FR. RONAN’S BLOG

Look for Signs

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena

As I have come to know myself over the years, I know that when I think of someone or something intermittently over a period of time, that is a sign that I need to stop what I am doing, pick up the phone, open the email or get a card and a stamp – whatever seems right – and make contact. I am surprised at how often this happens. And when I follow through, invariably the reconnecting is significant in some way. So I guess the point is, it seems important to listen to one’s inner promptings. Come to think of it, the “prompting” may not be inner; it can be outer, as well!

Not long ago a friend mentioned a book to me that she thought I would find interesting. A week or two passed and I received something in the mail from another source – speaking about the value of this book. Walking down the street the other day, a parishioner stopped me to speak enthusiastically about the same book. Now I know I have to go out and buy that book!

All of us have similar experiences – signs of one sort or another that point us to some issue, person or place. Do you suppose such experiences can be chalked up to happenstance, serendipity? Perhaps once in a while; but I am more inclined to think that God’s loving Spirit moves through our lives and pokes us – sometimes in the most unlikely ways and places. God has a plan! The plan is totally unique for each of us in our own lives and, yet, the plan has the same end for all of us. God wants for each of us an ever deeper more intimate relationship.

There is a wonderful theological teaching: Grace works through nature. God is always at work in our world and lives – and signs of God’s Spirit appear in countless ways. The popular word for trying to figure out where God is working is “discernment”. To discern is a process of reflection, or pondering and, sometimes, of conversation with a trusted advisor in order to identify God’s hand in some moment or event. A person seeks to discern God’s will – what does God want for me, in this place, at this time … Now this is not an exact science, for everything has to be filtered through our own eyes and experiences, our own thoughts, desires, hopes and fears.

Prayer and trust are at the foundation of discernment. Praying for God’s help is the first part; expecting God’s response is the second part. Discernment requires both movements. I find the first part – praying for God’s guidance – to be easy. However, once the prayer is made, having a child-like confidence that God hears the prayer and from that moment on, the matter is in God’s hands and I can trust that – ahh – that is another matter!

Finally it seems to me that God is eager to give us signs: signs of love, caring, forgiveness, direction and of God’s very presence in the world and in our lives. Look for the signs – be amazed.

Fr. Ronan

Give Something Up

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena

The other day I met a friend whom I had not seen in a few months. I commented that he had lost some weight and hoped his health was good. He replied that he was feeling well and that his doctor had put him on a salt free diet. He found that he was eating less because food tasted so unappealing without salt. I quickly wondered if I should cut down or eliminate salt from my diet too!

We live in a crazy, upside-down world where a small percentage of the population is fastidious about diet and weight, spending millions on weight loss products while the majority of the world does not have enough to eat. In the middle of this reality, Lent asks us to fast as one of the three pillars of our Lenten practices.

Fasting usually is associated with weight control and not asceticism. Further, it is almost always about food and drink although the concept behind fasting does not limit its application to this alone. At the root of this ancient practice is the understanding that self denial, sacrifice, “giving something up” that is desirable, are actions that bring us out of ourselves a bit and help us to focus more clearly on God. Fasting gets at the root of our self; the urge for self satisfaction, self gratification and self indulgence. Denial of self has a way of freeing one to become more aware of others and the presence of God in the world.

While fasting usually implies giving something up, it can just as well achieve its end by taking something on. For example, the choice to visit someone in need, thus putting aside one’s own agenda to be of service to another, could include that element of self discipline that helps us grow. Choices that place another’s need over one’s own are similarly incentives to grow in awareness of God and others. One of the most precious commodities that we have is time. To give another time is a huge gift especially when it is time I would rather use for myself.

As the Lenten journey looks ahead, maybe there is a collective “fasting” we can all do together: on Saturday morning, April 13 at 9:00 AM , we are inviting families and individuals to come to St. Mary’s Church for a MAJOR CLEANING (benches, floors, walls, stations, stairs …. everything). We would like to ask folks to come to work together so that every corner of the church SPARKLES on Easter! So, please plan to come join us. There will be coffee and refreshments available from 9 AM on and we hope everything will be finished by noon. Plan to bring clean cloths, good furniture polish and any other cleaning material you have on hand.

