Saturday, May 28, 2011

Gloucester in Springtime

To see photos of Gloucester in Sprintime, please click on the link below:

Gloucester in Springtime

Let's go to Spain

The Jesuit Collaborative is imagining a pilgrimage retreat, journeying outward to the Basque region of Spain where Ignatius lived and, with the help of the Spiritual Exercises, inward where a personal encounter with God may take place. In order to take advantage of an attractive group airfare rate, reservations need to be submitted as soon as possible.

For more detailed information please visit the Travel Resource Center at: www.travelillume.com/trc/yjn; download and complete the registration application; and forward it with your deposit of $800 per person (check payable to Illume) to:

The Jesuit Collaborative
300 Newbury St.
Boston, MA 02115
Attention: Bob Cunningham

If you have any questions, contact Bob at: rcunningham@jesuitcollabortaive.org.

Our hope is that this pilgrimage will provide an opportunity to experience God’s transformative power in our lives and inspire us to imagine and help realize a bold and exciting future for the ministry of Spiritual Exercises.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Sample of New Liturgical Music

As the text to the Roman Catholic liturgy is changing in November, new musical settings have to be arranged. The Oregon Catholic Press is posting some samples on their webpage to help congregations become familiar with the musical changes. Please click on the link below to get to OCP's website:

Sample of new liturgical music

Lilacs

With the recent days of sunshine, the lilacs are in full bloom. Their fragrance is strong enough for our noses to catch their smell from inside the houses. Bees are busy, but they present no harm. We have bunches of violet and white lilacs that we bring into the house to accent our liturgies. It is great to see the retreatants hanging around these bushes to get a noseful of sweet fragrance.

The mornings are precious. It is warm enough to keep the windows open. The waves rhythmically crash onto the rocky shore and it is mesmerizing. Though the sun beckons me to arise, the cool morning air and the waves soothe me back to sleep. I just want to rest for another half hour or so and then I think of the retreatants and realize I am to rise so I can pray for them.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Video: The Bridge

A friend of mine works for the Boston Health Care for the Homeless. They just put together a new video about their work using their residents to recite a Longfellow poem. It is moving and I want to share it with you.

To see the video, please click on the link below:

  The video of "The Bridge" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Friday, May 20, 2011

The thankless work of Religous Education Directors

Eastern Point offered a day-long retreat to the Religious Education Directors of the Archdiocese of Boston and of other dioceses. Father Jack Rathschmidt, a Franciscan Capuchin from Jamaica Plain, Boston, was one of the presenters. The retreatants were certainly refreshed. They were inspired to confirm another date next year for their retreat.

These directors are to be commended for their perseverance in a changing church in New England. Much of the faith formation of children is dependent upon their efforts as a vibrant Catholic culture is diminishing. Many school children are no longer able to attend parochial schools and parents are not equipped themselves to provide a Catholic education at home. Many times, parents have not received catechesis on their faith since they were confirmed as a teenager. With minimal resources, DRE's take on a great responsibility to form the minds and hearts of our youth amid great challenges in society.

Groups of children receive first communion and confirmation during this Easter season.

Also, many directors are responsible for developing parish programs the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. This is a more difficult process as adults present themselves with a whole range of complexities. A neat part of the program is the weekly catechetical sessions that are run by competent lay catechists. It is a revolutionary model of church where the faithful are taking care of their own formation.

I have great respect for the work of the DRE's. Thank you for teaching so many of the new members of our church.

Hello, old friend

Welcome back, Brother Sun. It is good to see you again. Sister Moon, it is so lovely that you greet us again. We have missed you both. Spring will blossom under your tutelage. The lilacs are ready to open its fraqrance on the fields again. Bees seem aimless because no flower can open up to your rich goodness. The fields here at Eastern Point can breathe once again as the weeds have been thrashed about and await the consuming fire. Come, Brother Sun, stay away. Sister Moon, cast your mystical glow on the nocturnes.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Rain, rain go away

Steady rain and overcast skies have blanketed New England for the past week and it shows no sign of letting up. Rain is expected for the next four days too. It is bleak. While directing a retreat, no one has been able to go outside and get exercise. I lament that I cannot get my yardwork done. I'm so used to spending at least an hour outside and getting physical exercise. Besides, I want to finish off the drain pipe.

I urged the retreatants not to give up on their retreat tonight. It is the last night and the stormy bleakness has worked on people to have them lessen their prayer. I want them to continue because they don't often get a chance to spend time alone with God. I want them to see it as precious. If a person unilaterally decides one's retreat is over, he or she may be disrespectful to what God is communicating. Courage and energy are what is needed. Ignatius was a fan of those attributes. Persevere in prayer.

I will be sad to see this group of guest retreat directors leave. They will come back some day.

My saving grace this week was to go out on three consecutive nights for dinner with friends. It added a needed break to my week. Tomorrow, I will see additional friends for dinner. Anyways, Chorus North Shore is a nice diversion as well. I am impressed with the goodness of the people in the group. They are all very good singers and it is fun to try my best with them. The concert is in two and a half weeks and we are just about ready. Carmina Burana is an aggressive program to sing, but our director/conductor has everything under tight control.

