Newsletter N.º 90 – Summer 2010

Apostolic Journey of Pope Benedict XVI to Portugal
and ‘the altar of the world’

The experience of the four day visit of the Vicar of Christ to Portugal and especially to Fatima -altar of the world- continues to live in our hearts. The spiritual outpouring of grace, peace, joy and hope that all experienced was surely the fruit of the offering of the deep sufferings of Pope Benedict XVI in the months preceding his journey and to the multitude of prayers and sacrifices offered by the people of Portugal and many others in preparation for this visit. The Holy Father in his great anguish due to “sin within the Church” came to Fatima as a beloved son of Mary.
The vast sea of humanity gathered from every corner of the world with Our Lady and Peter’s Successor clearly formed an “upper room” of faith´ -a new Pentecost! This is Fatima!
Our Sisters joyfully joined the Holy Father with the other Religious and Priests of Portugal for Solemn Vespers in honor of Our Lady on the evening of May 12th in the Church of the Most Holy Trinity. The experience of being in the presence of the Vicar of Christ and united in prayer with him and thousands of Priests and Religious near the close of the Year for Priests cannot be forgotten.

May God Bless our Beloved
Holy Father!

“Fidelity to Truth… Guarantee of Freedom”

“…This is our great joy. In the living river of ecclesial Tradition, Christ is not two thousand years distant from us, but is really present among us: he gives us the Truth and he gives us the light which is our life and helps us find the path towards the future.

To World of Culture May 12th
“…This “conflict” between tradition and the present finds expression in the crisis of truth, yet only truth can provide direction and trace the path of a fulfilled existence both for individuals and for a people. Indeed, a people no longer conscious of its own truth ends up by being lost in the maze of time and history, deprived of clearly defined values and lacking great and clearly formulated goals. Dear friends, much still needs to be learned about the form in which the Church takes her place in the world, helping society to understand that the proclamation of truth is a service which she offers to society, and opening new horizons for the future, horizons of grandeur and dignity.
The Church, in effect, has “a mission of truth to accomplish, in every time and circumstance, for a society that is attuned to man, to his dignity, to his vocation. […] Fidelity to man requires fidelity to the truth, which alone is the guarantee of freedom (cf. Jn 8:32) and of the possibility of integral human development. For this reason the Church searches for truth, proclaims it tirelessly and recognizes it whenever it is manifested.
This mission of truth is something that the Church can never renounce” (Caritas in Veritate, 9). For a society made up mainly of Catholics, and whose culture has been profoundly marked by Christianity, the search for truth apart from Christ proves dramatic. For Christians, Truth is divine; it is the eternal “Logos” which found human expression in Jesus Christ, who could objectively state: “I am the truth” (Jn 14:6)…Dear friends, the Church considers that her most important mission in today’s culture is to keep alive the search for truth, and consequently for God; to bring people to look beyond penultimate realities and to seek those that are ultimate.
I invite you to deepen your knowledge of God as he has revealed himself in Jesus Christ for our complete fulfilment. Produce beautiful things, but above all make your lives places of beauty.”

Homily Mass in Lisbon
“…it is necessary to proclaim anew with vigour and joy the event of the death and resurrection of Christ, the heart of Christianity, the fulcrum and mainstay of our faith, the firm lever of our certainties, the strong wind that sweeps away all fear and indecision, all doubt and human calculation. The resurrection of Christ assures us that no adverse power will ever be able to destroy the Church.
Therefore our faith is well-founded, but this faith needs to come alive in each one of us. A vast effort at every level is required if every Christian is to be transformed into a witness capable of rendering account to all and at all times of the hope that inspires him (cf. 1 Pet 3:15): only Christ can fully satisfy the profound longings of every human heart and give answers to its most pressing questions concerning suffering, injustice and evil, concerning death and the life hereafter. Dear brothers and sisters, dear young friends, Christ is always with us and always walks with his Church, accompanies her and guards her, as he has told us: “I am with you always, to the close of the age” (Mt 28:20). Never doubt his presence! Always seek the Lord Jesus, grow in friendship with him, receive him in Communion. Learn to listen to his word and also to recognize him in the poor. Live your lives with joy and enthusiasm, sure of his presence and of his unconditional, generous friendship, faithful even to death on the cross. Bear witness to all of the joy that his strong yet gentle presence evokes, starting with your contemporaries. Tell them that it is beautiful to be a friend of Jesus and that it is well worth following him. With your enthusiasm, demonstrate that, among all the different ways of life that the world today seems to offer us apparently all on the same level, the only way in which we find the true meaning of life and hence true and lasting joy, is by following Jesus.”