On Holy Saturday morning, April 20, we will gather at 9AM for Morning Prayer and then decorate the Church with flowers for Easter Services. We could sure use your help! Refreshments will be available on that day as well. Fasting offers an intriguing invitation to assist us to look more intently and listen more completely to God’s work in our days. May we all learn to look and listen more attentively to our good and loving God.

Fr. Ronan

The Power of Prayer

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena

One of the most common requests a priest receives in the course of a day is for prayers. The request can happen anywhere: on a bus, at Whole Foods in the checkout line, walking down Main St. and in the back of the church. Sometimes the request comes with an explanation that indicates a family problem, a sickness, or a personal struggle. At other times, there is no explanation, merely a look of sadness or stress in the eyes of the person. In whatever circumstance, I always receive the request seriously and take it to heart.

Over the years, my understanding of prayer for another has evolved. Frankly, I have probably forgotten the exact theological teaching on the matter and simply know in my heart that prayer undertaken in earnest for another is powerful. You see, it is first of all an act of faith. Faith in the power of God to heal, comfort, console, and accompany another in the struggle of life.

Nothing is more powerful than belief in God. Prayer for another is an act of belief in the omnipotence of God and the capacity of God to reach into one’s life and affect the heart, the spirit. We believe that God can do all things and acting on this belief frees God to act. Over and again Jesus insisted on faith. He explained that it was the faith of a person that brought about miracles he achieved. “Your faith has saved you”, He would proclaim after some expression of His omnipotence.

Not long ago, a young woman who had asked for prayer came to me to explain that her cancer had been cured, although the prognosis several months earlier had been dim. She stated emphatically that it was prayer that had brought about this healing. I do not doubt her. At the same time, I recognize there is enormous mystery in these matters and rarely are things the black and white some might like them to be. My faith does not insist that all turns out according to my wishes or intentions. Rather, my faith in prayer takes the person and presents the person lovingly to God with a firm belief that God’s love for the person will bring circumstances to a good end.

In Lent, the Church urges us to embark upon a routine of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. These are the cornerstones of our Lenten journey. Prayer has many expressions and a prayer of petition for another is one of them. At its root, it is an expression of my personal faith. So for me, an excellent place to begin this prayer is in the powerful petition of the Centurion from scripture: “Lord I believe, help my unbelief”.

Fr. Ronan

Cardinal Sean P O’Malley Lenten Letter

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena

Dear Friends in Christ,

As we begin the holy season of Lent, this annual time of prayer, fasting and almsgiving affords us the opportunity to be renewed by God’s love and mercy as we recommit ourselves to lives of prayer and service to others.

This year, Lent has particular significance for the leadership of the Church at every level, local, national and universal. Recently Pope Francis called bishops from every country in the world to come together at the Vatican for the Summit to Protect Children and Minors. The summit included powerful testimony from survivors of clergy sexual abuse, religious sisters and laypersons who made clear that a meaningful and effective response from the Church is long overdue and of critical importance. I participated in the summit as the President of the Pontifical Commission for Protection of Minors and, with all present, was deeply impacted by those who addressed us.

Given the depth and seriousness of the crisis and the failures of the leadership of the Church, the expectations for the meeting were high and people are anxious to see concrete results. I left the meeting convinced that no bishop could possibly say that his diocese is not affected by these issues or that this is not a problem in his country and culture.
Patience among our people and in the wider community is exhausted and understandably the call is rising for effective action.

A dominant theme at the meeting was the need for an effective reporting mechanism when a Bishop or Cardinal has failed in his duty to protect children or has himself abused children or vulnerable adults. Although I believe an effective set of procedures will be developed by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, I nonetheless wish to address this need immediately for the Archdiocese of Boston.

To that end I have decided to implement EthicsPoint, a confidential, anonymous and third-party system, exclusively for the reporting of misconduct by a Cardinal, Bishop or Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Boston. Since 2011 we have utilized EthicsPoint for concerns of potential ethics violations, financial improprieties, and other violations of the Archdiocesan Code of Conduct related to financial matters.

Like the existing system currently in use, this will be web based and have a toll-free hotline to make a report. Reports will be sent to members of my Independent Review Board who will be charged to immediately notify law enforcement for claims of abuse as well as the apostolic nuncio; the diplomatic representative to the U.S. of the Holy See. The system will be hosted on secured servers at the EthicsPoint facility and is not connected to the Archdiocese of Boston website, intranet system or the existing EthicsPoint system currently in use. We anticipate the system being up and running soon and will provide more information at that time.

