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Since 1732, the Redemptorists — a congregation of missionary priests and brothers — have followed in Jesus’ footsteps, preaching the Word and serving the poor and most abandoned.
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Monthly Archives: March 2012
Thursday

On what would have been St. John Neumann’s 201st birthday and the 160th anniversary of his consecration as a bishop, the traveling relics of our saint paid a special visit to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. on March 28.

Fr. Matthew Allman was the homilist at the noon-time Mass at which the relics were formally welcomed by the shrine’s rector, Msgr. Walter Rossi. After Mass, the relics were displayed for individual, private veneration throughout the afternoon until a 5:15 p.m. Mass that ended the visit.

During the Neumann Year, the relics of the saint have visited several communities throughout the U.S. northeast, including Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City; St. Alphonsus Church in Baltimore; the diocese of Trenton, NJ; Buffalo, NY; and several parishes throughout Pennsylvania.

 

 

Thursday

After an 18-month celebration of the life and legacy of St. John Neumann, the Redemptorists will close the Neumann Year on June 23 with a special Mass and reception in Philadelphia.

Tickets are required for the reception and are now available for purchase on our website at redemptorists.net/store. Reception tickets are $25 each and must be purchased in advance. Seating is limited and is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

The Neumann Year will close with a special Mass at 2 p.m. at the Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter & Paul in Philadelphia. Archbishop Charles J. Chaput is scheduled to be the celebrant. The reception will immediately follow Mass at the Sheraton City Center Hotel, directly across the street from the cathedral.

Reception tickets may also be ordered by calling the Redemptorist Office for Mission Advancement (ROMA) toll-free at 1-877-876-7662.

Wednesday

Happy Birthday, St. John Neumann! To celebrate our fellow Redemptorist’s 201st birthday, we’re happy to announce the winners of the second annual St. John Neumann Essay Contest.

This year we asked Catholic school students in grades 6-12 to reflect on the topic, "Why is it important to learn about and live my faith?" As a catechist, missionary, and a bishop, St. John Neumann spent a lifetime learning, living, and defending, his Catholic faith. Our judges agreed that he would be proud of our students!
 
Special thanks to the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) for their help in publicizing the contest and in encouraging participation across the country
 
First-place winners in each category will be awarded a $300 scholarship, and two honorable mentions in each category will receive a $100 scholarship.
 
The winners in the middle school category are:
 
First Place
Quinn L.

(Blessed Sacrament School, Albany, NY)
 
Honorable Mention
Jared Kagel
 
(Resurrection/St. Paul School, Elkridge, MD)
Angel Velasquez 
(St. Peter the Apostle School, Philadelphia, PA)
 
The winners in the high school category are:
 
First Place
Tim Muyano
 
(Xavier High School, Middletown, CT)
 
Honorable Mention
Emma Breu
 
(Bishop Kenny High School, Jacksonville, FL)
Reed Webber 
(Archbishop Spalding High School, Severn, MD)

 

 

Wednesday
(Click here for complete readings. Audio option. Courtesy, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.)
 
A story worth repeating: Rabbi Mordecai approached his students with the following question. “When can you tell when the night ends and the day has come?” A pause among his students and then finally one young man responded, “Rabbi, when you look in the distance and can tell the difference between a dog and a goat.” The Rabbi shook his head, no. Another young man responded, “Rabbi, when you can tell the difference between a fig tree and an olive tree.” Again, the Rabbi shook his head, no. Finally the perplexed students begged, “Please Rabbi, how can you tell when the night has ended and the day has come?” The Rabbi responded, “You can tell when the night has ended and the day has come when you can look into the eyes of another human being and see in them a brother or sister. Until you can do this, it will always be night.”
 
