the Whole Wide World!

Mass in The Grand Hall

I’ve known about the World Meeting of Families for months.  I’ve prepared to go for the past couple of weeks.  But it wasn’t until today that it hit me…the Whole Wide World had been invited!!  

Not just our bus of pilgrims, not just our diocese, not just Pennsylvanian’s but they really meant…the Whole Wide World was invited! 

AND THEY CAME!  

Not just me, not just our bus, not just the faithful in Pennsylvania but literally tens of thousands of others from…the Whole Wide World! (And they are predicting the city of Philadelphia will have approximately 1.5 million people on its streets beginning tomorrow.)

This great epiphany came as I stood amongst a sea of other Catholics during the final Mass this morning for the World Meeting of Families held in the Grand Hall of the Philadelphia Convention Center. Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, President of the Pontifical Council for the Family, presided; as well as, being joined on the altar by a plethara of other fellow Bishops and priests.  It was magical and breathtaking and you could feel the commitment of faith from those around you!  

Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia
 
Then at the moment Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia said,

“At the Savior’s command and formed by divine teaching, we dare to say…”

 It hit me! That’s when I looked to my left to grab the hand of a Vietnamese woman and then to my right to have my hand held firmly by a Mexican man.  Here I was in the middle of two different Countries and the three of us were reciting Our Father’s Prayer, as a part of…the Whole Wide World

  

    
The tears that fell from that holy moment only helped to brighten my view now on all the others who were in the room.  A cuban couple in front of me. Koreans behind & to the left.  Nigerians to my far right.  And fellow Americans directly behind.  I believe we all felt this immense connection of being a part of something much bigger than us all.  We were family, familia, One Catholic and Apolstolic faith! We were but a small part of a faith that is entrenched in…the Whole Wide World.

  

    

How fitting it was that this clarity came under the recitation of Our Father’s Prayer.  The Lord’s Prayer is the prayer the entire Church says every single day at every Mass and it is part of the Communion Rite. Jesus taught The Lord’s Prayer to his disciples when they asked how to pray (cf. Mt 6:9-13, Lk 11:2-4) and it signifies our communion with God and the fellowship we share with one another. In this prayer, the people join their voices to pray for the coming of God’s kingdom and to ask God to provide for our needs, forgive our sins, and bring us to the joy of heaven.

And peope in the Whole Wide World are invited to profess this!

Won’t you join us too?

these hugs n’ blessings are sent to the far corners of the world today!

ps- Papa Francis arrives tomorrow in Philadelphia and…the Whole Wide World can hardly wait!

“Let them come to me…”

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Held every three years and sponsored by the Holy See’s Pontifical Council for the Family, the World Meeting of Families is the world’s largest Catholic gathering of families. Each World Meeting of Families has a theme that energizes and enlivens the event while adding great depth of meaning to our understanding of families. The theme of the World Meeting of Families – Philadelphia 2015 is “Love Is Our Mission: The Family Fully Alive,” emphasizing the impact of the love and life of families on our society.  Since its inception by Saint John Paul II in 1994, the World Meeting of Families has strengthened the sacred bonds of families across the globe.

On June 30th, 2015, the Vatican released the comprehensive itinerary for Pope Francis’ journey to the United States, including his schedule for Philadelphia on September 26-27, which will close the 6-day Apostolic Journey.  And ever-since that day I, (along with millions of others) have anticipated his arrival.  I am still pinchity-pinching myself that I will be there!

Call me a fanatic,  Jesus-freak, (did you know this is described in the urban dictionary???) Pope-stalker, or the likes; but really…it’s not that dramatic nor romantic!  I’m just in awe of my God. I’m in awe of His love for me.  His love for others. And the deep-desire He has to reign down his grace and His mercy upon us.  God can never be outdone in His generosity & as I have opened my heart to Him more & more I have seen this great love FOR US…Every.  Single.  Day.

My enthusiasm for Our Holy Father is rooted in his “YES” to God to lead us in this endeavor.  Pope Francis’ trust in God, strengthens my trust in him and in my Church.  He leads me, guides me, & reminds me what the Gospels teach.  I am grateful for the courage he embraces to be challenged, mocked, judged, and ridiculed for this trust in a God he knows intimately.  And I am inspired that Pope Francis encourages, invites, and WELCOMES everyone to partake in this same unconditional love our Heavenly Father offers, as we place our trust in Him.  The Pope reminds each of us: we are ALL sinners, himself included, BUT that Jesus stands AT the door of our hearts & knocks.  However, WE must open the door!!  The door-handle is ours to hold, to turn, to open.  And I pray, if it hasn’t already been done, countless people, through the blessings of the Holy Father’s visit,  find themselves pulling open the door which separates them from receiving God’s great love for them.  This is what Christs’ vicar is showing us how to do in his papacy and I am so grateful…I cannot wait to be in Philly so I may tell him so!