In January 2002 the clergy sexual abuse crisis was revealed by the media in powerful and compelling reports on the failures of the Church to protect children. Courageous survivors came forward and forced the Church to face the crisis and accept responsibility for the crimes committed against them. That same year the American Bishops implemented the Dallas Charter of Norms. Where it has been faithfully implemented, it has been effective. But we must aggressively build on the Charter to ensure that there are clear paths for reporting misdeeds of the hierarchy by utilizing the expertise of independent lay professionals.

During the meeting in Rome, the most powerful moments were when survivors of abuse spoke to us. This confirmed my own experience. The way forward for the Church is to hold as a priority the voices and experience of survivors, to keep them close to every step we take and make all possible efforts to provide the means for them to be heard. In Boston we will continue to provide pastoral care and counseling for survivors. We will continue to carry out programs of prevention and education in our schools and parishes. We will continue to do background checks annually for bishops, priests, all archdiocesan personnel, and all volunteers who work with children and young people. You may find the depth and breadth of those efforts in the Archdiocese of Boston on our dedicated website at https://commitment.bostoncatholic.org/.

For more than twenty-six years my ministry has involved responding to the abuse of minors by clergy. The crisis of sexual abuse by clergy is the greatest failure of the Church in my lifetime. It has eroded our moral authority, it endangers our pastoral, social and educational ministry, but worst of all, it devastates children and families.

We must face our past with transparency. Those who were sexually abused by clergy, their families and loved ones must always be the central focus of our response to the crisis. Their courage in coming forward has forced the Church to face the crimes committed against them. We are committed to accompanying them on their journey toward healing. Often it is survivors who teach us not to lose hope.

As we strive to live this season with renewed seriousness and commitment we pray and work for renewal in the life of the Church. We are firmly committed to zero tolerance, transparency and accountability, at all times holding survivors as the priority, always being vigilant to do all possible to prevent any harm to children.

With the assurance of my prayers for you and your loved ones,

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley, OFM, Cap.

When the Goin’ Gets Tough – The Tough …

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena

It’s an old saying and we have all heard it at one time or another. The implication seems clear: when one faces hard times, one shouldn’t cave, whine or falter, rather dig in and get to it! It is easy to like the statement, or at least what it implies. I think I apply it to myself often enough. And yet, there are times when I realize that nothing is as simple as it seems. For example the statement “cut and run” hardly describes the reality of opposing the war in Syria.

Maybe this mind set is really more a veneer than the real thing. For after confronting a challenge and getting a sense of its difficulty, more often than not, I confess that it is too tough for me, and I cannot handle it alone. I need God’s help. Praying when we are in trouble seems as natural as breathing. I think everyone does it. You know the old saying, “There are no atheists in foxholes”. And we don’t need to be in a foxhole to find prayer our response.

This is the first Sunday of Lent. We find Jesus in the desert and being tempted strongly. His response is to point to His Father and remember who He is and from whence comes His strength.

Each of us, on our own journey in life, faces challenges and temptations. True enough, we have to “dig in” and struggle when the going gets tough. Yet the real response of the Christian is not only to dig in, but also to realize a few other things. First, we are not alone in our struggle. We are members of a community, the Church, and we make our journey together with lots of others. We can and should count on others for their prayers and support. Second, Sacred Scripture offers us countless lessons about the kindness, mercy and unconditional love of God for each and all of us. Encountering this reservoir of strength and energy is as far away as choosing to pray.

So, the old saying, when the goin’ gets tough, the tough get goin’, should be changed to something like, When the goin’ gets tough, the tough get prayin. May our journey together this Lent be a time when prayer and closeness to the Lord grows and grows.

Fr. Ronan

LISTENING

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena

In the course of any parish priest’s day there are many varied activities. Really, from concern over some item of the buildings to time spent with a family grieving the death of a
loved one, the spectrum is broad and deep – and I love it! And often the activity that is the most important and precious is listening. We priests are good listeners – at least we try to be! Now that might not sound like “heavy lifting” – yet there are many times when it is! The issue is around the ma7er being discussed. If it is about the possible retirement of Tom Brady from the Patriots that is one thing; if the subject is a family coping with a loved one diagnosed with a terminal cancer, that is something else.