“Some Greeks who had comes to worship at the Passover Feast came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, “Sir, we would like to see Jesus.” (John 12:20-21)
 
What is preventing us from “SEEING” Jesus? In a previous reflection I proposed that oftentimes our brokenness, our sinfulness, prevents us from “SEEING” Jesus. Oftentimes our relationships with others prevent us from “SEEING” Jesus. Sometimes I listen to the memories of some long-ago real or perceived insult, hurt, or action done to a person by another, often a family member or close friend. A relationship fails, a marriage ends in divorce, and siblings ignore one another. The teacher/student had it in for me, the boss never appreciated my talents from day one, and those around me fail to see how wonderful I am!
 
We sit with this stuff, often losing sleep over it (perhaps even planning revenge), damaging our health, our peace of mind and even our souls, and yet we still do it. There is an ancient Chinese saying: “When you dig a grave for your enemy, dig one for yourself.” Well, you get the point.
 
The wisdom of Rabbi Mordecai applies to all of us. Unless we can look into the eyes of another human being and see in them a brother or sister, we are still in the dark.
 
Why do you think the Greeks in the gospel wanted to see Jesus? Curiosity? Conversion? Why do YOU want to see Jesus? What is helping you to SEE him and what is preventing you from SEEING him?
 

Father James McDonald professed vows as a Redemptorist in 1984 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1990. He is currently stationed at San Alfonso Retreat House in Long Branch, NJ.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our online Lenten retreat. Special features like this are part of our mission to spread the good news of plentiful redemption throughout the world. Your gift, of any amount, will help us continue to offer spiritual encouragement to the thousands of searching souls to whom we minister every year — both here on the Internet and in our parishes, retreat houses and other ministries. Thank you for your generosity.

 
 
 
Wednesday
(Click here for complete readings. Audio option. Courtesy, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.)
Traditionally during Lent, especially on the Fourth Sunday in Year A, we hear the story of the man born blind, from the Gospel of John. When a parish community has members in the RCIA, this gospel is proclaimed. I love this gospel!
 
We know the story: man born blind, waiting by pool of Siloam with no one to lead him to the pool when the waters are rippled with the Spirit of God. Jesus takes pity on the man, mixes his saliva with some dirt, applies mixture to man’s eyes and tells him to go wash in the pool of Siloam (which means sent). Man cured. Viola!
 
Now, the rest of the story. The man’s neighbors are confused. “Isn’t this the one that used to sit and beg?” (John 9:8) Some said “yes” others said, “It looks like him.” “Who did this for you?” they ask. “I don’t know, some man named Jesus,” comes the response.
 
They take him to the Pharisees who question him, “How did this happen? His response, “I don’t know. A man named Jesus mixed some clay, put it on my eyes, told me to go wash in the pool and now I SEE.” (cf. John 9:15)
 
The Pharisees enter into a philosophical debate. Gee, couldn’t they just SEE what happened? NO! They couldn’t see! They didn’t want to SEE, they chose to remain blind. They summon the man’s parents. “How did this happen? Is this your son?” “Yes, he is our son; yes he was born blind, and yes, now he can SEE. We don’t know how it happened. He is of age, ask him yourselves.” (John 9:20-21)
 
They bring the man back, question him all over again, and still his response is the same. They accuse Jesus of being a sinner. The man replies, “If he is a sinner, I do not know. One thing I know is that I was blind and now I SEE. Go ask him yourselves. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples, too?” (John 9:25, 27) They threw him out of the temple. Out of SIGHT, out of mind, or so they hoped. He walked into the LIGHT — they chose to remain in the DARK.
 
Jesus found him and asked him, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” “Who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” Jesus said to him, “You have seen him and the one speaking to you is he.” He said, “I do believe, Lord.” (John 9:35-38)
 
I hope and pray to meet that man someday. Here was a man who knew who he was. A sinner, blind since birth, given his sight back by God, a true worshipper, a man of faith, a man simple of heart and spirit. He knew who he was! I’m still trying to figure myself out. How about you?
 
Father James McDonald professed vows as a Redemptorist in 1984 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1990. He is currently stationed at San Alfonso Retreat House in Long Branch, NJ.