I think of all the people who have asked prayers. I remember them at Mass. The list is long though. I lift them up to the Lord. I wish all goes well for those who need the nearness of God to comfort them and to take away their fears. Life is very hard. We have to make the best of each day because it is precious.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Photo: Firstfruits of my Lenten Labors

During Lent, I began clearing out the once-neglected lawns at Eastern Point. Vines had overtaken trees and wild weeds took their place alongside mighty conifers and beech trees. I began a reclamation project (that will go on for years), but I began it as a Lenten devotion.

To see photos of the fruits of my Lenten efforts, please click on the link below:

  Pics of Eastern Point's restored lawns

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Photo: Springtime in Central Massachusetts

To see photos of springtime in Central Massachusetts, please click on the link below:

 Pics of Central Massachusetts in Spring

It is Great to be Alive

I just returned from a lesiurely stroll through the 35-acre garden parklands where I have been working on our property. I slowly walked and delighted in the life that is teeming in the garden. Birds are chirping; squirrels frolick, flowers are closing up shop for the night. Everything seemed at ease and I took delight in my labors. Genesis 2 came to mind where God walked through his garden of creation and found it beautiful.

Tomorrow I will wake up early and finish work on the drain we are replacing. Water should flow much easier after replacing a corroded 1 inch pipe with a 3 inch indestructible PVC piping. Earlier today, I spread 3 truckloads of mulch onto the moist ground that captures a lot of rainfall. For several days I was ineffectively using a shovel until I found a pitchfork that made the job quadruple in speed.

This was a good weekend. I visited a monk-friend at St. Joseph's Abbey in Spencer on Thursday and then went to see my mother in anticipation of Mother's Day. We had a nice visit with some private time. On Friday, two beautiful woman friends came to visit. We had a nice lunch at Passports, a restaurant with a sophisticated edge, and then spent some time sharing the good news of our lives.

Yesterday, I went to Scarborough, Maine to hear a concert performed by the Portland Community Chorus. I sang with them in Maine. I was delighted with their repertoire and efficiency. I also met two friends in Kennebunk, one in the morning and the other after the concert. I wanted to see several more friends but I too often run out of time. Today was leisurely. After the retreat ended, a college friend stopped by with his lovely mother and we spent some time talking about retreats. I proudly showed them my work in the gardens. She was very knowledgeable and affirmed the work I am doing. I talked with some good friends via Skype and by mobile phone. I like my friends.

Then after a silent dinner, I toured the gardens. I am resting well from a terrific couple of days. I am content. All is good.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Magical Evenings

As we gather for dinner each night at our retreat house this time of year, we are stunned to see the sunlight splay through the tree branches as it gets ready to set. The light seems magical. The green grass and the young green shoots on the trees appear juicy. We are mesmerized as we gaze out into the lawn. We don't deserve this goodness, but we are gracious recipients of this gift. Everything is coming alive. It reminds us of God's plan to bring all things to LIFE!

The moon tonight is a lightly gray, perfect orb in the sky with a shimmering glint on the bottom right side. The radiance that emits from that sliver excites us. It is such a marvel to behold. The whole moon is visible, but as a distinct and clear shadow. In ancient times the moon was another light source, but our modern world has minimized its effect on us. The solar world dominates, but the moon still fascinates. I enjoy just looking up into the heavens - day and night - and being thrilled by God's gifts to us. The beauty of this world fills me with wonder. I want to keep this feeling with me all the time.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The City of Sin

Lynn, Lynn, the city of sin, you don't come out the way you go in.

I formerly worked at Eastern Bank in Lynn, Massachusetts on Boston's North Shore. Though I live on the extreme North Shore on Boston, I haven't been to Lynn is years. In the 1990's in the midst of an economic recession, they city's main shopping areas were hard hit and many stores closed. Upon my return today, I was pleased to see a vibrant downtown with nearly full storefronts and remodeled contemporary signage.

As it is early spring, the trees were in blossom and the city looked vibrant and sparkling. Lynn has many attractive large civic buildings and some interesting architectural gems. With more attention to green spaces and public areas, I was pleased with the beauty of the city. The city is right on the ocean between Revere and Swampscott with Nahant and Marblehead close by. It looks like the city takes pride in itself. It made me feel good to visit again. I ate at the trendy Blue Ox restaurant on Oxford Street and was impressed with the quality of the food and the pleasant service of the wait staff.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

I'm feeling chipper today

It is a very happy day for me. The wood chippers have arrived to clean up my Lenten project. They are chopping the gathered branches and wiping away the huge piles that I've assembled over the past two months. They mouths were agape when they saw the massive piles. They could not imagine that one man did all that work in two months. Better yet, they were amazed I did everything with a bow-saw and pruner. They said the manner in which I did it was crazy. And they were bewildered that a priest did all the work. They estimate that five truckloads of woodchips will be gathered today. Next I begin the process of taking those chips and lining them along the pathways. They have spent half the day working and are not quite halfway through their work.


I have to say the park looks beautiful. I'm very pleased. Photos will come soon.