An invitation to dialogue with our LGBTQ sisters and brothers

Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion, and SensitivityBuilding a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity by James Martin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A very insightful and wonderfully written book that I highly recommend anyone read. Though it is written specifically to the LGBT community it can easily be applied to any marginalized group.

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Brothers and Sisters of Penance

I spent the last several days here at St. Francis University in Loretto, PA with nearly forty Secular Franciscan sisters and brothers. We learned a great deal about multiculturalism and diversity. It was a great conference in a wonderful setting. What does it mean to do penance in today’s world? What are worthy fruits of penance? Is penance merely a word or a pious act? I believe that penance is a call to conversion. It’s not turning a blind eye to injustice. Worthy fruits of penance are helping immigrant families, helping the poor and marginalized, reaching out to the LGBTQ community and making them welcome. Being Franciscan in the twenty-first century means caring for all creation both animate and inanimate.  It’s making sure that all are welcome in this place.  It’s more than saying peace and wishing for peace, it’s about living peace.

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Love yourself and love your life

You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome LifeYou Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a real page turner. Mixing humor, practical wisdom and actual experience this book is recommended reading for anyone who aspires to live more fully.

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Ave Maria Gratia Plena, Dominus Tecum

During Lent I began a process of trying to remove toxicity from my life. Lent is always a time of new beginnings and since I don’t like giving up Chocolate and other goodies, I thought how can I get more positivity in my life. Since the election last year I had become pre-occupied with politics and the changes happening in our country and though I tried to be loving and accepting it wasn’t happening by merely trying to think nice thoughts. There is a wisdom tradition that states that if you pray for the person or persons with whom you are at odds that you will come to love and accept them and you will be free of the resentment that you have. So I began to pray the rosary each day during Lent and one day I realized that I didn’t feel resentful anymore and though my own policy preferences for the country were different than some of my friends I had lost the toxicity. What began as an experiment has become a daily prayer time in the car or walking down the street. Until now I’ve not been a rosary prayer but I have found in it’s rhythm and intention a quiet peace that has overtaken my life and I’m grateful for that. I’ve also rediscovered the creativity that I had lost. I’m not sure how long I’m committed to this practice but I’m here to say that it worked for me and maybe it can work for others too. Peace be with you.

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The power of our own humanity

Becoming HumanBecoming Human by Jean Vanier

This is a great book. I loved it from beginning to end. Jean Vanier possesses great insights on living, acceptance and forgiveness. Because of this book I not only see myself differently but I also see other differently especially those who are disabled in any way.

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Fr. Robert Struzynski, OFM

I came across this wonderful story and video of a dear friend who told me 4 years ago following the Easter Vigil at Mt. Irenaeus that he would be leaving. Fr. Bob left the Mountain in May of 2013 and died in December of that same year. I always enjoyed my talks with Fr. Bob. He was an inspiration to me and to many others.
Source: Fr. Robert Struzynski, OFM

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Living the Triduum with the community

I’ve spent the last two days and nights at Mt. Irenaeus celebrating the Triduum with the community here. It’s something I’ve contemplated before but for one reason or another have failed to follow through on. This may not be for everyone but for me it’s been therapeutic. I love the flow of the liturgy over the three days. It’s now just after dinner on Saturday night and we’re waiting to celebrate the Easter Vigil in a couple of hours. This is a commemoration of the night Our Lord passed from death to life. It’s my favorite night of the church year. Deeply symbolic and very mystical as we gather on the hillside near the chapel. I began the day reading and then breakfast by myself. I decided to do some walking and combined that with the rosary and then the Stations of the Cross. I walked the labyrinth while I prayed the rosary. Then I joined the others for morning prayer in the screened shelter next to the pond here at Mt. Irenaeus. I love the integration of the prayer and work that comes with staying here. Nothing is forced or artificial, there is an easy flow, a relationship with work and prayer. After morning prayer some of the younger people in our group decided to jump into the pond. I’d love to know what the water temperature was but my guess is that it was not much warmer than 40 degrees Fahrenheit. They all came out almost as fast as they went in. Then we had lunch at the house complete with fresh leeks that some of our group had dug earlier in the morning. I retired to my hermitage to read but soon fell asleep in the chair. When I woke up I had to locate my glasses which had fallen off while I was sleeping. I returned to the chapel and found some of our group decorating it for the vigil service which begins shortly. We had a lovely dinner complete with pierogis, vegeterian lasagna, meat lasagna, fresh leeks, salad and more. This has been a wonderful, prayerful and peaceful event. I’m glad to have been a part of it. This has been a wonderful culmination to Lent. It’s an event and a time I won’t forget. This has been an important part of my discernment and ongoing formation as a Secular Franciscan. Peace and all good!

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