Sisters in the School!

09-24-2017The Sisters Corner

This year is our community’s first year teaching at the OLMC school. There are two sisters teaching. One teaches Religion classes to the 8th graders and the other is teaching Spanish classes.  

One of the things that Jesus spent time doing throughout His life was teaching. He taught about who He was and how much God loves us.  His testimony came not only with His words but through His actions. We ask Jesus for the grace to follow in His steps, seeking to spread His love to all the students at the school. 

It is such a beautiful experience to share with the OLMC teachers and staff alike the opportunity to help the students feel the Lord’s presence in our school. 

We give thanks to God for this beautiful mission!

Everyday Stewardship

09-24-2017Stewardship Reflection

In our First Reading from the Book of Isaiah, God reminds us that He does not think in the same way that we do. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts.” That is quite clear in our Gospel today from Matthew, which relates the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard.

In the Gospel parable, God (who is represented by the landowner ) does something which from our human perspective may seem unfair and unjust. What we must keep in mind is that the landowner did not treat anyone unfairly. He may have seemed more generous to some than to others, but again that is from our perspective.

We can be absolutely certain that God will never be unfair to us. The Lord may bestow greater blessings on others, some of whom again from our perspective may seem less deserving. God is a righteous God. Through stewardship, we acknowledge that everything comes to us from God. All our blessings may seem to be more or less than we deserve, but if we are grateful for what we have and what we are, we will then recognize God’s generosity and His grace.

The important thing to us should not be and cannot be whether we are first or last. What is central is that we are part of the Kingdom of God. That should be sufficient for us. We get into trouble when we conclude that God should think the way we do

A Permanent Resolution for the Dreamers

09-17-2017Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

We all probably have a relative or a neighbor whose vocation it is to complain - constantly. They bemoan the state of affairs but never lift a finger to help better things. They quickly get boorish. So, it goes with those who are having a spittle-flecked hissy fit and engaging in extreme self-righteous moral preening over the President’s recent executive order winding down the DACA program. I’m thinking specifically about our congressmen and senators. The President has thrown them the ball, but they seem reluctant to catch it and put some points on the board.

I recently heard Sen. McCain snarl and scoff at how unfair it is to rescind these work visas for the DACA recipients. Along with so many others, he kept chanting how mean and evil Trump is and how this is the worst thing ever to happen in the history of ever. But what he did not say is that the Constitution gives Congress the explicit authority to PERMANENTLY fix this problem and that, as a Senator, he would lead the effort to give the Dreamers permanent legal status. No, he did not say any of that. He seems content to complain about the sad state of affairs.

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Sisters in the preschool!

09-17-2017The Sisters Corner

This is our first year as a community in the OLMC Little Lambs Pre-school. Two of our sisters are teaching here. One of our sisters is the assistant teacher in the 3 year old classroom and the other sister is teaching Catechesis of the Good Shepherd to all of the children in the preschool.

For us as a community it proven to be a very beautiful experience affording us the privilege to love and teach the ones that Jesus loves more: the children. It has also allowed us to learn from the children’s simplicity and their capacity to wonder even at the simplest of things. That same wonder which surprises us still encourages us to open our hearts from the smallest to the largest of gifts that Jesus offers us daily.

We give thanks to God for this wonderful gift!

Everyday Stewardship

09-17-2017Stewardship Reflection

The theme throughout today’s readings from Holy Scripture has to do with forgiveness. We must always appreciate that forgiveness is a two way street. We need to seek forgiveness as all of us are likely to do. However, forgiveness is also something we need to grant to others.

Some scholars consider Matthew’s Chapter 18 from where our Gospel Reading comes today as perhaps among His most personal teachings to His disciples and others as spiritual leaders. There is no question that the Lord is in the process of preparing His followers for the time when they (we) must continue His Kingdom without His physical presence. He is trying to build up the sense of fellowship and cohesion among His flock.

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The Experience of RCIA

09-10-2017The Sisters Corner

For me to assist in the RCIA program means to be a witness sharing the history of Salvation through God with each of His little sons and daughters. It’s always special to see how the Lord knocks at the door of the catechumens and candidates speaking in the language that they can understand, inviting them to; come into the Church and to have a closer relationship with Him.