Listening in any event calls one to offer complete attention to the other – and often we do not listen that way! We hear what another is saying without truly listening. Rather we are inclined to anticipate what someone is saying as we formulate our response before the person has finished speaking! At other times one’s mind is elsewhere while another is speaking. All of us have done this and also have been in conversations when this is common.

Some years ago Carl Rogers, a noted psychologist and prolific author introduced a new way of looking at effective therapy. Among other things, he suggested that what he called; “Unconditional Positive Regard” was crucial to effective psychotherapy. Rogers was talking about how we listen. He taught that when a listener gives his/her entire attention to the other, in a positive and nonjudgmental way, allowing a person to speak and no matter what is said, it is accepted without judgment, in that encounter healing can take place. A person’s hurts, brokenness, shame, anxiety, fear, inferiority, confused identity and so much more, can improve. On the one hand it sounds so elementary and yet in truth, it is so profound.

And this very experience happens all the time, among friends, spouses, colleagues and teachers … It is that phenomenon of one human being caring for another – and caring in such a
way as to make it possible for another to open up and unburden all kinds of trouble and pain that is within. We all need such opportunities and everyone is healthier because of them. At the same time we all know there are some parts of life, some experiences, choices and actions that are very difficult and cannot be spoken about easily. Sometimes a priest can help.

Actually it is better to say, all the time, God can help. And God has chosen, for God’s own reasons, to be present to us in countless ways and through the Sacraments of the Church,
in very specific and deeply helpful ways. The Sacrament of Penance, Confession, is one of these gifts. The fact that few use the Sacrament in these days does not diminish its value and
its availability to be a source of Grace and healing for those who approach this precious gift.

Since my Ordination as a Priest in June, 1982 to this present day, I am in awe of how God uses this sacrament to bring His love to people in these moments. Further while I am well aware
of the effectiveness of counseling and therapy – the listening that happens in this Sacrament occasions a time of Grace: God is present and the Priest serves only as an instrument of this Grace in ways that are far beyond understanding.

During Lent, Confession will be available in churches and chapels throughout the Archdiocese every Wednesday evenings from 6:30-8:00. In our Parish there will be a priest at the Parish Center on Winthrop St. Also a priest will be available every Saturday afternoon from 3:15 – 3:45 in the Confession corner in the upper Church. Further, there will be a parish wide Lenten Prayer and Penance Service on Monday evening, April 15 at 7:00. Also any person can contact the Parish Office to set up an appointment to celebrate the Sacrament of Penance.

Rogers is right – lovingly listening to another can be a wonderful and healing experience. Imagine how much more such a moment can be when one seeks God in the Sacrament of Penance
and the fruit of that is forgiveness, healing and consolation. This Lent the Light is On for You.

Fr. Ronan

Why Would You?

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena

My friend told me the conversation went something like this: “So I know you are a Catholic and go to Church, but how can you continue to do that with all that is going on in the Catholic Church?”

It is not the first time folks have spoken with me about trying to answer similar questions. Many Catholics feel they have to defend the practice of their faith in these turbulent times. Point is, the abuse of children by anyone and certainly by clergy is so utterly disgusting, who would not want to turn away from anything connected to that. In addition, when the abuse is compounded by cover-up and dishonesty on the part of religious authorities, it is even more outrageous. So walking away seems like an obvious, understandable human response.
The Church is a human institution with all of the reality that includes. Sinners and saints both find a home in the Church. In fact, it is one of the most purposely inclusive institutions I can think of. The welcome sign on the front of our Church is not atypical of other faith communities. So the people who form the Church, clerical, vowed religious, and lay men and women are a slice of humankind. And even with all that includes, this people seek to find and build a community around their shared faith.

It is precisely that faith that brings us in the door in the first place: a belief in God – a Creator, a Redeemer and a Sanctifier; a belief in the infinite mercy and love of God, the omnipotence and kindness, the faithfulness, goodness, and understanding of God; a belief in Jesus Christ, the God/Man born of Mary in Bethlehem who came to manifest the love and truth about God and make real and possible the immortal destiny of us all.

My faith in God, in Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Spirit is not conditional upon the sinful nature of some priests and bishops. For 2000 years, this Church has held onto and offered the truth of this faith to countless billions of persons. This gift of faith is now, has been, and will always be a source of consolation, guidance, and joy to all who receive and practice the faith even in the midst of its sinfulness.