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Mary, Undoer of Knots Grotto Philadelphia, Pa
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Mary, Undoer of Knots Grotto Philadelphia, Pa
Exactly how will I tell him??? (I promise not to break any security-breeches in my endeavor.) Through my prayers, of course!  My participation in this pilgrimage will be encased in prayers.  All forms of prayer!  Prayers of sacrifice & fasting.  Prayers of gratitude, intentions & petitions.  (To discover the difference between the two click on the link.)  And I am collecting all forms from anyone who desires me to include theirs with mine.  I will offer them at the final Papal Mass or if I am lucky enough to have the opportunity to visit the Mary, Undoer of Knots Grotto in Philly I promise to “tie” your prayers to this special location.

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My first prayer, after delivering all the others brought from each of you, will be as I said earlier, my gratitude.  However, my biggest prayer is inspired by the tender-little-one shown below.  Her message tugs at my heart for personal reasons.  And her message is so very poignant to what the theme for The World Meetings of Families is all about…LOVE IS OUR MISSION.   May it remain a theme in our lives forever…for the sake of our families…for the sake of one another.

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”  Matthew 19:14

hugs n’ blessings to all the little-ones who: “try to do my best in my heart.”  

So that everyone can smile…

DME (Divine Mercy Encounter!)

It’s another Wednesday for Saint Maria Faustina KoWalska (what else,) with a brief reflection on the Divine Mercy of God:

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The Secretary of God’s Mercy
The Lord Jesus chose Sr. Maria Faustina as the Apostle and “Secretary” of His Mercy, so that she could tell the world about His great message, which Sr. Faustina recorded in a diary she titled Divine Mercy in My Soul. In the Old Covenant He said to her:

“I sent prophets wielding thunderbolts to My people. Today I am sending you with My mercy to the people of the whole world. I do not want to punish aching mankind, but I desire to heal it, pressing it to My Merciful Heart.” (Diary, 1588)

In an extraordinary way, Sr. Maria Faustina’s work sheds light on the mystery of the Divine Mercy. It delights not only the simple and uneducated people, but also scholars who look upon it as an additional source of theological research. The Diary has been translated into more than 20 languages, including, English, German, Italian, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Arabic, Russian, Hungarian, Czech, Slovak, Polish, Castilian, Brazilian, Vietnamese, Korean, Chinese, Swedish, Ukrainian, Dutch and Japanese.

Our local Diocese offers a Retreat focused on The Divine Mercy of Jesus.  Hosted four times a year, it is a wonderful opportunity to Encounter Christ through His Divine Mercy!

What is Divine Mercy?

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The mission of St. Faustina was recorded in her Diary which she kept at the specific request of the Lord Jesus and her confessors. In it, she recorded faithfully all of the Lord Jesus’ wishes and also described the encounters between her soul and Him.

“Secretary of My most profound mystery,” the Lord Jesus said to Sr. Faustina, “know that your task is to write down everything that I make known to you about My mercy, for the benefit of those who by reading these things will be comforted in their souls and will have the courage to approach Me.” (Diary 1693)

Task One
Reminding the world of the truth of our faith revealed in the Holy Scripture about the merciful love of God toward every human being.

Task Two
Entreating God’s mercy for the whole world and particularly for sinners, among others through the practice of new forms of devotion to the Divine Mercy presented by the Lord Jesus, such as: the veneration of the image of the Divine Mercy with the inscription: “Jesus, I Trust in You,” the feast of the Divine Mercy celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter, chaplet to the Divine Mercy and prayer at the Hour of Mercy (3 pm). The Lord Jesus attached great promises to the above forms of devotion, provided one entrusted one’s life to God and practiced active love of one’s neighbor.

Task Three
The third task in Sr. Mary Faustina’s mission consists in initiating the apostolic movement of the Divine Mercy which undertakes the task of proclaiming and entreating God’s mercy for the world and strives for Christian perfection, following the precepts laid down by the Blessed Sr. Mary Faustina. The precepts in question require the faithful to display an attitude of child-like trust in God which expresses itself in fulfilling His will, as well as in the attitude of mercy toward one’s neighbors. Today, this movement within the Church involves millions of people throughout the world; it comprises religious congregations, lay institutes, religious, brotherhoods, associations, various communities of apostles of the Divine Mercy, as well as individual people who take up the tasks which the Lord Jesus communicated to them through Sr. Mary Faustina.

Our entire family has been blessed, not only to have experienced a Divine Mercy Retreat (DME); but to now volunteer at “working” the Retreat in varioius roles!  This is one of our favorite ways to Serve the Church by introducing others to the powerful gift of God’s Mercy!  The Retreat is open to all faith denominations and we have had people from all parts of the country travel to our hometown for this experience.  It is humbling to watch lives transformed or faith strengthened and I’m giddy with excitement as I prepare to volunteer at the next upcoming Retreat!!

There are so many people desiring to either explore, form, or deepen their relationship with Christ and it is indescribable to watch them take an active leap to Trust In Him!

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The DME (Divine Mercy Encounter) Retreat continues to be an active part of our family and we look forward to the next generation of our family one day sharing in this same experience!! Grammie (Oma) and Gompee (Opa) will again be giddy with excitement!!