Before the Rosary May 12th Evening
“…In our time, in which the faith in many places seems like a light in danger of being snuffed out for ever, the highest priority is to make God visible in the world and to open to humanity a way to God. And not to any god, but to the God who had spoken on Sinai; the God whose face we recognize in the love borne to the very end (cf. Jn 13:1) in Jesus Christ, crucified and risen.

Dear brothers and sisters, worship Christ the Lord in your hearts (cf. 1 Pet 3:15)! Do not be afraid to talk of God and to manifest without fear the signs of faith, letting the light of Christ shine in the presence of the people of today, just as the Church which gives birth to humanity as the family of God sings on the night of the Easter Vigil.”

Homily Mass May 13th Fatima
“…And Jesus said: “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it!” (Lk 11:27-28). But who finds time to hear God’s word and to let themselves be attracted by his love? Who keeps watch, in the night of doubt and uncertainty, with a heart vigilant in prayer? Who awaits the dawn of the new day, fanning the flame of faith? Faith in God opens before us the horizon of a sure hope, one which does not disappoint; it indicates a solid foundation on which to base one’s life without fear; it demands a faith-filled surrender into the hands of the Love which sustains the world…”

To the Bishops, First Evangelizers
“…what is decisive, however, is the ability to inculcate in all those engaged in the work of evangelization a true desire for holiness, in the awareness that the results derive above all from our union with Christ and the working of the Holy Spirit… The courageous and integral appeal to principles is essential and indispensable; yet simply proclaiming the message does not penetrate to the depths of people’s hearts, it does not touch their freedom, it does not change their lives. What attracts is, above all, the encounter with believing persons who, through their faith, draw others to the grace of Christ by bearing witness to him.”

Homily Mass May 14th Porto
“Yes! We are called to serve the humanity of our own time, trusting in Jesus alone, letting ourselves be enlightened by his word: “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide” (Jn 15:16).
How much time we have lost, how much work has been set back, on account of our lack of attention to this point! Everything is to be defined starting with Christ,… we receive mission always from Christ, who has made known to us what he has heard from his Father, and we are appointed to mission through the Spirit, in the Church. Like the Church herself, which is the work of Christ and his Spirit, it is a question of renewing the face of the earth starting from God always and only.”

“…rediscover, dear brothers, the role of the Bishop as father, especially with regard to your priests. This is not a matter of turning back to the past, nor of a simple return to our origins, but rather of a recovery of the fervour of the origins, of the joy of the initial Christian experience, and of walking beside Christ like the disciples of Emmaus on the day of Easter, allowing his word to warm our hearts and his “broken bread” to open our eyes to the contemplation of his face. Only in this way will the fire of charity blaze strongly enough to impel every Christian to become a source of light and life in the Church and among all men and women.”
Pope Benedict XVI to the Bishops

“Dear brothers and sisters who are sick,…

Before I walk among you carrying the monstrance containing Jesus present in the Eucharist, I would like to offer you a word of encouragement and hope, a word which I extend to all those following us on television and radio, and to those without even such means, but who are united to us by the deeper bonds of the Spirit, that is, in faith and prayer.My dear brother and sister, in the eyes of God you are “worth so much to God that he himself became man in order to suffer with man in an utterly real way in flesh and blood as is revealed to us in the account of Jesus’s Passion. Hence in all human suffering we are joined by one who experiences and carries that suffering with us; hence con-solatio is present in all suffering, the consolation of God’s compassionate love and so the star of hope rises” (Spe Salvi, 39). With such hope in your heart, you can leave behind the quicksand of illness and death and stand on the firm rock of divine love. In other words, you can overcome the feeling of the uselessness of suffering which consumes a person from within and makes him feel a burden to those around him when, in reality, suffering which is lived with Jesus assists in the salvation of your brethren.

How is this possible? Because the spring of divine power rises in the midst of human weakness. This is the paradox of the Gospel. Therefore, the divine Master, instead of explaining the reasons for suffering, preferred to call everyone to follow him, saying: Take up your cross and follow me (cf. Mk 8:34). Come with me. With your suffering, take part in the work of salvation which is realized through my suffering, by means of my cross. As you gradually embrace your own cross, uniting yourself spiritually to my cross, the salvific meaning of suffering will be revealed to you. In suffering, you will discover an interior peace and even spiritual joy. Dear friends, who are sick, welcome the call of Jesus who will shortly pass among you in the Most Blessed Sacrament, and entrust to him every setback and pain that you face, so that they become – according to his design a means of redemption for the whole world. You will be redeemers with the Redeemer, just as you are sons in the Son. At the cross… stands the mother of Jesus, our mother.”