I do not have a simple answer as to the why of the present crisis. I do know that in the Catholic Church, the responses that are being hammered out are calling for vigorous transparency, close alliances with law enforcement officials, better screening and educational models for seminaries, and highlevel involvement of lay men and women with oversight authority in key areas.

The Catholic Church is universal, and seeking a plan that cuts across all cultures and peoples will not be simple, although from our point of view in North America, it may seem like it
ought to be. Nevertheless, because of all that has been done in our country, I am confident that in every institution, including the Church, children are safer than ever before.

For anyone facing the question about why practice your faith in the Catholic Church in these times, perhaps your response is not to seek to defend the Church, for the mistakes that have
been made are indefensible and those who are suffering as a result of them are legion. Rather, validate their struggle, lend them a listening and compassionate ear and heart, and let them truthfully know that what is going on is difficult for you as well.
Then give witness to the importance of your belief in God, your relationship with Christ, the significance of the centrality of the Eucharist in your life, and the rightness of living this faith in a community of believers. And most assuredly, make it clear, that you stand in solidarity with the victims who have been abused and their families and friends.

Fr. Ronan

DANIEL’S MESSAGE OF GRATITUDE AND FAREWELL

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena

Serving as Music Director at St Mary St Catherine of Siena Parish has been one of the best experiences of my life. That’s why it is sad for me to say that my time here is coming to an end. This summer, I am actually very happy to share with you that I will be moving to Phoenix, Arizona in pursuit of some new opportunities both in my career and my life.

I first played an organ at my Parish Church, in Arcadia, California. It was a brand new experience and from the moment I started, I knew I wanted to pursue learning how to play this instrument. Before long, I was playing just a li4le before Mass. Gradually I went from playing one hymn to play at weddings and before I knew it, I had my first position as a Church Organist.

The time came for me to leave my family in California and the southwest, and move to the opposite side of our country – to Boston, to study at The Boston Conservatory. Just as I arrived, I heard the name St Mary St Catherine of Siena through an ad seeking a new music director. I quickly got to meet parishioners, many of which I know now more closely. A few months later, I was blessed with the amazing news that I would be offered the position as Director of Music here. I was so excited to get started and serve in this Parish.

The memories I have built here will always stay with me, and not all of them are musical memories. I think one of my favorite memories of serving here was the day I walked through the hallways of the Parish Center on a Sunday when the Religious Education Classes were in session and heard one of the children notice me and say “It’s the music guy!” It
was such a great feeling to be known by that moniker.

It is hard for me to believe that I have been here for seven years. The time has gone by so quickly! There are so many memories and good times I have shared with many of you throughout these years, not only at Mass but at various events and occasions, including those spent with the Hispanic community, who often made me feel closer to home and the Hispanic Community I come from.

In many cultures and languages, one does not say “goodbye”. In Spanish, we say “adios”, to God, or “hasta luego”, until next time. The Irish Blessing tells us “Until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.” I am not saying goodbye to the community of St Mary St Catherine of Siena, but rather, until next time, I will see you in the future. While my life’s journey is taking me to another part of our country, this Parish will always be a part of me. It has been wonderful serving here.
I have about four months left to make the most of my time as your Music Director and I will make the most of them with you. Thank you, St Mary-St Catherine of Siena Parish!

– Daniel Sauceda

The Parent Trap

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena

Recently I enjoyed a conversation with the parents of school-aged children. The parents were explaining their concern about the busyness of the life of their home and being exhausted by juggling so many after school activities which contributed to the hectic lifestyle of their home. The experience of such loving parents struggling to find balance and make the best choices for their family makes me wonder if something is amiss in our culture these days.

It is the case that every Mom and Dad wants to provide the very best of everything for his or her children. An interesting question that may not be asked too much is who decides what is
the very best? The dominant culture serves up countless new trends of programs, activities, educational initiatives, and resources. Indeed, research and development are extensive regarding educational development yielding new insights about how children learn best and prosper in learning and social environments.

The relationships between sports and theatre, dance and swimming, hockey and music and so many more combinations have been studied and debated. Which combinations are best for a child’s healthy development? How is the best way to understand each child’s gifts and developmental needs?

Sometimes it seems that somehow, someone has decided that the definition of a really good parent is the one whose child is continually scheduled into activities of every kind. Conversely, a “bad” parent is one whose child is not enrolled in numerous activities. God forbid that a child might need to entertain him/herself and maybe even complain of boredom.

