are young and strong some of them are obviously handicapped. Welcome Welcome Welcome they say. Caribou. I think that is how you write it and say it in Swahili. I am happy to hear that we will be staying right with the community. We will be able to pray with them and work with them wake with them and eat with them. We will share their simple meals. In the morning we eat a boiled sweet potato., at lunch rice and beans, at supper the same. There is also a corn mush that I find difficult to eat. The young men love it and pile their plates high. There are over 100 people who live in this little place. No one is turned away. Most share a simple little bed and mosquito net with another. They study, they work, and some are here because they have no other place to go. The house is so crowded. We barely fit under the tin roof as the community sings their grace before their meal. Beautiful.
I lay under my mosquito net the night is filled with unfamiliar sounds. I am exhausted but I cannot sleep. Why am I here? What is this place? Am I still up to the challenge? Can I make this a positive experience... how far can I let this experience push our students? They are so willing but they really don't know what they will see or experience. Youthful passion and enthusiasm... it is so life giving and sometimes even a little naive. The thoughts just don't stop as I toss and turn. Then someone starts singing at 2 in the morning he sings the same thing over and over and over again. He seems to sing until his throat is raw. It bothers me but I try to put it out of my mind. Who could that be singing in the middle of the night. Why doesn't anyone shut him up. The train whistle sounds in the distance and I seem to fall asleep still convinced that I am awake. Am I dreaming all of this ?
The next morning as I eat my boiled sweet potato Bro Stan points out young man who was singing all night. He suffers from manic depression and was becoming manic. He is calmed down now and looks exhausted. There are two young men who walk next to him and care for him. The one is a postulant of the Brothers of Charity. He actually shares the same room with the young man who is so sick. His care and concern for his friend is evident from afar. He smiles and place his arm around the young man who is so sick... I immediately feel guilty for my harsh thoughts the night before. Bro Stan assures me that he will be given an injection to calm down and help him get in balance again...
The day begins...
Saturday, May 17, 2008
The ceremony was beautiful all in all it was a fitting ending to four years of hard work and sacrifice for most.
This is the prayer I had the priviledge of closing the ceremony with.....
Lord as we finish this commencement
We are filled with thanksgiving for this university set for the 119th time
sends forth another class of fine young women and men.
Who are ready to take their place in our world
Some are excited
Some can't wait to be about their lives
Some have been ready to go for a while
As they peek out at the rest of their lives
Some may even be a little nervous
But every single one of them is ready.
They will care for the sick
They will teach, and inspire
and by doing so form the next generation.
They will build beautiful structures
And delve into the wonders of your creation
They will listen and give wise counsel
They will open up for us whole wide range of emotions
with their talents on the stage and screen
They will draw us into the mystery of your beauty
with their music and the gift of their art.
We are sad to see them go
They have been a part of our lives for four years
But with anticipation we can't wait to see
the good that they will do
with the numerous gifts that you have given them.
Thank you for our graduates Lord
Thank you for those who have brought them to this place
To this beautiful moment in their lives
Their parents and grandparents
Their siblings, spouses,
Their friends, teammates, classmates professors
Everyone who have inspired them on their journey
And thank you for The Catholic University of America
May we never waver in our commitment to You and our commitment
We ask all of these things Through Christ our Lord Amen
Friday, May 16, 2008
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
The Office is like a staging filled with bags, we are taking candles stubs and t-shirts and communion dresses, a paschal candle or two, tons of sneakers, shoes and soccer balls, school supplies, med kits and lots of other things to Belize, Honduras, Jamaica and Tanzania. I was exploring ultra-violet water purifiers today. We shall see.
I also ordered the Chronicles of Narnia just a little reading. It takes 24 hours to get to Dar es Salam and then we will travel the next day to Kigoma Tanzania. I don't think there is internet access there but if there is I will try to post something.
53 years old and going to Africa joy the Order and see the world. Here are a couple of links to our Mission Trips... to Give you and idea.
St. Mary's Above Rocks Jamaica
Mission Tanzania (Brothers of Charity) AHADI Kigoma Tanzania
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
I think of you O Lord
-In the early hours of the morning,
I think of you O Lord
You are always there to help me
-I think of you or Lord
Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit
-In the early hours of the morning,
I think of your O Lord
From the Liturgy of the Hours
Week Two - Thursday Morning Prayer
Monday, May 05, 2008
The music was incredible.