Saturday, Aug 26th, we kicked off RCIA 2017-18 (this year) with an opening retreat.  We reflected on the question, "Who is God?" The following Sunday’s Gospel, Peter also reflected on Who is God; this is a personal question, every  one of us needs to answer in our own hearts.  Who is God for me? What place does  He have in my life? I think the process of RCIA assists in answering that question, working towards allowing Him to guide your mind, your heart and your daily decisions.

The joy and peace that the catechumens and candidates find when they discover that they have; a merciful Father that truly loves them, a Savior that gave all His blood to save them, and a Holy Spirit that constantly gives them the grace to persevere in following the Lord’s steps; is a treasure that no one can ever take from them.

Everyday Stewardship

09-10-2017Stewardship Reflection

St. Paul echoes Christ in many ways. In the 13th Chapter from his letter to the Romans, he continues with his thoughts on how we should live to please God, and he uses a sentence which Christ often repeated. After listing several of the 10 Commandments, Paul states, “…whatever other commandments there may be, are summed up in this saying, namely, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’.”

There is always much that gets debated in that admonition, such as loving yourself, and who exactly is your neighbor? Paul’s point, like that of Jesus, is simply that we are called to treat others as we may like to be treated. We need to show them the respect and caring that we may hope for and wish for. God loves us, and if we realize that, we may ultimately come to the conclusion that we are loveable.

Most of us know someone whose love is evident by how they treat others and how they live. Loving neighbor is a visible expression of everything that Jesus taught. It is a way of expressing the depth of our faith and our belief that we are Disciples of Christ.

St. Francis de Sales captured all about what this love is and who is your neighbor when he wrote, “Examine your heart often to see if it is such toward your neighbor as you would like his or hers to be toward you in his or her place. This is the touchstone of true reason.” It is relatively basic and simple — our neighbor is everyone with whom we have contact and love is what makes it all work.

Escalation

09-10-2017Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

You might recall the words of the Marvin Gaye song, “What’s Goin’ On?”  “Father, Father, we don't need to escalate; war is not the answer. Only love can conquer hate.” There is a great deal of escalation going on these days, and worse still, it seems too few are trying to de-escalate the tension and conflict. De-escalation is a key goal in any conflict situation, so that calm heads can prevail and solutions are found. One area in which there has been increased escalation is between many communities and local law enforcement. We are all familiar with the clashes and cases of excessive use of force, as well as claims of racism. Hostility between law enforcement and the community never works out well - especially for the community. After all, that thin blue line is often all that separates us from the law of the jungle. Additionally, when things really go south, it will be the local police, who live in our communities and are our family members and friends that we must rely on and who will be loyal to us.

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Everyday Stewardship

09-03-2017Stewardship Reflection

Our Second Reading from St. Paul’s letter to the Romans is quite short, but as is ever the case with Holy Scripture it contains a central message which is quite important to us. One of the ongoing challenges of being Catholic and Christian in today’s society is that society, cultural norms, sometimes seem to work against our efforts to live as followers and disciples of Christ.

Paul sums up that struggle succinctly as he says, “Do not conform yourselves to this age, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.” Paul offers two suggestions in terms of combating the temptation to conform and agree.

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Iconoclasm

09-03-2017Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Iconoclasm – the destruction of images or hostility towards visual representations in general - has come to Marin County. San Domenico Catholic School in San Anselmo, CA, has decided to remove many of the statues that graced its campus so as to create a less “in-your-face” Catholic environment. Now to be fair, you can make a case for toning things down in service of a subtler evangelization effort. This can be a workable strategy, especially if the clientele is not familiar with Catholic devotional practices, and you want to gently begin the process of evangelization. But that does not seem to be the case here. The school also removed the word “Catholic” from its mission statement and made the school uniforms “less Catholic” in appearance. The school has simply lost its reason for being. It apparently wants to be a high end (tuition is $30k+) all-inclusive school “in the Catholic tradition.” So be it. But the school should be honest to its students and families that it is no longer part of the educational ministry of the Church and that it is not interested in forming young minds and hearts to be faithful followers of Jesus Christ.

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