Message of Fatima -”Like a window of hope”

Interview en route to Portugal
“For us, Fatima is a sign of the presence of faith, of the fact that it is precisely from the little ones that faith gains new strength, one which is not limited to the little ones but has a message for the entire world and touches history here and now, and sheds light on this history.
I would say that, here too, beyond this great vision of the suffering of the Pope, which we can in the first place refer to Pope John Paul II, an indication is given of realities involving the future of the Church, which are gradually taking shape and becoming evident. So it is true that, in addition to moment indicated in the vision, there is mention of, there is seen, the need for a passion of the Church, which naturally is reflected in the person of the Pope, yet the Pope stands for the Church and thus it is sufferings of the Church that are announced.
The Lord told us that the Church would constantly be suffering, in different ways, until the end of the world. The important thing is that the message, the response of Fatima, in substance is not directed to particular devotions, but precisely to the fundamental response, that is, to ongoing conversion, penance, prayer, and the three theological virtues: faith, hope and charity. Thus we see here the true, fundamental response which the Church must give which we, every one of us, must give in this situation.
As for the new things which we can find in this message today, there is also the fact that attacks on the Pope and the Church come not only from without, but the sufferings of the Church come precisely from within the Church, from the sin existing within the Church.

“May the seven years which separate us from the centenary of the apparitions hasten the fulfillment of the prophecy of the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, to the glory of the Most Holy Trinity.”

This too is something that we have always known, but today we are seeing it in a really terrifying way: that the greatest persecution of the Church comes not from her enemies without, but arises from sin within the Church, and that the Church thus has a deep need to relearn penance, to accept purification,to learn forgiveness on the one hand, but also the need for justice. Forgiveness does not replace justice. In a word, we need to relearn precisely this essential: conversion, prayer, penance and the theological virtues. This is our response, we are realists in expecting that evil always attacks, attacks from within and without, yet that the forces of good are also ever present and that, in the end, the Lord is more powerful than evil and Our Lady is for us the visible, motherly guarantee of God’s goodness, which is always the last word in history.”

The Little Shepherds

” In seven years you will return here to celebrate the centenary of the first visit made by the Lady “come from heaven”, the Teacher who introduced the little seers to a deep knowledge of the Love of the Blessed Trinity and led them to savour God himself as the most beautiful reality of human existence. This experience of grace made them fall in love with God in Jesus, so much so that Jacinta could cry out: “How much I delight in telling Jesus that I love him! When I tell him this often, I feel as if I have a fire in my breast, yet it does not burn me”. And Francisco could say: “What I liked most of all was seeing Our Lord in that light which Our Mother put into our hearts. I love God so much!”
(Memoirs of Sister Lúcia, I, 42 and 126) Later on the Pope said: “An example and encouragement is to be found in the shepherd children, who offered their whole lives to God and shared them fully with others for love of God. Our Lady helped them to open their hearts to universal love. Blessed Jacinta, in particular, proved tireless in sharing with the needy and in making sacrifices for the conversion of sinners. Only with this fraternal and generous love will we succeed in building the civilization of love and peace.”

“Grace invades our hearts”
as we pray the Holy Rosary

All of you, standing together with lighted candles in your hands, seem like a sea of light around this simple chapel, lovingly built to the honour of the Mother of God and our mother, whose path from earth to heaven appeared to the shepherd children like a way of light. However, neither Mary nor we have a light of our own: we receive it from Jesus… To him therefore be every glory, and to us the humble confession of our nothingness and the unworthy adoration of the divine plan which will be fulfilled when “God will be all in all” (cf. 1 Cor 15:28)… Brothers and sisters, in this place it is amazing to think how three children entrusted themselves to the interior force which had inflamed them in the apparitions of the Angel and of our heavenly Mother. In this place where we were repeatedly requested to recite the rosary, let us allow ourselves to be attracted by the mysteries of Christ, the mysteries of Mary’s rosary. The recitation of the rosary allows us to fix our gaze and our hearts upon Jesus, just like his Mother, the supreme model of contemplation of the Son. Meditating upon the joyful, luminous, sorrowful and glorious mysteries as we pray our Hail Marys, let us reflect upon the interior mystery of Jesus, from the Incarnation, through the Cross, to the glory of the Resurrection; let us contemplate the intimate participation of Mary in the mystery of our life in Christ today, a life which is also made up of joy and sorrow, of darkness and light, of fear and hope. Grace invades our hearts, provoking a wish for an incisive and evangelical change of life so that we can say with Saint Paul: “For me to live is Christ” (Phil 1:21) in a communion of life and destiny with Christ.”