When the seniors came up for their blessing there were tears in many eyes. What will these young people become ? How will they leave their mark ? God only knows, but I am filled with hope. tn reality They are no bigger than a mustard seed in a world filled with doubt and confusion... We all know about mustard seeds don't we.
I am so grateful for the priviledge of being a part of their lives, so encouraged by their goodness and so challenged by their example. Sometimes their faces become an epiphany for me when I look at them in prayer when I watch them strive for faithfulness
Thank you God
Saturday, May 03, 2008
The search for meaning and purpose is written on every human heart.
When the busyness of life slows down
and the quiet of the night or day draws us into ourselves
We are called to reflect
During these moments
Every human being asks what is this all about?
What is my purpose my goal what am I supposed to do?.
Every human being asks why am I here?
There are people who try to avoid asking these profound questions for years.
They fill their lives with noise
or distractions to escape the question
But in the end everyone has to face them.
We face them in moments of challenge
We face them in moments of sickness, sadness, or disappointment
We face them when a loved one dies.
We face these ultimate questions in moments of inspiration or joy.
Quite frequently people wander through life looking for the answers
Sometimes they even think they may have found them in a person
Or occupation etc.
We who identify ourselves as Catholic
Know that we can only
find our meaning
and our purpose
and our goal or destiny in life and words of Jesus Christ
That Jesus is or has the answer to all life’s questions.
Every single question is found in Christ in every age in every circumstance.
What am I supposed to do with my life?
How am I supposed to act?
What should I sacrifice for or work for
What will I leave behind?
We believe that the answers to these important questions
Can only be found through our faith in the Son of Man.
As it says in today’s passage from the Gospel
“All power on heaven and earth has been given to me”
All power on heaven and earth.
In other words
All meaning and all purpose.
Today’s Gospel pointedly reminds us that
Our faith is not only for us
Our faith is not something between us and God
Many eastern religions go in that direction
Everyone’s goal is to find their own answers
Followers of Christ look at faith so differently
Not only are we to find God’s answers for ourselves
But we are called to help other people find God’s answers
I’ve been meditating a lot on this of late.
At the final judgment
Is it possible for a good holy person to stand in front of God by him or herself?
It is possible for a good person to arrive at the gate of heaven
not having helped anyone else get there ?
Yes We will all be judged on our own merit
But if we live good lives
Someone should be standing behind us
A person who only thinks of themselves
and their own spiritual growth
And their relationship with God
Hasn’t really found God at all.
Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father,
and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,
The command is so clear.
And so challenging.
Finally Jesus promises us his presence
He reminds us that as we answer our questions and
Help others to do so
It is impossible for us to be alone
“I am with you always until the end of time.”
He is with us in his word
He is with us in his Church
He is with us in each other
He is with us in the sacraments
He is with us when we are good
When we are bad
He is with us when we succeed and
When we fail
He is with us when we are strong and healthy
He is with us when we are weak and broken and discouraged
He is with us when we face final exams
In our journey we are never alone
And so you see holy ones…
As always this gospel challenges us in several ways
Are we living thoughtful lives
Do we ever take the time to reflect?
Do we ever take the time to ask the questions which are written on our hearts?
Do we simply go through life?
Living life on the surface never really thinking about the meaning
of our actions.
And our dreams.
Is our life so filled with noise and busyness that God and
God’s purpose in our lives is drowned out.
Are people better because they know us
Who have we helped grow in their faith
Who have we brought to Mass ?
Who have we brought to faith?
Are our roommates better people because of our quiet influence and example?
Can we say that we are living good lives,
If no one is helped by our example?
Finally are we are of God’s presence
In our lives?
Do we seek it?
Do we work to experience it?
In each other
In God’s creation
And most specifically in
The Church in the sacraments?
We are all blessed here
The faith life on this campus is so present for those who participate in it
I’m awe of your faith your example
As we leave our campus
And our packed Masses
And Praise and worship Adoration
And our Renew Groups
And our service experiences
As we return to our Parishes,
And our families,
And our High School friends.
Let us never forget God’s call
God’s great commissioning
Go and make disciples of all (men and women)
The responsibility is great
The commissioning is clear.
Have a great summer everyone.
Keep in touch and we will surely miss you
starting in July (just kidding)