When did parenting become a verb? How did we end up defining excellence in childhood as busyness? Because adults have become convinced that our busyness defines our self-worth, do we believe we ought to put the same value on our children? And, when all is said-and-done, is this really “the best” we can offer the children in our families and in our community?

I think we can do much be;er. I think our families are suffering from the uncritical acceptance of a culture that emphasizes “doing” over “being”. From bumper stickers to refrigerator post-its, it is about doing, completing, getting there, schedules and deadlines.

In all of this, what are the principle values we are teaching? Looks like the emphasis is on efficiency, responsibility, punctuality, hard work and perhaps competitiveness all of which are important values. Of course, there are others. But in the eyes of the child, these might seem the most important.

Where in this scenario, though, does a child learn and absorb the values of patience, kindness, thoughtfulness, generosity, fairness, humility, thankfulness and so much more? Certainly some of these values are learned on the ball field and during the music lesson. But they are mainly learned in and through relationships, especially in the home, at the dinner table, in
the car, and in conversations and family activities with their parents. Most importantly, children need the “down time”, the unstructured quiet time to absorb and reflect on these values.

Children have an astonishing openness to God and an amazing capacity to grasp the reality of the supernatural. I think this is because a child is so untainted by the world, so innocent, and that God is so very close to every child. How do our children learn about God? How does each child come to recognize his/her special dignity and recognize others also possess this dignity? What is the basis through which children learn forgiveness and honesty?

The answers to these and similar questions ideally should frame what “giving the very best possible” to our children would look like. I think this fast-paced, competitive, and self-serving culture has trapped many parents into a belief that can end up being hollow and lacking in what truly constitutes the very best.

Fr. Ronan

COMMITMENT

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena

On a beautiful spring evening some years ago, I enjoyed meeting my nephew for dinner over in the downtown area. As the evening went on, he asked me a question – actually he struggled to ask a question. He wanted to know my thoughts about commitment. Looking back on that conversation, I recall how overwhelmed this great young man felt by the very concept of making a commitment. I understood his point – I think. In younger years, having wondered seriously about making a commitment to married life, and having accepted the invitation to commit to life as a priest, I had some idea about what my nephew was asking. To make a commitment is hard, and more, it is frightening.

I’m not speaking about a commitment like taking a job or choosing a home or brand of car. I’m talking about real, life changing and ongoing commitments, like marriage, having a family, religious life and priesthood. The more we truly understand the nature and significance of this type of act, the more daunting it seems. Everyone tries to make the best choice possible, with prayer, research, consultation, etc. However, it seems to me, that the biggest commitments are ultimately decided not on a cerebral level, but rather from the “gut.” It is the inner self that informs us, draws us, and brings us to a place of peace about the big choices.

Every week I have the pleasure of meeting at great length with couples preparing for marriage. I seek to draw out of each person how it is he/she has come to this choice. More often than not, individuals cannot find the words to accurately explain their decision. That is to say, every explanation they give seems inadequate. For example, to say: “She’s my best friend” is a beautiful thing – but so not enough to describe a reason for a marriage commitment. Something more is called for.

Vocation is the word that describes – quite literally – one’s “calling”. To be a cabinet maker or a scientist, a teacher or mechanic and to really feel at peace and fulfilled in your chosen field would accurately describe a vocation. And how about marriage – is a person “called” to marriage? I believe one is called, and not only to married life but also to other life options. If this is true, who is doing the calling?

In truth, it is God who calls each of us – who has a plan for everyone, and we are fulfilled only when we hear and respond to that plan. Not long ago I heard the vocation question framed this way: God calls each person to BE in that place where the person’s deepest joy encounters the world’s greatest hunger. At so many levels and in so many ways, I believe this is how God manages our being called to the place and way in life that completes us. And the response to the call requires a commitment.

Many men and women find their vocation in married life. Marriage is a gift from God to women, men, children and society. For me, the key word in the above phrase is “gift”. No one can simply choose a life partner or religious life or priesthood on his/her own – it is a gift. And therefore living it out calls for one to live with a grateful heart and also a heart trusting that all that is needed to go forward, God will always freely give.

Fr. Ronan

NB: Next weekend all married couples will be invited to restate their vows to each other as we celebrate World Marriage Day at all of our Masses.

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