Please visit the International Dominican Rosary Website

“Faithfulness over time is the name of love”
Silver Jubilee of Religious Profession

On February 11, Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, Sr. Maria Lucia of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary celebrated with great joy and profound gratitude 25 years of Religious Profession. It was a day of bright sunshine contrasting with the usual February rain and chill. This was one o f the many Jubilee gifts arranged by Heaven! Family and friends joined in the celebration. Bernadette and Margaret, sisters of the Jubilarian and her cousin Nora came from the USA while her dear Mother and all the family at home united in spirit and prayer of thanksgiving. Dear friends from Fatima filled the Church and numerous friends from around the world joined in loving prayer. Concelebrating the Jubilee Mass were four of our Dominican Brethren: Fr. Alberto and Fr. José Carlos from our Fatima Priory and from Rome Fr. Edward Ruane, Vicar of the Master of the Order and Fr Michael Monshau, Professor at the Angelicum both American Dominicans. Our very faithful chaplain, Fr. Francis, a Polish Marian missionary also concelebrated.
On the Mass Program Sr. M. Lucia had written: “On this occasion I wish to remember my beloved Father, whose heroic example of love and fidelity continues to be a guiding star for me. I also remember with deep gratitude Fr. Louis Kondor, SVD who opened wide the door to Fatima for me as he did for countless others over the years. Fr. Kondor possessed a missionary heart that was open to all. In his great missionary embrace, he gathered all whom he met to the love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.” A Jubilee of Religious Profession is always a moment – indeed a year – of joy and gratitude to God, to one’s Community and to all those who accompany us with their love and prayers on this most beautiful journey. The time of Jubilee is also a time of reflection. One is compelled to acknowledge that it is not we who choose Christ but He chooses us (Jn15:16) utterly weak and fragile instruments though we may be. Yet, in this truth is our hope and our strength! Because as St. Paul tells us: “Those whom He predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified.” (Rom 8:30)
A vocation to the cloistered contemplative way of life is a precious gift to the Church and in the Church. Our vocation is not about doing… rather, it is all about being…. being continually in the presence of God; to praise and glorify Him, to render continual thanks to Him, Who pours out gifts of grace and nature upon His children. Jesus’ gentle command to abide in His love (Jn 15: 9) is lived in a particular way by the cloistered contemplative Nun. Yes, to abide in Him but even more radically – to be espoused to Him, Who is Love.

This spousal relationship with Christ sets the soul on an extraordinary adventure of love. This grows to become an intimate journey with Christ, Who leads us to the very depths of our being because ‘only love with its risk of loss and of suffering leads man to his true self.’ Speaking to Priests and Religious in Fatima on May 12th the Holy Father said: “Let me open my heart and tell you that the greatest concern of every Christian, especially of every consecrated person or minister of the altar, must be fidelity, loyalty to one’s own vocation, as a disciple who wishes to follow the Lord. Faithfulness over time is the name of love, of a consistent, true and profound love for Christ the Priest.” Fidelity, loyalty to one’s vocation assures the necessary graces and the promised fruitfulness for oneself and the entire Church. The Dominican cloistered Nun on the day of her Profession of Vows, specifically Obedience, becomes totally free for God. She walks in the footsteps of St. Dominic, who always spoke to God or of God. She looks to the Most Holy Virgin Mary as model par excellence of humility and obedience. Mary, Lady of the Holy Rosary, is the first and greatest contemplative, the first to ponder the mysteries of Christ in Her Immaculate Heart. We congratulate our dear Sister Maria Lucia and ask all to pray a fervent Hail Mary daily so that the Lord may grant the gift of new vocations!

“In this “upper room” of faith which is Fatima, the Virgin Mother shows us the way to place our pure and holy offering into the hands of the Father.”
Pope Benedict XVI To Priests and Religious

A Brief Reflection

In his remarks before praying the Rosary in Fatima with hundreds of thousands of pilgrims, the Holy Father said: “…the highest priority is to make God visible in the world and to open to humanity a way to God.” On the day before in Lisbon he had proclaimed: “A vast effort at every level is required if every Christian is to be transformed into a witness capable of rendering account to all and at all times of the hope that inspires him (1 Pet 3:15)…”
How does God become visible in the world? Where does this vast effort begin? This effort, this world-wide countercultural movement of love over hatred, of hope in God over despair, of zeal for truth over lies and deception begins – in my heart! Pope Benedict XVI is a father and points us on the way. In his homily on the 13th of May he urged each one to: “…cultivate an interior watchfulness of the heart which, for most of the time, we do not possess on account of the powerful pressure exerted by outside realities and the images and concerns which fill our soul. Yes! God can come to us, and show himself to the eyes of our heart.”
The Holy Father is aware that we have become persons tossed about by every wave of news; at times even immersed in the moment to moment coverage of global catastrophes or Church scandals. Yet Jesus tells us: “Seek you first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things shall be yours” (Mt 6:33). In order to make God visible through our lives, the Pope teaches that we must first retreat in silence to hear His voice, to be present to His Presence, and thus cultivate the interior watchfulness of our heart within that contemplative space God has created in each one of us from the beginning. “…to make God visible and to open to humanity a way to God…” Did not Mary say in Fatima: “My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God”? Yes! Mary’s Heart is for us both refuge and way. The Holy Father said: “…our Blessed Mother came from heaven, offering to implant in the hearts of all those who trust in her the Love of God burning in her own heart.” With this love burning in our hearts as it did in the hearts of the disciples of Emmaus – we will be transformed and become living witnesses to Christ: His Life, Death and Resurrection. And God will be visible in our world!

Act of Entrustment and Consecration of Priests to the Immaculate Heart of Mary
Prayer of Pope Benedict XVI Vespers Fatima 12 May 2010

Immaculate Mother,
in this place of grace, called together by the love of your Son Jesus the Eternal High Priest, we, sons in the Son and his priests, consecrate ourselves to your maternal Heart, in order to carry out faithfully the Father’s Will.
We are mindful that, without Jesus, we can do nothing good (cf. Jn 15:5) and that only through him, with him and in him, will we be instruments of salvation for the world. Bride of the Holy Spirit, obtain for us the inestimable gift of transformation in Christ. Through the same power of the Spirit that overshadowed you, making you the Mother of the Saviour, help us to bring Christ your Son to birth in ourselves too.
May the Church be thus renewed by priests who are holy, priests transfigured by the grace of him who makes all things new.

Mother of Mercy,
it was your Son Jesus who called us to become like him: light of the world and salt of the earth (cf. Mt 5:13-14). Help us, through your powerful intercession, never to fall short of this sublime vocation, nor to give way to our selfishness, to the allurements of the world and to the wiles of the Evil One. Preserve us with your purity, guard us with your humility and enfold us with your maternal love that is reflected in so many souls consecrated to you, who have become for us true spiritual mothers.

Mother of the Church,
we priests want to be pastors who do not feed themselves but rather give themselves to God for their brethren, finding their happiness in this. Not only with words, but with our lives, we want to repeat humbly, day after day, Our “here I am”. Guided by you, we want to be Apostles of Divine Mercy, glad to celebrate every day the Holy Sacrifice of the Altar and to offer to those who request it the sacrament of Reconciliation.

Advocate and Mediatrix of grace,
you who are fully immersed in the one universal mediation of Christ, invoke upon us, from God, a heart completely renewed that loves God with all its strength and serves mankind as you did. Repeat to the Lord your efficacious word: “They have no wine” (Jn 2:3), so that the Father and the Son will send upon us a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Full of wonder and gratitude at your continuing presence in our midst, in the name of all priests I too want to cry out: “Why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Lk 1:43).

Our Mother for all time,
do not tire of “visiting us”, consoling us, sustaining us. Come to our aid and deliver us from every danger that threatens us. With this act of entrustment and consecration, we wish to welcome you more deeply, more radically, for ever and totally into our human and priestly lives. Let your presence cause new blooms to burst forth in the desert of our loneliness, let it cause the sun to shine on our darkness, let it restore calm after the tempest, so that all mankind shall see the salvation of the Lord, who has the name and the face of Jesus, who is reflected in our hearts, for ever united to yours!

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